Brittany Krampert’s initial response to her little sister showing an interest in softball was a bit short of welcoming.
“For a while I was actually mad she was playing it because it was my sport,” Brittany said.
But a few Sunday outings to the field with dad and little sister Melissa convinced Brittany that there was room for more than one softball player in the family.
Now the Kramperts are enjoying their one season together with Priest River’s team, which is 11-4 overall and 7-2 in the Intermountain League.
Brittany is in her fourth year as Spartans pitcher and speedy freshman Melissa is patrolling center field. Brittany is 9-3 on the mound and has hit four home runs.
“They get each other going,” Spartans coach Ron Kruse said. “They’re a good combination.”
Basketball is Melissa’s favorite sport, but softball has worked its way up to No. 2 after just one year of taking it seriously.
“I’ve only practiced shortstop, but I can play anywhere you put me,” Melissa said. … “If it’s for the team, I’ll play outfield.”
Brittany, an all-league returner, discovered at the start of the year that nobody on the team hit her harder than Melissa. Bit by bit, older sister grew to accept the new arrangement.
“It’s best to have your little sister be there to love the game you love,” Brittany said.
The sisters have also played soccer together.
Brittany plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College next year and work toward a degree in dental hygiene. She’s been invited to live with the family of Shadle Park center fielder Berkley Fisher, who has signed a letter of intent to play with the Sasquatch.
Brittany also hopes to encourage 11-year-old sister Samantha to become a pitcher.
Melissa said she could pitch in a pinch, but she’d prefer to play shortstop after the graduation of current shortstop Destiny Day, a junior.
“I’m hoping I get better the next year-and-a-half to show (Kruse) I can play there,” Melissa said.
Getting a head start
Paul McAnally looked around after his first year as Lind-Ritzville/Sprague coach and realized he would face a problem for the 2014 season.
“We were going to have four or five girls back from (2013), so the only way we could have a team is to allow eighth-graders to play,” McAnally said. “It was a tough decision, but we had to do it to salvage a varsity program.”
The Broncos have seven eighth-graders on their roster, including six who could start at any given time. The list includes LRS’ top pitcher, Emma Aldrich, and the team’s top three hitters – Alarah Pierce-Pulliam, .350, who bats for eighth-grade first baseman Alisha Baker; second baseman Tessa O’Brien, .348; and outfielder Emily Rosen, .346.
The other eighth-graders are outfielder Laurel Hayes, who is hitting .304, and Hailey Roderick.
Their junior high team finished 10-0 last year. McAnally said the young players improved by competing in a Medical Lake-area Little League.
“We provided the opportunity and these girls stuck together,” McAnally said.
This year’s Broncos are 7-7 overall and 4-6 in the Northeast 2B.
“We look at this as getting better, knowing that each year these girls will have another year of experience,” McAnally said.
Around the diamonds
A high-powered nonleague “doubleheader” took place in Coeur d’Alene last Saturday as Richland arrived to play single games against Lake City and CdA. Richland, which entered with a 10-0 record, dropped a 9-8, eight-inning game to Lake City (17-4) and posted a 3-0 win over CdA (15-3). Hannah Nelson and Dakota Wilson homered for Lake City, while Vanessa Shippy went 4 for 5 with two doubles and two runs. … Selkirk’s starting pitchers, Sayvanna Warren and Sierra Chantry, are both eighth-graders. The Rangers are 6-2 through Monday, good for third place in the Northeast 1B.