Katie Struewing has been using the same mitt to snag line drives and track down deep fly balls since her sophomore season at Greenwood Community High School.
This makes for an impressive softball alliance considering Struewing turned 22 on Monday.
Uniformity isn’t a novel concept to Struewing, a junior at Franklin College, versatile enough to be penciled in at any one of four positions (first base, third base, center field, left field) by third-year Grizzlies coach Butch Zike.
The soft-spoken Struewing is coming off a memorable 2014 campaign in which she belted a single-season record 18 doubles, led her team in both base hits (52) and runs (26) and was second in batting average at .406.
Although Franklin College is only eight games into this season, Struewing already has delivered 11 hits in 25 at-bats (.440) to go along with three doubles and four runs.
Defensively, she gives her coach no shortage of options.
“One of the things that helps Katie is she can play so many positions. She played third base for us some of our Florida trip recently,” said Zike, the former Whiteland Community High School baseball coach and athletics director whose Grizzlies won five of eight games in Fort Myers, Florida, from Feb. 28 to March 3.
“She’s just so smooth defensively. It’s instincts and good hands,” Zike said. “Katie has always had that, so it’s not anything I take credit for.
“She just catches everything, and that makes her valuable.”
Struewing owns an .857 fielding percentage this season — her two errors coming in lopsided Grizzlies victories against Newbury (9-3) and Northland (10-0).
Her best game at the plate was the previously mentioned blanking of Northland on March 2. It’s here Struewing contributed three base hits to go along with three RBIs.
“In the offseason I worked mostly on hitting inside pitches and having the attitude of just finding a way to get on base,” Struewing said. “In the summer I take private hitting instructions, and I brought that into our fall season and winter workouts.”
Like any college athlete traveling to warmer temperatures, Struewing managed to squeeze in a little beach time with teammates.
“We usually played our games in the mornings and had the afternoons to ourselves,” she said. “We stayed about five miles from the beach, and a lot of the parents went, too.
“It was fun.”