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It's up to Heiting to lead Falls softball team

Indians defending GMC champs

April 15, 2013

Ah, young love, what can you do about it except celebrate it?

Such is the case of Menomonee Falls softball coach Wendy (Wolff) Kirt and her husband of only 10 months or so Indians assistant girls basketball coach Brian Kirt.

They are both, politely said, in their 30s. They found each other relatively late in life and both wanted to start to a family ASAP. When Wendy found herself pregnant within a month or so of their wedding last summer, she quickly did the math and knew that the softball season would be impacted.

Happily so.

Unfortunately, because of the miserable spring weather, four games that Wendy would have coached have not been played. In fact, the Indians were barely able to get in four quick, short-handed practices during the relatively balmy spring break weather of a few weeks ago.

Weather cancels chances

And because the weather has been so relentlessly poor, the eighth-year coach Wendy realized that she would not be able to coach a single game before she would have to go on her maternity leave. She is due on April 26 with a baby girl and so just about a week or so ago, she handed off the reins to interim coach Nick Heiting.

"Yes, that was a little sad," Wendy said. "It was my last day (the day of this conversation) and the girls brought me a gift and a cake. It'll be really too bad, they're a great group of girls. It'll be difficult not to coach them."

Wendy would have coached longer, but the fatigue caused by the pregnancy, then teaching a full day and then trying to coach after that, just became a little too much.

That being said, she noted that the rest of the pregnancy has been really easy. The only little blip on the radar, was that Brian didn't want to know beforehand whether it was a boy or a girl, but Wendy did.

"So we did find out," she said. "I'm a pretty good planner and after the wedding it became my job to return all the doubles (duplicate presents). He really didn't want to know (about the sex of the baby), but he had the good sense to let things go and do as I wished (laughs)."

Wendy has not decided whether she will return to the team next year and is keeping her options open. She's looking forward to first-time motherhood.

"I don't know what it's like but I'm dying to find out," she said.

Veteran squad

In the interim, Heiting will take over a veteran team that will try to defend its Greater Metro Conference title and finished with a 17-6 overall record. He said the group is motivated by the disappointing regional final loss to border rival Sussex Hamilton last season.

Team leaders include veterans like sophomore pitcher Kelly Berglund, who was backup to graduated 11-game winner Nikki Festge. Berglund had four wins last season and also had team-highs in RBI (28) and hits (24).

Other key returnees include senior catcher Jamie Ertl, sophomore third baseman Brittany Robinson, senior shortstop Claire Mohrfeld, sophomore first baseman Justine Ertl, and senior outfielder Maddie Eikenmeyer.

"I think the transition has gone pretty well," said Heiting, who has been with the program for several years including the last four with the junior varsity. "We're doing what we can to stay sharp and trying to stay positive, despite the fact that we've had to spend so much time inside (because of the weather)."

He said that nine of the players have come through the junior varsity with him so he knows them well.

Because the weather problems will force a tight schedule, a priority of Heiting's will be to develop a second pitcher to take the pressure off Berglund. Four GMC games are tentatively scheduled for this week including a road game at West Allis Central on Thursday.

The forecast is not promising.

"If we get in all 14 conference games that'll be great," Heiting said. "Right now, I'd be happy with one game."

Heiting also said that he's flattered to have been asked by Wolff to take over the reins of the successful program.

"I'm very happy to have been considered," he said, "but now the question is, what will happen first? Will she (Wendy) have the baby, or will we play a game (laughs)?"

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