Butz to lead from the mound
Having a four-year starter on the mound should give the Detroit Lakes softball team a leg up in 2010.
Senior Callea Butz returns for her fourth year of starting duty on the mound, giving the Lakers a consistent hurler to hopefully key a deep section playoff run.
"Callea threw the majority of innings last year and she is improving every year," said DL head coach Phil Kirchner. "She has sound mechanics, as well as a good fastball, changeup and riser.
"The big goal this year is her location."
Butz had several games of posting 12 or more strikeouts, but that won't necessarily be the biggest part of her game.
"She won't blow people away with her fastball, but she has good control and finding her location during certain parts in the count will be important," the DL coach said.
Senior Cady Cartmell will also provide solid depth behind Butz.
"Cady has good speed on her pitches and a good changeup," Kirchner said. "We can throw Cady and Callea every other game if we need to."
The Lakers also have experience back behind the plate in sophomore Brianna Seebold, who caught the majority of games in 2009.
"Her arm is an asset and she's just a good athlete," Kirchner said. "She has figured out the game as a sophomore and will be in charge of the field."
Sophomore Jenna Lamb will back up Seebold.
At first base, Cartmell will see some action, as will sophomores Amanda Young, Courtney Maneval and Lauren Johnson, and freshman Sadie Larson.
"All those girls will be seeing time at either first or third base," Kirchner said. "We are pretty green at both positions."
But DL will be strong up the middle, with Seebold at catcher and seniors Donna Wicker and Shayna Dugger at second base and shortstop, respectively.
"Donna is a solid defensive player and has a good bat, and second-year player Shayna Dugger has a big stick and a good fielder," their coach said.
In the outfield, senior Jalen Even will take on center field duties, while senior teammate Amalea Branden and Lamb will each man left and right fields, respectively.
Juniors Stefany Ianiro and Mikalea Martin, along with senior Jessica Johnson, will all see time in the outfield, as well.
Lauren Johnson will act as the utility player, having the ability to play anywhere in the field.
Offensively, the Lakers will be led by some power and for-average hitters in Dugger, Seebold, Branden and Wicker.
"We do have a core of players who can hit consistently," Kirchner said. "Base running will be a key part of putting pressure on the defense."
But the season's success will come down to the effectiveness of the defense, Kirchner stated.
"We need sound defense," he said. "We don't necessarily need to make the extraordinary plays, but we need to make the routine plays.
"The name of the game will be defense."
The Lakers open the season at Bemidji Tuesday, April 13, for a 5 p.m. start, while the open home opener will be April 20 versus Perham at 4 p.m.
The DL Invitational will be Saturday, April 24, starting at 10 a.m. at Snappy Field.
Detroit Lakes softball 2010 schedule:
13 at Bemidji
16 at Thief River Falls
24 DL Invitational
27 at Crosby-Ironton
30 Pequot Lakes
4 at Staples-Motley
7 at Park Rapids
11 at Crookston
13 at Moorhead
18 Wadena-Deer Creek
20 Thief River Falls
25 Section quarterfinals
27 Section semifinals
29 Section finals.