Emily Raczek missed most of her junior softball season at Pacelli with a shoulder injury.
Now healthy again, Raczek will get a chance to make up for lost time by extending her playing career for at least a couple more seasons once she leaves the Cardinals program.
Raczek, daughter of Steve and Amy Raczek, signed a letter of intent to play softball at Dakota County Technical College, a junior college in Rosemount, Minn., on Wednesday in the Pacelli auditorium.
“I kept in contact with their coach (Tom Cross) since my sophomore year after playing for him during a summer camp,” Raczek said. “I pretty much knew ever since my visit (in the fall) this is where I wanted to go.”
“I want to be a medical assistant and they have a two-year program.”
As a sophomore, Raczek was a key piece to a WIAA Division 3 state championship puzzle for the Cardinals after batting .458 with three home runs, eight doubles and 24 runs batted in through 27 games.
More important than what she did with a bat in her hands, Raczek provided a game-changing presence behind the plate. With a cannon for an arm, she all but eliminated opposing running games, and she had the responsibility of helping to call pitches.
“The security of having her behind the plate is indescribable,” Pacelli softball coach Ann Molski said. “We had one less aspect (teams running) to worry about and she had a big stick in the clutch or could lay down a bunt and play small ball.
“I’m excited to see what she does. She has some really great skills and as she continues to hone those skills, I think the sky’s the limit. It’s going to be totally up to her and what she wants to put into it.”
Raczek isn’t sure if she wants to continue playing softball once she finishes her two years of eligibility with the Blue Knights.
First she wants to enjoy her final season with the Cardinals, and see if she can help them reach a fourth straight WIAA state tournament to close out her high school career.
“I loved playing tennis in high school and wrestling will always be my sport, but softball is my sport now,” Raczek said. “I’m going to try making the team good the year after I graduate and help the catchers who will come after me.”