Lindsey Telecky made it look easy in the pitcher’s circle.
Grand Island Senior High’s standout pitcher followed up an impressive sophomore season by improving many of her numbers and continuing to rewrite the Islanders’ record book.
Telecky was a big reason Grand Island went 38-8 – shattering the school record for wins by 10 – and earned a best ever fourth-place finish at the Class A state tournament.
But it wasn’t as easy as Telecky made it look.
“She had an outstanding season, and she battled through some nagging injuries for two-thirds of it,” Grand Island coach K.C. Hehnke said. “She competed extremely well. At state, in the couple games we got down, she kept battling and kept us in the games.”
Telecky went 26-5 with a 1.86 ERA over 188 innings. She struck out 251 and only walked 51.
For her performance, Telecky has been selected as the Independent’s 2012 All-Heartland Softball Super Squad honorary captain.
Telecky’s name is all over the pitching portion of the Islanders’ record book.
She broke her own mark for wins in a season, already owns the record for career strikeouts (518) by 84 and tied the record for shutouts in a season (10).
She was four short of breaking her record for strikeouts in a season and is seven wins away from that career mark. The junior is second behind Taryn Trosper for career ERA (2.05-2.09).
“Toward the end I was happy with how I played,” Telecky said. “But at state I thought I could have played better.”
While Telecky’s second year as the Islanders’ No. 1 pitcher may have looked like a continuation of her first, it wasn’t.
“After last year, I had stress fractures in my back,” Telecky said. “It was tough getting back.
“Then toward the end (of the season) before state I had a rib injury. I started physical therapy, and it got a lot better.”
Hehnke said Telecky became a more complete pitcher this season while battling those injuries.
“Her screwball became more effective,” he said. “She already had a good dropball and riseball. This year she threw more changeups, and she was able to use four or five different pitches.
“She was able to pitch to an umpire’s zone. If they were calling (strikes) inside, she would throw inside. If they were calling (strikes) outside, she would throw outside. That makes a big difference.”
Telecky might not have been an obvious choice to be a softball standout when she first started playing. She wasn’t one of those athletes who enjoy a sport from the first time she steps onto a field.
“Competitively I started playing when I was 9 or 8,” Telecky said. “My parents made me do it. I didn’t like it at first.
“Once I started working on pitching with my dad (Ron, an Islander assistant coach) I enjoyed it.”
Now Telecky can’t imagine playing a different position.
“My second position is outfield, and when I play there it seems weird not to have the ball in my hands every single play,” she said.
Telecky didn’t exactly ease into her varsity career. With only a handful of varsity innings under her belt, she was sent out to pitch the district championship her freshman year when Trosper was sick. Even though the Islanders had already clinched a wild-card berth for the state tournament prior to that game, it helped Telecky prepare for the high-pressure games she would regularly pitch starting her sophomore season.
“We knew Lindsey could compete well as a freshman,” Hehnke said. “She pitched (varsity) a couple times for a couple innings, and she did really well pitching reserves and junior varsity. We wanted to make sure we didn’t hurt her confidence.
“Then her sophomore year she was unbelievable, and this year she was at the top of her game. She was pitching against our toughest opponents.”
A stretch where Telecky helped the Islanders win the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament and regular season titles in a span of four days was one of her most impressive performances to Hehnke.
“She was able to beat Lincoln Southwest in the conference (tournament) championship, and then she turns around on Tuesday night and gives us the win that we needed to get the regular season championship,” Hehnke said. “She competed very well both those games.”
Telecky also showed her competitiveness at the state tournament. Trailing No. 1-rated Millard West 6-0 after three innings in a first-round elimination game, Telecky and the Islanders hung in until pulling off a 12-11 victory.
“In the fourth inning when we were behind 6-0, I honestly thought we were done,” Telecky said. “But we came back and beat them. I’m proud of my team and how we stayed positive.”
Telecky, who also batting .600 at the state tournament and .391 for the season, didn’t show any doubts about Grand Island’s comeback chances. That played a big role in the comeback, Hehnke said.
“When we got down 6-0, she came off the field and I asked her how she was feeling,” he said. “She said, ‘I’m feeling fantastic. We need to win this game.’
“The rest of the team was standing there and heard her say that. That really gave them a boost. She showed a lot of confidence for a 16-year-old girl.”
Adams Central, P/1B, Sophomore
After tearing her ACL in basketball, Bumgardner battled back to put together a strong softball season.
