Dual Threat

Baylee Krueger brings skills to the Grenadiers both on the basketball court and the softball field, all while succeeding in the classroom


Tamar Kelly

Now a senior, Baylee Krueger has learned the delicate balancing act of playing on two college sports teams, all while keeping up with her full-time course load.

It’s very common for an athlete in high school to play multiple sports, such as basketball and baseball, to help them stay active and out of trouble for a longer portion of the school year. That’s not the case in college, where sports schedules often overlap with each other, making it impossible to attend one without missing out on another at times. That’s not including the pressure of an athlete to keep their grades at their athletic department’s academic standards.

As such, multi-sport athletes at the collegiate level are incredibly rare, but one IU Southeast student, senior Baylee Krueger, is able to make it work, all while staying successful in the classroom. Krueger, a graduate of Jennings County High School, is currently a forward for the women’s basketball team, as well as a utility player for the softball team.

“My high school isn’t the smallest but it’s not the biggest either, so a lot of people were two sport, some even three sport athletes,” Krueger said. “The coaches acknowledge that and they encourage it because they believe that helps make you a better athlete.”

She credits her parents for putting her into basketball and softball at an early age, helping her to become accustomed to managing her time between athletics and the classroom, as evidenced by being named an NAIA Scholar Athlete in both sports her junior year. She played AAU Basketball until fifth grade before transitioning to travel softball, where she played for Jennings County Club until her senior year, when she knew she was going to play basketball in college.

“I was definitely blessed with my coaches getting along and sharing time,” she said. “They understood that when one sport was in season, that was going to be what I was dedicating my time to and vice versa. During the offseasons, I had to work on both, but it was generally during the summer, so it wasn’t as big of a deal.”

“My high school isn’t the smallest but it’s not the biggest either, so a lot of people were two sport, some even three sport athletes. The coaches acknowledge that and they encourage it because they believe that helps make you a better athlete.

— Baylee Krueger, senior forward and infielder

When it was time to decide where she wanted to continue her education, her decision to attend IU Southeast is be attributed to one factor: cost.

“Honestly, it boiled down to money, especially knowing what I was wanting to get into in regard to my choice of profession,” she said. “Looking back on it, I’m most certainly glad I chose to come here. I made a lot of friends and have had a lot of great experiences here. That, and I don’t know how many other schools where I would be able to play two sports.”

As part of the starting frontcourt for an IUS squad that finished 18-12 (10-8 RSC), Krueger put up solid numbers in her junior campaign on the hardwood last season. In 29 games, she averaged 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, leading the team in the latter, as well as finishing with a 78.5 free throw percentage.

For what she has achieved both on and off the court, Krueger was named the Grenadiers’ representative to the River States Conference Champions of Character Team.

On the softball field, where the Grenadiers finished 24-14 (14-4 RSC), she played more of a utility role, her primary positions being catcher, first base and right field, as well as often being used as a pinch-hitter late in games. In 32 games played as a junior, she finished with a slash line of .296/.329/.549, hitting seven doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI and four stolen bases in four attempts.

As Krueger enters her final season for both teams, she will be looked upon to provide leadership, especially to the freshmen class that is coming into both sports. Aside from the team goals that both teams will have for this year, she has two goals of her own.

“My biggest goal honestly is just to enjoy these last two seasons,” she said. “With that being said, I want to also compete at my highest level possible and give it all that I can, because I know that I’m not going to get this opportunity anymore after this year.”