Some college students like to stay close to home, and you can include Seymour senior softball player Stephanni Kleber in that group.
Last week, she officially signed her national letter of intent to continue her softball career at Franklin College.
“I liked that it was close to home, and I like the community and the way it feels,” she said. “It just felt like home. All of the coaches there were super sweet. The people were nice. It will be good to be involved in their program.”
Kleber said she expects to play infield and pitch at Franklin.
She’s excited to show off her versatility on the mound at the collegiate level.
“I throw five or six different pitches,” she said. “I usually don’t throw my fastball. I usually throw my screwball. That is my No. 1. It breaks in at the hands (to right-handed batters). I want to jam them.”
Offensively, Kleber said batting is a big mental game.
“I like to pull the ball, which isn’t always the greatest,” she said.
She has enjoyed playing for coach Jerry Burton and the Owls.
“It has been fun,” Kleber said of her softball experience. “I played with people I wouldn’t have played with.”
Kleber has enjoyed the home games at Seymour, too.
“I like that we can have a bigger crowd and more people come,” she said. “It’s more fun to have the community there.”
She has played a lot of ball with travel teams all over central Indiana since she was old enough to throw a ball and swing a bat.
In travel ball, Kleber pitches and plays shortstop, and she also has fielded third base a couple of times.
“Steph came in as a freshman and started from the get-go,” Burton said. “She brings a lot of experience. She has played a lot of softball. She brings a lot to the team with her enthusiasm besides her athletic ability when she’s playing defense, pitching and hitting.
“She mixes up her pitches well. She does a good job when we pitch her and also plays shortstop and third base and does well when we move her around,” he said. “She has been a big plus to our program. What I really like about Steph is the way she plays the game. She plays the game hard, and she plays it with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Burton thinks Kleber will fit right in at Franklin.
“I think she’ll go up there and have a good career,” he said. “The traveling is a little bit different. It will take some adjustment, especially when you play for new coaches. I’ve been very fortunate to have coached her the last few years.”
The Grizzlies, coached by Brad Jones, are 10-6 so far this season. Franklin is a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.
Kleber already has experience playing on the Franklin College field.
“We played a doubleheader there in the fall last year,” she said of travel ball.