Athlete of the Week: Kelly Unkrich, Sophomore, Softball

In the past decade, only four Mines Softball pitchers have held their opponents hitless for an entire game. Now, Lady Oredigger Kelly Unkrich can add her name to that list. Unkrich, a sophomore from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, became the fifth Mines pitcher since 2001 to toss a no-hitter during a March 6 victory over New Mexico Highlands University. In just her second year of collegiate competition, the civil engineer has been named RMAC pitcher of the week twice, pitched 20 complete games and is currently on a six-game winning streak.

The March 6 win was no fluke. Unkrich nearly threw a no-hitter the previous day before a last inning home run spoiled her chance. A fearless competitor by nature, Unkrich responded the following day, striking out nine batters en route to her first career no-hitter. In the two days of pitching, she faced only 39 batters, struck out 15 and allowed only two hits. With the wins, Unkrich improved to 6-5 on the season for the Orediggers (6-2 RMAC, 11-11 overall), who currently sit atop the RMAC standings. As she and teammate Libby Balogh continue to provide solid pitching, Mines softball has a bright future ahead. For her efforts and performance this season, Unkrich is this week’s Athlete of the Week.

[Oredigger]: What was going through your head during the final innings of your no-hitter?
[Unkrich]: Well, it is what I was striving for, because I was really close the day before. But I was just focusing on the game and trying not to get distracted. I tend to over-analyze and over think things and then I do not do very well. So I was trying not to over think it.

Describe what you were feeling after you had ‘no-hit’ New Mexico.
Afterwards, it was a relief because I did not have to worry about it anymore. But I do not tend to get too over-excited during wins. I mean, I enjoy them, but I just want to focus on one day at a time.

What do you enjoy about being on the softball team at Mines?
I have to say, we have a diverse team, age-wise and it is incredible how well we mold together. And we all already trust each other; I trust every girl on the field to back me up.

How has the team molded so well?
I do not know what it is, really. We just already know each other and it is like we already know what each other are thinking.

How is the 2011 season different with a first year head coach ?
With our [interim coach Kristie Hawkins], everything is more positive and more fun. We definitely have the mentality of getting better every day, but we are enjoying the process.

What goals do the team have for this season?
Our goal is always to get farther in RMAC. We take one game at a time and just try to win every game.

What has been the hardest part about being a student athlete?
The biggest problem for me is procrastination. So this year, I am working on getting homework done right away to try to stay on top of things.

Besides softball, what else are you interested in?
I played soccer and basketball in high school and I still love to play soccer. I like art, too. I am into art, family, and friends, really.

What is your favorite part about Mines?
I like the people here a lot. I live in Highlands Ranch, and it seems like everyone there is the same type of person. Everyone here is different and down to earth. And I like the small campus feel.

What would you change at Mines?
Parking. Yep, that is the one thing.

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