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Softball: Lambert's Krupit shouldered a heavy load in 2017
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Lambert senior Kassidy Krupit had a brilliant season in both the circle and the batters' box for the Longhorns this year. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

Kassidy Krupit is taking a break. She probably won't throw a softball until January, and while she's already feeling pangs of longing, the Lambert senior knows it's the right move. 

"If I want to be injury-free in college, that's what's best for me," the University of Delaware signee said. 

Krupit probably won't have another softball season like the one she had this past fall, both in terms of its all-around excellence and the gigantic role she had to play for the Longhorns, who made their second straight trip to the state quarterfinals in Columbus. She hit .500 with 14 home runs and had a 1.58 ERA in 176 2/3 innings of work, leading Lambert in both the box and circle.

That inning total represented the vast majority of the innings the Longhorns played this year. That offensive production was a sizable chunk of what Lambert managed in a down year for the rest of its lineup, having lost slugging infielder Marissa Guimbarda to graduation and star sophomore Brooke Miller to injury for much of the region schedule. 

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Lambert senior Kassidy Krupit goes to throw a pitch against Mill Creek in the first round of the Class 7A state playoffs Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia
Krupit didn't feel completely right for most of the season, given the fatigue and the adjustments the rest of the county made to her pitching, and her pitching numbers didn't approach the sterling (numbers from last year). 

But in the playoffs, when the Longhorns needed Krupit most, she became the pitcher she was last year. She met with her pitching coach before Lambert's first-round series against Mill Creek to get the movement on her pitches down, and in that series, she allowed two and one runs in the first two games and threw a shutout to beat the Hawks 1-0 in the decisive game three. 

"It was the atmosphere," Krupit said. "That's when I do best, is when I have the most pressure on me."

Krupit's bat also played a big role in the Longhorns' playoff run, as she hit a two-out double that started the go-ahead rally in the must-win second game of the Mill Creek series. Even with the huge pitching load, Krupit was perhaps the best hitter in the entire county, certainly from a power standpoint. 

"I love pitching and hitting, but I love to hit," Krupit said. "That's like my favorite thing."

Krupit got to know Kendall Fowler, the team's athletic trainer especially well this fall through the pain and fatigue that were byproducts of the senior's role with the Longhorns. She didn't really see another option. 

"I was like, 'I'm pitching, I don't care,'" Krupit said.  "So I'm just going to have to push through it, and then I'll take off the whole winter."