Athlete of the week: Christina Hajder, Rogers, softball: Big Sky
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Away from softball, Christina Hajder is a Big Sky kind of girl whose favorite place is Montana, favorite entertainment is rodeo and favorite pastime is fishing. She favors cowboy hats and boots, and her summer teammates gave her the nickname “Rodeo.”
Hajder doesn’t do bronc busting or bull riding herself but throws herself into softball with equal gusto as a year-round player. She was a four-year starter for the Rogers Royals at pitcher and catcher, making all-conference three times and all-section twice. Her current summer team is the CA Heat, whom she helped win a state title last summer.
“I just love softball and I’m always very determined when I play,” said Hajder, a 2012 graduate, currently hitting well over .300 for the Heat while working at Hardee’s and looking forward to starting college at Anoka-Ramsey.
Coach Dan Ohlgren’s short description of Hajder is “workhorse.” He elaborates: “She doesn’t quit. She is very competitive. She is a strong kid physically.”
In RHS’s nine-year softball history, Hajder ranks third with 43 RBI and second with 21 doubles, while hitting .303 (80-for-264) with a .424 slugging percentage. On the mound, she ranks second with 27 career wins, third with 358 strikeouts, second with 398 innings and third with a 2.72 ERA.
The 5-foot-4 righthander led the team in RBI the last two years while handling most of the pitching. She hit .371 with 18 RBI as a senior while posting an 11-8 record, 95 strikeouts and a 3.52 ERA for an 11-10 team. As a junior, Hajder was team MVP, hitting .342 with three homers and 15 RBI, while compiling a 7-10 mound record for a 7-14 team.
Career highlights with the Royals are a two-homer game against St. Cloud Tech and a pitching gem she lost, 1-0 in 11 innings against Buffalo, both her junior year. Her summer gem was last year’s state tourney where she hit over .700 in seven games including a game-winning, two-run single in the finals.
Ohlgren praises his cleanup hitter as an aggressive, yet controlled, player: “She is a pull hitter who swings the bat really hard, but she struck out only twice all year.”
On the mound, her staples are a screwball that breaks in late on the righthanded hitter, and a riser that cuts upward and induces lots of pop field. “I rely on my screwball more for the meat of the order,” said Hajder.
Despite pitching 398 innings for RHS, Hajder says her favorite spot is catching. “I like calling the pitches and throwing girls out. I enjoy getting to know my pitchers’ strengths. It’s fun being able to do both.”
Added Ohlgren: “She’s got a real strong arm and quick throw down to second, and would have been great as a catcher if she wasn’t our main pitcher.” In her lone year at as mainly a catcher she threw out nine of 21 base-stealers.
Hajder started at age 5 and 6 with a boys’ baseball team. She made a grade 3-4 traveling team as a second-grader, starting at catcher. She played with the Northwest Diamonds, Chaos (winning Northern Nationals in 2010), then the CA Heat.
Hajder is undecided about college softball. Her primary goal now, she said, is to become a nurse.
THE HAJDER SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents, Anthony and Jeanae; brother, Nathan, 16 … Other activities: choir two years … Academics: A’s and B’s … College plans: probably Anoka-Ramsey … Ambition: nursing
Favorite stuff —Class: math, photo, German … TV show: “Pretty Little Liars” … Movie: “Fast Five” … Music: country, especially Kenny Chesney … Reading: Seventeen magazine, “The Diary of Anne Frank” … Team: Twins … Athlete: Joe Mauer … Kickback: fishing, photography, watching rodeos … Would like to visit: Montana (“been there before, would love to live there.”)