Michaela Lehmkuhl doesn’t try.
But she’s certainly succeeding.
The Wadena-Deer Creek sophomore said she doesn’t try to hit home runs. But she has hit eight already this season, including three last week. Her eighth home run, which came in a 23-8 drubbing of Crosby-Ironton May 8, broke a W-DC school record that was set by Hally Damm in 1993.
“I came out this season and I didn’t expect to hit home runs,” Lehmkuhl said. “My goal was to get on base. I was really hoping to lower my strikeout number. That was my main goal. But I love playing the sport. I love getting on base and having fun.”
If getting on base is fun then Lehmkuhl is having a blast. She’s hitting .526 (30-57) with 22 runs scored and 41 RBIs. Of her 30 hits, seven are doubles, eight are home runs and she has one triple. She owns an on-base percentage of .563.
“She’s terribly aggressive, which can be good and sometimes not so good,” said W-DC head coach Craig Klawitter. “She just wants to do well every time she’s at the plate. She started out hitting line-drive shots that were really impressive. The last few home runs have been towering fly balls. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but as long as they go over the fence, that’s good.”
Klawitter said Lehmkuhl showed flashes of her power last year as a freshman when she hit cleanup for the Wolverines. She’s still hitting cleanup and that brings a lot of confidence to the girls hitting in front of her.
“Hitting cleanup has just been a blast,” Lehmkuhl. “This team is pretty good. We have a good group of girls who can hit the ball and then I just hit behind them, trying to get them around the bases and score some runs. We’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
In the first game of a Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Detroit Lakes, Lehmkuhl was 2-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a home run. She followed with a 2-2, double and RBI performance in the night cap.
Against Mahnomen/Waubun May 2, she finished 2-2 with two walks, two runs and an RBI. She was 3-5 with a double, home run, run scored and five RBIs against New York Mills May 3.
She’s also one of the few people to have success against the undefeated Pequot Lakes Patriots. During a doubleheader April 24, Lehmkuhl went a combined 4-7 with three runs, four RBIs and a home run.
“Pequot has been awesome this year and I love going up against really good pitchers,” Lehmkuhl said. “I seem to hit better against good pitching. I just went up there to make contact with the ball. It just seems like the faster the pitcher the farther it goes when I hit it.
“The whole team did a good job in those two games. We almost won the first game, but we didn’t do as well in the second one.”
Klawitter also praised Lehmkuhl’s defense. She plays third base and catcher.
“Third base is such a key position,” Klawitter said. “Lots of teams struggle with third base and she is such a hard-nosed player. When she is playing third our defense is so much better. She still needs to work on her catching skills.
“She is just a sophomore. Her aggressive style and ability to know what’s going on most of the time as a sophomore is terribly impressive.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Megan Boser, Pierz, finished 4-7 with a double, home run and two runs scored against Eden Valley-Watkins. She added a three-run, game-winning home run against Kimball.
Autumn Ackerman, Pine River-Backus, threw a one-hit shutout and added a bases-clearing double against Blackduck.
Britian Conley, Little Falls, finished 2-2 with a home run and four RBIs against Swanville.
Megan Vetsch, Staples-Motley, struck out a combined 16 batters during a no-hitter and shutout victories against Crosby-Ironton.
Track and field: Jaelin Beachy, Staples-Motley, won the 200-meter dash and 300 hurdles and was second in the 100 hurdles and third in the long jump at the Pillager Invite.
Brittny Bzdok, Abigail Palmer, Mattie Lueck and Chloe Bermel, Pequot Lakes, set the school record in the 4x400 relay at the Detroit Lakes Invite.