By RICK PETERSON
When former multi-sport Seaman standout Raigan Kramer made the decision to sign with NCAA Division I softball power Arkansas, she realized she would probably have to wait her turn to move into a prominent role for the Razorbacks.
That was a big adjustment for a player who was rarely out of the game for the Vikings in either softball or basketball during her high school career.
"It's definitely a reality check, but I enjoy the competitiveness of the program and how good we are, and if you want to play for a good program it's going to be like that, so I knew that going in,'' said Kramer, who was The Warehouse Sports Training Facility in downtown Topeka Friday to give baserunning tips to young players.
But while Kramer only made two starts as a freshman, her legs gave her college career a bit of a jump start, with Kramer serving as a pinch-runner in 25 games and scoring 11 runs for a 48-11 Arkansas team that won SEC regular-season and tournament titles and came within one win of advancing to the NCAA Women's College World Series.
It was a role she embraced.
"I was just looking for any way to get on the field, so being able to use my speed and bring that part of my game to still get my on the field was nice,'' said Kramer, who hit .641 with 41 hits, 22 runs batted in, 10 doubles, six triples and three home runs as a senior for Seaman. "I still had a role to play in the games and got to go in and that was fun.''
Kramer, who is expecting to play primarlily in the outfield moving forward, has spent the summer in Topeka, getting ready to return to Arkansas on Aug. 16 to start her sophomore year.
"I've been taking some time off,'' she said. "I've just been weightlifting and practicing on my own and giving a lot of lessons.''
Arkansas graduated several key players off last season's team and Kramer is eager to see what the upcoming year holds.
"I think we have like 11 new girls coming in, so I'm curious just to see how the first few weeks go,'' Kramer said. "We lost a lot of leaders, so we'll be looking for people to fill those roles and I'm just interested to see how that pans out in the end.''
One thing Kramer is sure about is that she made the right decision in picking Arkansas.
"I love it there,'' Kramer said. "The first few months were so tough, just going away from home and all that, but I really found some good friends there and I feel at home and that's ultimately what I was looking for when I made the decision.''