She hit .490 with a hit in every game except three this year. She led the Patriots in RBIs (31), doubles (10) and home runs (6).
Cross Co./High Plains, P, Senior
Dittmer carried the pitching load for the first-year co-op team by pitching 168 innings with 113 strikouts and only 16 walks.
She also hit .410 for the season.
Grand Island, P/DP, Junior
As the Islanders’ No. 2 pitcher, Kleine set a school record with five no-hitters while going 12-1 with a 2.29 ERA.
She hit .391 and set a school record with eight home runs this season.
Northwest, P, Junior
Scherer went 22-3 with a 1.26 ERA and 126 strikeouts to help the Vikings qualify for the state tournament for the first time.
She was also a big part of Northwest’s offense while hitting .444 with 53 runs and a school record 38 stolen bases.
Grand Island, P, Junior
Telecky is taking over the Grand Island Senior High record book.
She went 26-5 with one save over 188 innings with 251 strikeouts and a 4.92:1 strikout to walk ratio.
Grand Island, Catcher, Junior
Norvell hit .408 and seemed to have a knack for getting her hits during clutch times in big games.
She drove in 37 runs and had both of her home runs come on the biggest stage — at the state tournament.
Northwest, Catcher, Junior
Schacher made any pitcher pay for a mistake when she’s at the plate.
She earned All-Heartland honors for a third straight year after hitting .528 with a Class B record 58 RBIs. She also led the area in doubles (16) and home runs (8, a school record).
Grand Island, 1B, Senior
Lindell and her .992 fielding percentage helped the Islander defense make outstanding plays look routine.
She moved into the leadoff spot in the batting order and responded by hitting .336 and remarkably setting the school record with 45 RBIs.
Hastings, SS, Freshman
Knapple provided an instant pop to the Hastings lineup.
She hit .376 and broke the school record with six home runs.
Northwest, SS, Senior
The spark at the top of Northwest’s batting order hit .419 with nine doubles, eight triples and five home runs.
She scored 52 runs and also gave the Vikings a strong glove in the middle of the infield on defense.
Boone Central, SS, Senior
Molt hit .535 with 39 runs to play a big part in the Cardinals’ offense.
Once on the bases, Molt was a dangerous threat with 35 stolen bases.
Aurora, 3B, Junior
An all-around solid players for the Huskies, Foult led the team in almost every offensive category.
She hit .463 with 24 runs, 22 RBIs and six doubles.
Northwest, 3B, Sophomore
The slap-hitter batted .430 to help keep the Vikings’ offense rolling.
Grand Island, 3B, Senior
A repeat All-Heartland selection, Rother regularly made highlight reel worthy plays at third base.
Rother hit .377 with 39 RBIs and five home runs.
Central City, 3B, Senior
Tvrdy was the offensive leader this season for the Bison while hitting .380 with 19 RBIs, eight doubles and five triples.
She provided the team with a quick third baseman to handle bunt attempts.
Grand Island, OF, Freshman
One of the new faces for the Islanders came through in a big way.
While providing G.I. with a solid defensive presence in the outfield, McNelis also hit .386 with 28 runs and 22 RBIs.
Boone Central, OF, Senior
Stuhlmiller’s speed and ability gave the Cardinals a player who could make defensive gems in left field.
She also hit .472 with 29 runs, five doubles and 18 stolen bases.
Twin River, Utility, Senior
Melcher led Twin River in many offensive categories to help the Titans once again win over 25 games this season.
She hit .418 with 46 RBIs, 37 runs and seven home runs.
Adams Central—Brianna Schuck, Sr.; Alyssa Ehlers, Soph. Aurora—Abby Collingham, Soph.; Megan Hawe, Jr. Boone Central—Aleana Hager, Sr.; Kelsey Lee, Sr. Central City—Taylin Spencer, Sr.; Joli Garbers, Sr. Cross County/High Plains—Sadey Waller, Sr.; Emily Kuhn, Sr. GICC/Doniphan-Trumbull—Elyssa Kohmetscher, So.; Alex Kentner, Jr.; Joanna Rainforth, Sr. Hastings—Alex Schmidt, Soph.; Cassandra Chancler, Sr. Northwest—Laura Springer, Jr.; Kelly Hostler, Jr. Twin River—Alissa Paczosa, Jr.; Carter Cuba, Sr.