Julia Krijgsman to pitch at American International College

Julia Krijgsman is flanked by mom, Monika, and dad, Michael, in a signing ceremony at Shelton High.

Julia Krijgsman is flanked by mom, Monika, and dad, Michael, in a signing ceremony at Shelton High.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

Shelton senior pitching standout Julia Krijgsman will be attending American International College.

“I visited campus last September,” said Krijgsman, an honor roll student all four years who will study criminal justice and minor in psychology. “The class sizes are smaller even than Shelton Highs. You get a one-on-one connection with your teacher. I liked the community and the athletic facility.”

Krijgsman has won 28 games in her two years in the circle. The Gaelettes went 11-9 her freshman season. COVID cancelled her sophomore campaign. The 5-foot-9 righthander led coach Lindsay Wheeler’s squad to a 14-4 record a year ago when they split a pair of Class LL state tournament games.

Walks went down between her freshman and junior seasons. Strikeouts went up.

“I have six pitches. I can spot my fastball. It’s good to have multiple pitches only as long as they are working,” said Krijgsman, who was named to the All-SCC team. “My curveball is one of my favorites. I’ve come to trust my riseball. Because it has a different hand placement and body movement, I didn’t like it at first. You have got to get low for the ball to go high.”

Communication between pitcher and catcher is paramount.

“I learned last year in the high school season how important it is,” Krijgsman said. “Anna Leone was my catcher. She was so good. After warmups, we’d talk and decide what is working and when to throw a certain pitch. A catcher needs to know all your pitches, how they break, and if they are working or not.”

Some pitchers when they leave the circle go to the bench and cheer on batters hoping for a few runs.

“Doing both is fun, but kinda crazy,” said Krijgsman, who has a career .454 batting average with 50 runs scored, 71 RBIs and 33 extra-base hits. “When I’m hitting, I try to figure out how I will be pitched. I know when I face a No. 3 or 4 batter that looks good, I’m not throwing her anything near the plate. Since I bat in those spots, I know I’m not going to get anything good to hit. I try not to chase and wait for a mistake and hit it.”

The path to pitch for AIC and the Division II Yellow Jackets in the Northeast-10 Conference took a circuitous route. Krijgsman had done her due diligence. Since freshman year, she reached out to colleges, went to camps, and paid visits. It took a chance meeting with AIC coach Shalise Tolentino to turn the tide.

“AIC was never on my list,” Krijgsman said. “This summer I was working with my pitching coach Jen Hapanowicz at USA Elite Training in Cheshire. Coach Shalise was there in the cage next to us working with a player. Coach Jen told her I was 2022 uncommitted. She watched my lesson while giving her own hitting lesson. She asked me to make a visit. Later I found out she had been following me.”

Krijgsman feels that Shelton has pieces in place for a memorable season.

“There is something special about your senior season,” she said. “My goal is to have the best run that we can with our eight seniors. I’m working, and my teammates are working, toward winning an SCC title and going far in states. We want to make a name for Shelton softball and have an impact on girls younger than us.”

Multiple sport athletes

“I definitely recommend having another sport to play,” said Krijgsman who played volleyball for coach Leanne Bianchine every season. “With softball you play spring, summer, fall and in winter working out. Its year round. To have a couple of months with another sport is great. I love Coach B. She always saw potential in me. She knew I was softball first. She is all about learning and growing into the sport. She asked me to sit on the bench at SCCs and states as a freshman. She saw hustle and competitiveness in me. I was 14 and that is something I never forget.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354