Kielman powers Glenelg to a run at state playoffs

May 15, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Jodi Kielman swings a softball bat with so much power it once broke her kneecap.

That freak accident cost Kielman her freshman season, but ever since, she has been rewriting the Glenelg record book. Howard County Player of the Year and first-team All-Metro last season, the senior already has 16 extra-base hits in 55 at-bats this season.

She has smacked five home runs, including a grand slam. In her three-year career, Kielman has hit a school record 11 home runs. Next best -- two.

"Jodi hits the ball over the fence in practice maybe 20 times," said Glenelg coach Chuck Struhar. "Nobody else comes close. She's done that maybe six times in a game situation."

Kielman, a baseball player until high school, was swinging for that fence when she broke her kneecap just three days into practice her freshman year.

"I swung and when I turned, my leg rotated and the force popped my kneecap out and broke it in half, but it still held together," said Kielman, who plays in several leagues and spends hours at batting cages even in the off-season. "That injury's been a haunting one. Every once in a while, it reoccurs. It's popped out twice since."

Those recurrences have been minor and haven't stopped her from dominating the Howard County league -- both at the plate and at first base.

Not only does she hit the ball far, she hits it often. After Friday's 11-1 win over Oakland Mills, Kielman's batting average stood at .600.

Her fielding is equally impressive. In 152 chances this season, she's made only three errors.

"That's mind-boggling," said Struhar, "and two of those errors came in one game. When you put everything together, she's having an unbelievable year. She's going to end up with close to 40 RBIs in a 20-game season. That's pretty darn good."

That's also a school record. In fact, the 31 RBIs she has already is a single-season school record. It eclipses her old mark of 30 from last year -- which surpassed the 28 she batted in as a sophomore.

Kielman holds so many school records, it's hard to count them all.

She tops every extra-base-hit category with single-season marks 11 doubles, five triples and five home runs and career records of 26 doubles, 10 triples and 11 homes runs. Her RBI mark is also a career record of 89 -- 34 more than the runner-up.

And there are still at least three games left in the season -- six if the Gladiators (16-2 overall, 11-1 league) make it to the state championship game.

For that elusive state title, Kielman would trade all of those records.

"This season, I'm not looking at the records at all," said the four-year varsity player. "I'm trying to concentrate on the team as a whole. I've tried to prove myself, and if people don't believe it now, there's nothing I can do to change their minds. I'm putting my effort toward the team and taking the team to states."

In the meantime, however, Kielman and her teammates could clinch at least a tie for the Howard County championship with a win over Howard tomorrow. A win against Hammond on Tuesday would seal the Gladiators' first county title since 1990.

Next year, Kielman will play at Catonsville Community College where she hopes to draw some attention and move up to a strong four-year program.

"I may be aiming too high, but if I want to prove something to myself, I have to aim high, so I'm looking at Arizona or Texas A&M," said Kielman, whose grandfather went to Texas A&M.

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