Lexi Reetz delivers a pitch during a doubleheader against Carthage last year. She figures to see a lot of innings in the circle this season.
Lexi Reetz delivers a pitch during a doubleheader against Carthage last year. She figures to see a lot of innings in the circle this season.

   The most important part of building a house is the foundation.

   The same holds true in establishing a successful softball program.

   That is the belief of new Ripon College coach Brooke Kalman, who is taking over a Red Hawk team that went just 4-31 last year and 17-82 the past three seasons.

   “I think the hope is to get a strong foundation for the future of the program,” Kalman said, noting the potential is there as proven by the 2011 season, when Ripon won the conference tournament and some regional tournament games.  

   While she is focused on rebuilding, it doesn’t mean she thinks the Red Hawks won’t be able to compete this year.

   Rather, Kalman believes her team’s work ethic will enable players to enjoy their fair share of success this season.

   “... One thing that I really hone in on is hard work and out-competing everyone and out-working everyone, because I think in this game there are a lot of uncontrollables,” Kalman said. “But the one thing you can control is how hard you work and that’s my coaching philosophy.”

   She added Ripon has practiced six days a week since practice started seven weeks ago and sometimes even twice a day.

   “It’s a whole change of culture,” Kalman said. “We’re practicing like championship teams do. Do we have the skill level for that? No. But we’re practicing like it.”

   Kalman also is impressed with her team’s willingness to accept change.


Read the full story, which includes information on who the Hawks likely will lean on in the circle and at the plate, in the March 9, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.