Kethe brings leadership and determination to the softball field

By Jordan Hoke

It's the night before a big game. No. 1 prepares the night before by getting a good night sleep after watching Animal Planet. When game day arrives she makes sure she gets a healthy meal, usually consisting of peanut butter and jelly, along with a banana or an apple.

Rachael Kethe, 22, not only plays for the successful Crusaders softball team, but also pursues an English degree and plans to graduate in 2011.

Growing up in Richmond, Kethe attended Richmond High School where she played varsity softball for three years, varsity volleyball for two years, and varsity basketball for only a year.

Kethe decided to attend Western Michigan for her freshmen year to focus on academics. “After spending a year at WMU I knew two things:  I wanted to be closer to home and I wanted to play softball again,” said Kethe. “It’s well known that Coach Al (White) values family above all else, and that was really important for me when I decided to come here. After meeting the girls I knew I had made the right decision.”

According to the records, last season Kethe appeared in 51 games for the Crusaders, while batting .256 with five RBI and scoring 17 runs.

“Rachael always brings leadership to the field every time she is steps on,” said junior Kelly Lesko. “Whenever things are not going the way we want them to, Rachael always has a joke to lighten our moods.”

Kethe has many goals, not only personally, but for the team as well. Her ultimate personal goal this season is simple, be better than last season. That comes with a lot of sub-goals, like getting deep into the count and hopefully drawing a few more walks this season. Getting on base anyway she can is going to be key for her. “After our success in 2009 we are working hard to get back to Nationals,” said Kethe about her team goals. “It’s not going to be easy with our young team and increased level of competition in the WHAC. We have a target on us this season especially after the NAIA rankings came out; we are definitely a team to beat. Teams are going to throw their best at us and we have to be ready.”

When she is not wearing No. 1, Kethe stays busy with school. She hopes to spend the summer after graduation looking for teaching jobs and then hopefully by the fall she’ll be working. Also she hopes to one day coach volleyball and softball where-ever she ends up teaching.

“God, family, teammates, and my future motivate me to do and be the best I can in life, in the classroom, and on the field,” said Kethe. “I am coming to the end of my academic career at MU so a lot of what I do is motivated by where I’ll be a year from now.”

Kethe and the Crusaders are preparing to defend their WHAC championship from a year ago. The No. 14 ranked Crusaders opened up the season March 6 in Tucson, Arizona. Their first home game slated for the year is April 17 against conference foe Siena Heights.