Expect a pitchers' duel in Section 7AA softball

In a twist of irony, Lindsey Predovich can thank her younger sister for losing her hold on Minnesota's single-game high school softball strikeout record.

Megan Mullen
File / News Tribune

In a twist of irony, Lindsey Predovich can thank her younger sister for losing her hold on Minnesota's single-game high school softball strikeout record.

Kristen Predovich didn't break her older sister's 2003 mark of 24 strikeouts she accomplished twice that season, but the Virginia freshman pitched well enough April 17 against Hermantown to force a 14-inning game in which Hawks pitcher Megan Mullen whiffed 31 batters.

"Of course I had to [give her grief]," Lindsey, a second-year Virginia assistant coach, said about her young protégé. "It was an awesome game, though I wish we would have won. I was very, very proud of Kristen. Mullen is a fabulous pitcher and she's the one to beat now."

Hermantown (18-2) won that game 1-0 on Mullen's home run off Predovich. As the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Section 7AA playoffs, a rematch could be in the offing.

"I'd like that game back," Kristen said. "[Mullen] throws a riseball and it's hard to catch up to. We really struggled with that."


Opponents have struggled against Predovich, too. She's thrown 13 shutouts in the past 14 games -- losing only 1-0 to Cretin-Derham Hall -- and has five no-hitters in leading Virginia to a 17-2 record.

"Kristen works so hard at mastering her individual pitches," Lindsey said. "She executes her pitches -- that's the reason why no one's scoring any runs."

Kristen, who lives near Eveleth High School, pitched for Eveleth-Gilbert in seventh and eighth grade before transferring to Virginia last summer to be coached by her sister.

"That's the main reason I left," she said.

Predovich was supposed to complement senior Alexis Podpeskar

on the mound, but Podpeskar injured a knee during basketball season and missed the softball season. That's another reason Lindsey is glad to have her sister aboard.

"Last year it was hard to coach against her," said Lindsey, a Missouri Western State graduate who is the employment coordinator at Edgewood Vista in Virginia. "I told her if anyone gave her grief [about transferring], lay it on my shoulders because I can take it. I wanted to coach her -- I really, really did."

Despite an age difference of nearly 10 years and different temperaments, the sisters say the arrangement has worked out great.


"She's taught me a lot about the whole game in general," Kristen said. "But we're complete opposites. She was an in-your-face pitcher and I'm more relaxed and calm when I pitch."

"We're 100 percent opposite type of athletes," Lindsey echoed her sister. "She's so calm and laid-back that you wouldn't know if a team was beating her by 10 runs or if she was striking them all out. I was much more aggressive. That's the type of athlete she is, and it's working for her."

Hermantown coach Tom Bang says Kristen compares favorably with her big sister and Hawks star Mullen.

"She's an outstanding young pitcher," he said. "She has three pitches and good command of all of them and good mound presence for a young kid.

"Megan and Lindsey both throw awfully hard and Kristen throws pretty hard. But I don't know if either of them had the command that Kristen does at such a young age."

With those skills, perhaps it will be Kristen who challenges her sister's career strikeout state record.

"That's the one that I hold a little closer to my heart," Lindsey said. "But if it had to be broken, I'd rather have nobody do it other than Kristen."

  • Cloquet and Esko, the top seeds in Subsection 1, could threaten Hermantown and Virginia. The Lumberjacks rely on Katrina Korman's arm and the Eskomos, riding a seven-game winning streak, have scored in double figures eight times this season. Cherry tops among small schools

    Cherry has been painfully close to reaching the state tournament in recent years. Championship game losses to Silver Bay in 2006 and 2007 and a pair of one-run losses after the favored Mariners were bounced from the tournament a year ago deprived the Tigers of their inaugural section title.

    This finally might be the year.

    Cherry (18-2) received the No. 1 seed in its subsection and enters the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak. The Tigers' lone loss to a team from the section came in a 5-4 defeat to second-seeded Nashwauk-Keewatin.

    Carlton (12-4), which also closed the regular season on a 10-game run, and Silver Bay (13-5) are the top two seeds in the other subsection.

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