What seemed like an ordinary summer day turned out to be anything but recently for Piedmont’s Karissa Fiegener.
The talented senior was on her way to a Summer Pride softball workout when she glanced at her phone and noticed she’d received an email from Gatorade. Curious, she opened it and discovered she had just been named Oklahoma’s Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for 2022.
“I was speechless for a minute,” admitted Fiegener. “I still kind of am. It really caught me off-guard. I was super excited, obviously.”
Fiegener earned the honors after putting together a spectacular junior season that culminated with Piedmont claiming the 5A state championship. The shortstop/catcher batted .532 for the Wildcats, while clubbing 11 home runs and recording 47 RBIs.
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“The thing that’s special, in my opinion, about Karissa is she is one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had,” remarked Piedmont coach Keith Coleman. “She’s a hard worker. She’s great with the young kids. It’s a special thing when your most talented kid is your most coachable kid and your best teammate. That’s what makes her so special.”
“The thing about Karissa is, if one of her teammates had won this award, she would have been super excited for them,” added Coleman. “That’s the kind of person she is. She’s so humble and so down to earth and a hard worker. That’s what’s made her so successful.”
One of the unique things about Fiegener’s Gatorade recognition is she earned the award while not playing her best position.
“She’s going to be a Division I catcher and she’s never played catcher at Piedmont High School because we need her to play shortstop,” added Coleman. “It’s never been an issue with her. If we needed her to play right field, she’d play right field. That’s the kind of kid she is. She’s all about the team and she just wants to win.”
“As a player, I’ve always wanted to be coachable,” admitted Fiegener, who wears the number double zero. “I want to be someone who coaches can direct, kind of like a captain. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be. That’s the best feeling ever.”
Despite travelling the country playing summer ball with the Iowa Premier Gold Fastpitch club based out of Des Moines, Fiegener makes it a point to attend her high school summer workouts.
Fiegener believes that work ethic was the difference for the Wildcats when it came time to play for a state title.
“Knowing that the work you’re putting in now will pay off in October when you’re playing in that final game, is worth it,” remarked Fiegener, who also won a state title as a Wildcat freshman in 2019. “Once you’re holding that state championship trophy, it’s all worth it.”
Fiegener has won her share of tournaments throughout her playing career, but to her nothing compares to winning a state championship.
“When you win a state championship, you’re with those girls for 4 years,” said Fiegener. “It feels like a whole family. Winning it is a huge accomplishment. All that hard work you put in, you know it paid off. Winning it is the best thing ever because you know you and your teammates succeeded.”
Fiegener has drawn a lot of attention from colleges across the country, but she bypassed some traditional powers when she committed to play for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. The Antelopes are currently coached by former Oklahoma Christian University coach Shanon Hays.
“I’ve always wanted to go to a Christian college because of my faith and everything that I believe in,” said Fiegener. “That was one of the major things. Just getting on campus, it really felt like a small town. It wasn’t a big college party environment. Everyone knows everyone and everyone supports everyone and that’s what I want.”
“This is a great state for softball,” said Coleman on out of state school schools recruiting players from Oklahoma. “Softball is important in Oklahoma. It means something at every level. That’s why a lot of these school recruit Oklahoma kids because you’re getting kids that have been coached well and they’ve played against really good competition their entire lives. Oklahoma is the softball capital of the United States.”
With just a couple of summer ball tournaments left, it won’t be long til Fiegener turns her attention to her final prep season.
“When she graduates, obviously, I’m going to miss her ability, but the thing I’m going to miss the most about Karissa is the kind of person she is and the impact she’s had on our team,” said Coleman. “She’s a special, special kid.”