Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 1, 2014

Buchholz signs with Iowa Western

By Travis J. Brown, Journal Sports Editor | Jan 22, 2013
Photo by: Travis J. Brown Washington’s Kaitlin Buchholz (center) signs a letter of intent on Friday afternoon to play softball at Iowa Western Community College. Her parents, Erik (right) and Christy (left) Buchholz watch her sign.

Three years ago, Washington’s Greta Smeins signed a letter of intent to play softball at Iowa Western Community College. And on Friday the Demons sent the other half of its battery from the 2010 season to Council Bluffs when catcher Kaitlin Buchholz signed to play for the Reivers.

“I am very excited to have another young athlete from Washington,” Iowa Western Community College head softball coach Lana Ross said. “Greta had an incredible career here at Iowa Western, and I am looking forward to Kaitlin having an immediate impact for the Reivers.”

As a freshman, Buchholz caught for Smeins during the 2010 season. Smeins recently wrapped up her two-year career at Iowa Western, and she’s filled in Buchholz on what to expect when she arrives on campus in Council Bluffs.

“Greta told me their program is one of those hard programs, which is great if you’re serious about it,” Buchholz said.

Buchholz, the daughter of Erik and Christy Buchholz, isn’t afraid of a little hard work. It’s through countless hours of practice that she’s become the player she is today.

“I never started out as a great player,” Buchholz said. “I was definitely a player who had to work hard.”

That hard work has paid off. Buchholz earned first team All-Southeast Conference honors this summer after having a career-best season to help the Demons reach the state softball tournament for the second time in school history. She had career-best numbers in nearly every statistical category during her junior year, including batting average (.414), doubles (17), triples (5), home runs (3), RBIs (48), runs (35) and stolen bases (13).

Buchholz is a career .49 hitter with 42 doubles, seven triples, four homers and 107 RBIs in four seasons.

“She is a great athlete and a fantastic young lady,” said Ross, who plans to use Buchholz both behind the plate and in the outfield. “I think Kaitlin is a great fit for our program.”

Her hard work and performances on the field have helped Buchholz reach her longtime goal of earning a scholarship to play college softball.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “We used to talk about this when we were young. Me, Maddie [Bohr], Joni [Erwin] and Mariah Freel, when she used to go here, decided really young that we wanted to go on and play college softball.”

Almost all of them have. Freel, who pitched at Highland High School, is a freshman on the Muscatine Community College softball team. Bohr signed with Division II Lindenwood University in November. Erwin plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall, but could have pursued a collegiate softball career had she chosen to. And Buchholz chose Iowa Western over offers from Truman State, Grandview University, DMACC, Kirkwood Community College and Heartland Community College.

“The fact that we’re all going on and doing what we love to do, I hope it’s inspirational to other people,” Buchholz said.

Washington head softball coach Angie Shrader feels that Buchholz can have the same kind of success that Smeins had with the Reivers. Smeins had a record of 45-23 with a 2.67 earned run average during her two years at Iowa Western, and she helped the Reivers to two Region XI titles and to the national tournament as a freshman. She was named Region XI Pitcher of the Year this past season before signing with Division I Morehead State.

“Like Greta, who has moved on to bigger and better things, I think that’s what’s in store for Kaitlin as well is to move on to bigger and better things right after Iowa Western,” Shrader said.

Buchholz hopes to play at the Division I level once she finishes playing for the Reivers.

“Now that I’m going there, that dream is definitely opening up,” she said.

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