At first glance, senior Krista Holle doesn’t look like a superstar.
The third baseman has never led the Bulls in home runs, never wowed a crowd with superior athletic ability and never received the attention her teammates have.
“When you watch Krista Holle play, you don’t all of a sudden see something that will make you say, ‘Wow, what a great athlete,’ or ‘Wow, what a great third baseman,'” coach Ken Eriksen said recalling his first glimpse of Holle.
Holle has only gotten better in her career at USF, but she has never stood out prominently. She has, however, provided the heart and soul of a Bulls squad that has made the NCAA Tournament every year she’s played.
“When you watch her for an entire season you say, ‘Man, that kid is nothing but consistent,'” Eriksen said. “She does the job in crucial situations and does her job defensively. She’s just one of those kids that you’re just so happy that she chose to stay home and go to school at USF.”
While Holle’s play in high school was not always flashy or flamboyant, her dedication and hard work always found ways to present themselves. In her senior season, Holle was named First Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coach’s Association and MVP of her team, but it wasn’t until the end of that final year she realized something.
“Through my senior season, I couldn’t really remember striking out,” Holle said. “But my dad and I didn’t want to talk about it. It’s like if you mention a person has a no-hitter you might ruin it. At the end of the season my coach came up to me and said, ‘Krista, I looked through the stats and I looked though the stats again, then I looked though them again. Do you know you didn’t strike out?'”
Holle finished her senior year at Chamberlain with a .444 batting average, 40 hits, a .702 on-base percentage and zero strikeouts.
After choosing USF, Holle admitted to being nervous about playing college ball for the first time, but knew she would succeed.
“I was nervous, but I felt if I worked my hardest then I’d have a great opportunity to play and get a starting role,” Holle said. “So I worked real hard every day at practice and it all kind of fell into place.”
It all fell into place quickly. Holle started all but one game in 2003 and has continued the pace throughout her career to record 285 games played, the most ever for a USF softball player.
Holle’s teammates know it’s that dedication that helped their team reach four straight postseasons.
“Krista is a huge part of our team,” fellow senior and roommate Christie Chapman said. “She’s the best third baseman I’ve ever played with. She just knows the game and she’s very intense and focused when she’s on the field.”
This season, Holle is leading the Bulls in batting average (.365) and hits (73) and is second in assists (152).
As her career winds down, Holle, as always, knows her job isn’t over just yet.
“The postseason,” Holle said, “is what you play all year for.”
SOFTBALL GAME TIME
No. 25 USF (44-21) vs. No.21 UNC (46-15)When: Friday, 2:30 p.m.Where: Florida Softball StadiumTV/Radio: TBA