The Minnesota State High School League doesn’t keep statistics for adapted sports, but it’s believed that Alex Kreidler, a senior on Osseo’s cognitively impaired softball team, has likely won more games as a pitcher than anyone in the sport’s history.
He won three more games last week, giving him eight this season and 52 for his career. He has yet to walk a batter this spring.
“I don’t think anyone has won more games than Alex has,” coach Kelli Waalk-Gilbertson said. “He started pitching in eighth grade and has been there ever since.”
Kreidler said softball is his favorite sport, but he’s performed at a high level in all adapted sports, including those sponsored by Special Olympics. He’s scored 100 career goals as an adapted floor-hockey player.
“He just loves going and playing sports with his friends,” said his mother, Cindy. “He has more confidence, he has more friends. It’s his favorite thing to do.”
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked with Kreidler about his success as an adapted athlete.
Q: What do you like about playing sports?
A: All of my friends are in it and everything.
Q: How long have you been playing sports?
A: I started in adapted sports when I was in seventh grade, so I’ve been in it for six years. Before that, it was Special Olympics. So at least 12 years.
Q: What do you like best about pitching?
A: I like striking people out.
Q: What’s your secret?
A: Two years ago, when we were playing Anoka, I noticed their pitcher was doing a backspin pitch. So I just started doing that, too, right in the middle of the game. It works.
Q: Was it hard to master?
A: Not really. It can be kind of challenging sometimes, but not always.
Q: The hardest part of pitching?
A: Trying not to walk anybody so they don’t score runs or anything.
Q: Who is your toughest opponent?
A: Probably Anoka. They’re undefeated, and we’re undefeated.
Q: How does it feel to know that you probably have won more games than any other pitcher?
A: It feels so good. A state record is something to be proud of. Now my goal for this season is to try to win a state championship.
Q: I’ve heard you are a pretty good hitter, too.
A: Yeah, I’m a good hitter. I like hitting better than pitching, I would say.
Q: What was your best hit ever?
A: I hit a home run against Mounds View. There was people on base. I think we won 25-14.
Q: What are your plans after you graduate?
A: I’ll probably go work at one of the summer camps and then next year, I’ll go to Phase. That’s a place that helps you learn how to live and find a job.
Q: Any vacation plans?
A: Sometimes I go on vacations. I go to New York to see my uncle. He’s in the U.S. military. He’s pretty high up.
Q: How do you get there?
A: I fly there. The best part is sitting by the window. I can relax and not worry about getting into a car accident.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?
A: I like to go to Valleyfair and to the State Fair.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do at the State Fair?
A: Oh, just go walking around. And eat. My favorite food is fried pickles. I get them there every time.