EXETER – Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan softball standout Josie Kresak signed her letter of intent to play college softball at Iowa Western Community College Thursday.
“It’s really exciting,” she said after the signing ceremony in the Exeter-Milligan High School community room. “I’m really glad to have the official papers signed. I’m ready to start next year.”
Iowa Western, and head softball coach Ben Greer, had been in contact with Kresak since December. She considered an offer from Northwest Missouri State, but after further review, she felt more at home with the Reivers in Council Bluffs.
“I like how new their campus is,” Kresak said. “Their people are so nice, and talking with Coach Greer, I felt like he was a really good coach. Everything about him. I feel like he has what’s best for me.”
Kresak plans to transfer to Northwest Missouri State after her two years at IWCC, regardless of whether or not softball is in her future.
“Just depends how those two years go, I guess,” she smiled.
Kresak led the Panthers softball program in the 2018 season with a .462 batting average and 48 hits, 42 runs scored, 23 RBIs, 11 doubles, five triples and seven home runs.
Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan was young in 2018 after losing seven seniors from a team that finished 17-11 in 2017.
The Panthers settled for 12-21 in 2018, but head coach Aaron Lauby was, nevertheless, in awe of what Kresak achieved in her senior season.
“She knew and a lot of people knew that we were going to struggle this year with the number of kids we lost the year before,” Lauby said. “Josie was a perfect example of ‘you can only control what you can control,’ and she had as good of a season as any player we’ve had come through here.”
Kresak played in 29 or more games in all four years of her varsity career, and ended with a .341 career batting average.
She played mostly infield in her early career, but Lauby sensed her potential in the outfield as soon as he started coaching her.
“He stuck me (in the outfield) my freshman year, and now that’s where I love to play,” she said. “It’s where I’ve played ever since.”
Lauby, who’s coached the Panthers since 2014, will remember Kresak’s ability to embrace new challenges as a player, and how she made the most of a new opportuniy.
“I like to look at her as an example of, you’ll never really know what you’re going to be asked to do as a freshman and then working on that for the next four years,” he said. “When we got her as a freshman, we saw the obvious potential. Before we had her, she had played mostly first base. One of the things we really stressed is to try and be versatile and play multiple positions.
“We also saw possible opportunity for her in the outfield. Once she started that, I think she embraced it as a freshman, and started to learn that playing outfield isn’t a demotion – it’s as important as any other position.”
Kresak is now the eighth Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan softball standout since 2013 to go on and play at the college level.
“When I tell kids about playing in college, the biggest thing is letting them know what they’re getting involved in,” Lauby said. “If you’re going to do something in college, there needs to be a definite passion and love for that sport, because it is totally different in college – the expectation and the amount of time it takes.
“To have that many that have chosen softball, I think what it shows most of all is that they love playing softball. Whether I’m the coach or whoever is working with them, they want to keep playing, no matter where that takes them.”
This afternoon, @emwolves, @FCPanthers16 softball standout Josie Kresak (@josie_k17) signed her letter to play at @ReiverSoftball next year. The senior led her team with a +.400 avg. this past season and had 7 HRs as well. Story coming soon! #nebpreps @AaronLauby pic.twitter.com/AZPYhXtO4e
— Tommy Rezac (@Tommy_NCN) April 4, 2019
Full interview with Josie Kresak:
Full interview with Aaron Lauby:
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.