Kretschman’s Versatility Leads To Athletic Success
By Jeff Navin // April 6, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY • SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA – When the 2012 Summer Olympics begin in late July in London, Kelly Kretschman and other elite softball players in the United States will have mixed feelings about the sports spectacle.
Softball will not be included after several European nations banded together to eliminate the sport at the Olympic level.
Kretschman, a former Satellite High and University of Alabama standout, earned a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Games in Greece and a silver medal in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing as a member of the U.S. softball team.
During the 2008 season for the U.S. in exhibition and Olympic contests, Kretschman hit .450.
She had 64 hits in 142 at-bats. She scored 54 runs and drove in 40 runs. She had seven home runs, three triples, 14 doubles, 17 walks and also stole five bases in six attempts.
In the Olympics, Kretschman had a five-game streak with at least one RBI.
She tied for the team lead in triples, doubles and did not commit and error.
In 2008 for Team USA, Kretschman had 66 hits in 147 at-bats for a .449 batting average. She added 11 home runs, 58 RBI and 76 runs scored. She had 13 doubles, one triple, walked 51 times and had five stolen bases without getting caught.
The 1997 graduate of Satellite High had a walk as Japan’s Yukiko Ueno defeated the U.S. 3-1 in the gold medal game in 2008.
Kretschman hit .348 in her final international tournament for the U.S.
Kretschman, who starred in softball, basketball, soccer and volleyball for Satellite High, was a four-time All-America with the University of Alabama from 1998 to 2001.
As a freshman at Alabama in 1998, Kretschman led the nation in home runs with 25. She hit .467 with 100 hits in 214 at-bats. She drove in 64 runs, scored 94 runs and added 22 doubles and seven triples for a slugging percentage of .986. She walked 31 times and stole 40 bases in 47 attempts.
Her slugging percentage led the nation.
Kretschman had a 35-game hitting streak, which is the third best in NCAA history that initial season.
She hit .521 (62 for 119) during that span with 15 home runs, five triples and 15 doubles for a slugging percentage of 1.109. Kretschman was named to the NCAA Division I All-America and All-SEC second teams.
She set school and conference records for batting average, home runs, hits and slugging percentage.
The outfielder hit .395 as a sophomore, driving in 31 runs and scoring 54 runs. Kretschman had 83 hits in 210 at-bats. She hit eight home runs, four triples and 16 doubles for a slugging percentage of .624. She walked 34 times and had 30 stolen bases in 33 attempts. The stolen bases set a school record.
Kretschman was an All-America selection once again and was named to the SEC First Team.
As a junior in 2000, Kretschman hit .436 with 102 hits in 234 at-bats. She hit 14 home runs, drove in 58 runs and scored 83 runs. She had a slugging percentage of .718. She walked 51 times and stole 43 bases in 46 attempts.
She led the NCAA in hits that season and was named First Team All-America.
The Crimson Tide reached the Women’s College World Series for the first time. She hit .333 in her only appearance in the annual event and was picked for the All-Tournament Team.
In her senior season in 2001, Kretschman earned First Team All-America status and also was All-SEC. She hit .451 with 83 hits in 184 at-bats in 61 games, She hit 13 home runs, drove in 38 runs and scored 57 runs. Kretschman added nine doubles, two triples and walked 45 times to compile a slugging percentage of .733. She stole 20 bases in 28 attempts.
Kretschman finished her collegiate career with 60 home runs, 191 RBI,, 288 runs scored and 368 hits in 842 at-bats for a .437 batting average. She had 65 doubles, 16 triples and 161 walks for a slugging percentage of .766 and stole 133 bases in 154 attempts.
Kretschman is one the few players in NCAA history to hit better than .400 with more than 300 hits, 200 runs scored and 100 stolen bases.
In 2005, Kretschman began what has been a successful career in National Pro Fastpich (NPF).
During her first year in the league, she played for the Akron Racers and hit .280 with 21 hits n 75 at-bats. She hit one home run and drove in 13 runs.
In 2006, she played for the Connecticut Brakettes and posted an impressive batting average of .410 with 41 hits in 100 at-bats. She had three home runs, drove in 12 runs and scored 26 runs. Both squads won the Cowles Cup.
In 2007, Kretschman played for the Washington Glory and helped them win the Cowles Cup. She hit .333 in 51 games with 17 hits in 51 at-bats. Kretschman had one home run and drove in five runs. She walked 19 times.
After a year off from NPF play to concentrate on the Olympics, Kretschman joined the USSSA Pride, which is based in Kissimmee.
She hit .350 with 42 his in 120 at-bats. Kretschman had eight home runs, drove in 22 runs and scored 17 runs. She had a slugging percentage of .608. She had seven doubles and walked 21 times.
Kretschman helped the Pride win the Cowles Cup in 2010, hitting .296 with 43 hits in 145 at-bats. She hit seven home runs, drove in 29 runs and scored 27 runs. She walked 31 times and had a slugging percentage of .431.
In 2011, Kretschman hit .300 with 21 hits in 70 at-bats. She hit one home run, drove in 10 runs and scored 14 runs. She added 16 walks as the Pride lost in the Cowles Cup final.
During her six seasons in the NPF, Kretschman has a .330 batting average with 21 home runs, 91 RBI and 114 runs scored. She has posted a slugging percentage of .517. She has walked 135 times and stolen 20 bases.
The upcoming NPF season begins June 7.
Playing four sports was a juggling act at Satellite High, and Kretschman was involved in one of the more bizarre stories during her senior year.
The Scorpions defeated Boca Raton 6-1 in the Class 3A State Soccer Semifinals in Tallahassee on Friday, Feb. 21, 1997.
After the game, Kretschman, Kalli Kamholz and Andi Sellers boarded a flight and flew to Merritt Island where they then were whisked by helicopter to Satellite Beach for a Class 5A Region semifinal basketball game against Lakeland George Jenkins.
The Satellite girls lost that game 57-39. Early the next morning, the three players drove to Tallahassee to take on defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 3A girls’ soccer championship game.
Kretschman, a goalie, helped the Scorpions post a 0-0 tie through regulation and two overtime periods. St. Thomas Aquinas eventually won 4-3 on penalty kicks to record its fifth consecutive state title and 104th straight win.
Kretschman is a volunteer assistant softball coach at the University of Maryland. In the past, she also has been an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama.