Some big offensive numbers will be absent out of the Detroit Lakes softball lineup, but Laker head coach Phil Kirchner believes those holes can be filled to keep the team near the top of the section.
The Lakers boasted batting averages over .400 with plenty of power last year, as they played to the Section 8-2A championship game, before losing to Hawley.
With the graduated seniors now gone in Brianna Seebold, Amanda Young and All-State second baseman Laurenn Johnson, there are several young Lakers looking for their chance to produce.
“We lost some big bats, but we still have some good power returning and we will still take advantage of our speed,” Kirchner said.
The batting order will be led off by senior shortstop Kathryn Kinney, who was batting near the .400 mark last year, while anchoring down the infield with good lateral speed and a solid glove.
Senior first baseman Sadie Larson also has some pop in her bat, along with returners junior outfielder Brooke Olson and sophomore catcher Emily Seebold.
“Our strength will still be our hitting, but out big key will be our defense,” Kirchner said. “We need to play good defense to give us a chance in each game. We’ll have a new third and second baseman, so we’ll be a little green.
“I’m not looking for them to always make the spectacular play, but the routine ones.”
With Kinney and Larson securing the shortstop and first baseman positions, newcomers sophomore Carolyn Kinney and junior Llecenia Burnside will vie for playing time at third base.
Filling second base will be either junior Anya Butzer, Carolyn Kinney or freshman Kyra Vagle.
With Brianna Seebold departing her catching position she held for the last three years, her sister Emily Seebold will take over.
“Emily is a good blocker behind the plate and she calls a good game,” Kirchner said. “She’ll take care of her pitchers.”
In the outfield, Olson returns with experience, along with senior Hannah Ianiro, while Vagle, juniors Annika Anderson and Kylee Edwards will rotate in.
The Lakers will be secure at pitching, though, with sophomore Chaz Butz entering her third year as a starter.
“Chaz has been doing a good job throwing strikes and now she has more speed on her pitches,” Kirchner said. “Now she just has to figure out some better locations.”
Vagle will see some time on the mound, as well, after having strong performances last year on the junior varsity level.
Other pitchers who could see time include eighth grader Maycen Kirchner and freshman Emma Maguire.
The Lakers will play in Section 8-2A for one more year, before upping to Section 8-3A next year.
Kirchner sees the Lakers as one of the top two or three teams in the section this year.
“We have as good a chance to win it as anybody else,” the DL coach said. “But we need to play good defense, because Chaz will put the ball in play. We need to make the routine plays.”
The Lakers will open Saturday, April 13, when they host Thief River Falls and Bemidji, that is if the snow has all been eliminated by the sun.
The Lakers also will host Lake Park-Audubon April 15, Crosby-Ironton April 16 and will hold their DL Invitational Tournament April 20.
The 2013 Detroit Lakes softball schedule:
13 Thief River Falls and Bemidji
15 Lake Park-Audubon
16 Crosby-Ironton (DH)
20 DL Invitational Tournament
23 at Park Rapids (DH)
25 Staples-Motley (DH)
30 at Wadena-D.C. (DH)
2 Perham (DH)
4 at Hawley Tournament
7 at Pequot Lakes (DH)
10 at Hawley
17 at Thief River Falls (DH)