Softball Preview: Lakers head to Class 3A
There will be a little less room for error for the Detroit Lakes softball team, after they were bumped from Class 2A to Class 3A.
But the challenge has been accepted, with some good experience returning at key positions.
“It comes down to pitching and defense, if we can play those two well, we’ll be in every game,” said DL head coach Phil Kirchner.
Teams in Section 8-3A include Alexandria, Becker, Bemidji, Big Lake, Brainerd, Monticello, Moorhead, Sartell, Sauk Rapids-Rice, St. Cloud Apollo and St. Cloud Tech.
Junior Chaz Butz returns for her fourth year on the mound for the Lakers and she will be joined by sophomore Emma Maguire.
Both pitchers have shown to be consistent throwing strikes, while location and accuracy will also be key ingredients.
“Chaz throws strikes and hits her spots,” Kirchner said. “Both pitchers work hard and we’ll go with a rotation to start the season and see where it goes from there.”
The Lakers will have five seniors on the roster, while being bolstered by 15 juniors and some key sophomores.
The infield will be strong on the right, with senior first baseman Brooke Olson returning, along with second baseman junior Carolyn Kinney.
Sophomore Kyra Vagle will man third base after a Mid-State All-Conference season last year. Vagle will also see some time pitching, as well.
“Our only spot in the infield which will be inexperienced is shortstop, where freshman Emily Schiltz had a strong summer season,” Kirchner said. “She’s a good athlete and can handle it.”
Junior Emily Seebold returns at catcher, while freshman Macy Kirchner will also see time behind the plate.
There will be good competition in the outfield, with sophomore Haley Sonstegard, seniors Katie Colsen, Llecina Burnside, juniors Allison Dahring and Kennedy Erickson seeing time.
Junior Rachel Ianiro also returns in right field and freshman Sydney Prussia will also see time at first base.
“We have a lot of people who can play, with over 48 players out, so that’s a good problem to have,” Kirchner said.
The Lakers have been very proficient at the plate the last several years, hitting over the .300 mark as a team.
This season, there will be a good blend of speed and power, with Kinney being a solid lead-off hitter, followed by Vagle, Burnside, Seebold and Olson.
“We have good speed up top with Kinney and Vagle, while Burnside is one of our best hitters at the No. 3 spot,” Kirchner said. “Then we bring power with Seebold and Olson, along with Sonstegard, who can hit it out of the park.”
Other senior who will see time include Lindsey Baker and Alisha Kulzer, while Katherine Foltz will be manager.
Macy Kirchner will also be a strong outfielder, when not catching.
Overall, the challenge is much larger now that the Lakers will be the smallest school in Section 8-3A.
“But that’s no excuse, we still need to go out and compete and we will, if we can pitch and play defense well,” Kirchner said.
The Lakers will open the season at Bemidji April 11, for a triangular with the Lumberjacks and Thief River Falls.
The team is also selling $20 discount cards, which features local business deals.
All players and coaches are selling them, which is a fundraiser for the team.
Coaches include Kirchner and Tom Vagle on the varsity level, with Kace Franklin Brianna Barr, Kristina Borich and Jessica Pudwell on the younger levels.
Detroit Lakes softball 2014 schedule:
11 at Bemidji
22 Park Rapids
24 at Staples-Motley
26 DL Tournament
29 Wadena-Deer Creek
1 at Perham
6 Pequot Lakes
13 at Crosby-Ironton
15 at Thief River Falls
20 Section playoffs
22 Section playoffs