After one year leading St. Louis Community College’s softball program, Shawn Summe looked forward to handing over the reins this summer. His selection will be a familiar one for the Archers.
Kristi Swiderski, who served as a volunteer assistant during last spring’s 27-win season, becomes the third different Archers head coach in three seasons.
“You could see right away how she dived right in, teaching the fundamentals, building relationships with the players,” Summe said about the Archers’ new head coach. “We knew she’d be a great fit to lead this program.
Swiderski brings to the Archers an extensive select softball coaching resume, as well as playing experience at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Though she did not play for an STLCC program, Swiderski has long held the program in high regard.
“I was recruited by (Hall of Fame Meramec coach) Celeste Knierim, and I saw what she could do by working with local kids. (STLCC) was a great place for those players, and that’s still the case.”
Swiderski made an impact in short order for the Archers last spring, as the Archers saw their coaching staff overhauled just months before practice began.
“We came in in January, and they had no idea who we were, what our background is, and we came in and gave it our full effort. A lot of these kids thought it could be the end of the road for their softball career. We didn’t take anything for granted. We worked on everything. They gave us a chance. They thought that we had their best interests at heart and they started to trust us. They stuck with us and it was fun to see how things transpired on the field, and they knew they could win.”
Archers add Ohio ace Blankenship
Now on board as the team’s head coach, Swiderski and her husband/assistant coach Joe Swiderski, are already progressing toward building a winner for 2017. The Archers got started on that front by landing Kyla Blankenship, a freshman pitcher from Piqua High School (Ohio).
Blankenship was recruited by 10 schools throughout the nation, and completed her senior season with a 19-4 record and a 1.86 ERA. She struck out 162 batters in 142 innings. Blankenship figures to see plenty of time in the circle for the Archers, who graduated all four pitchers who appeared in a game in 2016.