Petaluma star Joelle Krist commits to Arizona

PLAYER PROFILE

Joelle Krist
Petaluma, softball, junior

Strong start: Through the first seven games of this season, Krist has hit .500 with five home runs and 17 RBI; nine of her 11 hits have gone for extra bases

Honors: All-Empire softball; SCL all-league basketball, volleyball

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma's Joelle Krist makes a play during a game last season. (Photo by John Burgess, The Press Democrat)

Petaluma’s Joelle Krist makes a play during a game last season. (Photo by John Burgess, The Press Democrat)

Tearing up Empire prep pitching and playing at ever higher levels of tournament softball, Joelle Krist is positioned to play the major college game.

Now the Petaluma junior knows her destination — the University of Arizona.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to go there. It’s been my dream,” Krist said.

Many NCAA Division I programs recruited the power-hitting infielder. College coaches followed Krist at regional and national tournaments and showcases. Krist also sent copies of videos displaying her skills to college coaches.

Arizona took serious interest following camps in Tucson, where Krist played the way Empire players and coaches know all too well.

“She keeps getting better,” said Petaluma high coach Kurt Jastrow. “She can really hit the ball. She can play any position.”

A starter since her freshman season Krist played second base before moving to first base for her junior campaign. Smooth with the glove, Krist is strong with the bat.

In just seven games this season she has 5 home runs and knocked in 17 runs. All but two of her 11 hits have been for extra bases.

A year ago Krist batted .500, including 2 home runs and nine doubles. She totaled 18 runs batted in for the Trojans. She had a home run and 10 runners knocked in as a freshman.

Krist’s strong start this season follows a summer campaign with the Easton Elite, a top regional team, and then moving up to the Nor Cal Shockers, out of the East Bay.

“It’s going pretty good,” Krist said.

Interest from college programs grew with her improvement.

Arizona was always her first choice and the dream became reality with her verbal commitment. Krist will sign a National Letter of Intent in the fall.

“I just love the whole atmosphere,” she said. “You’re part of a big tradition. They’ve very competitive.”

Arizona has won eight NCAA college world series in softball, the last in 2007. Arizona has taken NCAA regional playoff titles in 25 of the past 27 seasons, and last appeared in the college world series in 2010.

Playing for Arizona is a family affair. Krist’s cousin Sam Banister — their mothers are sisters —was a Wildcats standout after starring at Petaluma.

Now her hitting coach, Krist said Banister ’s instruction and fitness training will help her prepare for the college game.

“She made me believe I could play in college,” Krist said of her cousin.

Staying healthy also will be a primary concern.

Also a very good prep volleyball and basketball player, Krist is aware of the importance to avoid serious injury. She suffered a concussion during this past basketball season for Petaluma high.

Softball is Krist’s first sport, and it shows both with her effort on the field and with her numbers in the box score.

With another year of high school ball to play, Krist could be among the all-time greats coming out of the very successful Petaluma high program.

“She’s already right up near the top,” Jastrow said.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.

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