Sleepy Eye St. Mary's catcher Ali Beltz proved she was key both behind the plate and at it, hitting .577 with 16 home runs last season. Photo by Sleepy Eye Online
After leading the state in goals during the regular season, senior Ali Beltz had the attention of the Minnesota hockey community.
While with the Eagles, a co-op formed with players from New Ulm, New Ulm Cathedral, Sleepy Eye and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, Beltz scored an eye-popping 62 goals. The forward added six more in the Class 1A, Section 2 playoffs, and offensive outburst that helped the team reach the state tournament.
While winter's grip on the state has remained strong, high school hockey has moved into the rearview mirror for Beltz, who has turned her attention to her spring sport -- softball.
MN Softball Hub: You were committed to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and recently switched your commitment to the University of Maine. What was behind the change?
AB: I was kind of set on Wisconsin-River Falls, but I played in some tournaments in hockey, and the University of Maine had talked to people who have seen me play. They just reached out to me, called me and talked about their program, and I decided I wanted to go on a visit. One thing led to another and now I’m signing there.
MN Softball Hub: How do the skills you work on in volleyball and hockey translate to softball?
AB: Jumping and skating in volleyball and hockey really strengthen your legs. As a catcher, it helps a lot. There’s also all the weightlifting -- all the training also -- that helps in softball with hitting a ball or throwing a ball.
MN Softball Hub: Sleepy Eye St. Mary's is in the Tomahawk Conference with Sleepy Eye and New Ulm Cathedral. What’s it like to play against some of your hockey teammates during the softball or volleyball seasons?
AB: It’s really cool. You meet so many different people and then you play against them in softball and volleyball. It’s a different dynamic. It’s really cool and I enjoy it. There’s some healthy competitiveness.
A lot of people at our school are multisport athletes. It’s definitely a challenge to fit all your sports in along with your friends and family. You make sacrifices. It’s hard to do, but it’s fun. It keeps you busy.
-- Ali Beltz
MN Softball Hub: Who’s the person that’s been the biggest influence on your life and why?
AB: I don’t think it’s fair to pick one, so I’d say both of my parents. They’re equally important to me and made such an impact on my life. They taught me how to grow up and work hard on everything I do. They’re positive and they’re hard on me. (They) want what’s best for me, make sure I know how to get (what's best for me).
MN Softball Hub: What’s your favorite prep sports memory to date?
AB: There are two different ones. In softball, winning section championship games. In hockey, it was this year, winning the section championship. That was a crazy and unreal feeling.
MN Softball Hub: Who’s one pitcher you’ve dreaded facing in your softball career?
AB: Anna Mohr from New Ulm Cathedral. She graduated two years ago. I played against her as a sophomore and freshman, and I was just shaking in the [batter's] box.
MN Softball Hub: What’s the thing you most look forward to right after the game?
AB: Go somewhere and hang out with my friends, [places such as] Casey’s or Dairy Queen. Just hanging out with my friends on the softball team.
MN Softball Hub: What’s one thing you like to do when no one’s watching?
AB: I’m really competitive, so playing games of any sort. I’m pretty active. Usually if I’m home alone, I usually go into my garage and use my shooting area, I do hockey stuff. I also have a tee and hit with a ball. There’s also a volleyball set up to hit in my garage, so I can hit there too.
MN Softball Hub: What’s your go-to snack in the dugout?
AB: Giants Dill Pickle Seeds. I’m very specific.