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Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Rootstown softball’s Shelbie Krieger

Bonsky Heating and Cooling Athlete of the Week: Rootstown softball’s Shelbie Krieger


Rootstown junior Shelbie Krieger was named the Portage Trail Conference’s Player of the Year last year.
Tom Nader/Portage Sports

By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


When Shelbie Krieger talks about softball, there is a smile that instantly lands on her face.

A genuine smile.

“I love playing, and I love playing with my teammates,” Krieger said.

“Softball is my safe place.”

Her opposition has never felt the same way.

Rootstown junior pitcher Shelbie Krieger struck out 246 in 106 innings last season.
Tom Nader/Portage Sports

The right-handed hurler, as a sophomore last season, was named the Portage Trail Conference Player of the Year.

She won 13 games, posted a 0.79 earned-run average and struck out 246 in 106 innings (2.3 per inning).

As dominant as she was in the circle, she was also a leader at the plate for the Rovers as well, with a .483 average, 29 hits, 12 doubles, four home runs, 19 RBI and 23 runs scored.

Amongst all of the individual success was team success, too, with the Rovers winning the PTC championship.

“When Shelbie is on the field, you can see everyone relax with confidence,” Rootstown head coach Paige Byers said. “Everyone k nows she is going to do her job, and they have her back when the ball is put in play.”

Playing with confidence does not happen by accident, though.

Now a junior, Krieger has put in the work to develop confidence, which combines with her assured personality.

“Shelbie is a player that puts in all the hard work. All the time,” said Byers, who is a Rootstown graduate and former softball standout. “She will do whatever we ask her to do, and she is definitely an all-around leader for our team.”

Krieger began playing softball when she was 6 years old, but her pitching career did not begin until she reached the 12U age division.

She experienced success early, and with it, a routine that has remained part of process today.

“When I was younger, I used to rush between pitches, so I developed a routine to slow myself down,” Krieger said. “It doesn’t matter if it is a good pitch or a bad pitch, I still do it and it helps me stay focused.”

Krieger’s routine features he taking a walk around the pitching circle, before returning to the rubber, where she taps it with her left foot. Then she is ready for the next pitch.

It is hard to argue against it.

Just ask the batters that are in the box waiting for that next pitch.

Krieger, though, says she is less worried about her own personal statistics than the team’s success.

“For me, I just want to do well for my teammates,” Krieger said. “It is awesome to know they always have my back, so I want to do everything I can for them.”

It is a mentality that Byers gets to witness every day and has a naturally uplifting impact on her team.

“Shelbie is that special player that brings a little bit to everything to the team,” Byers said. “She does what she does while she is playing, but it is also her team-first attitude and personality that allow her show a lot by her actions. She is the perfect combination of what we need. She keeps us focused and our intensity high, but from a relaxed and confident place.”

When Byers talks about Krieger, there is a smile that instantly lands on her face.

A genuine smile.

It is like that when it comes to softball with Krieger.

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