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The Legion Post 15 team greets Max Bentley after his three-run homer tied the game in the bottom of the second inning Tuesday against Morris.

Young Laker softball learned on the job

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sports Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Signs of youth peppered around the Detroit Lakes softball lineup were evident during the 2009 season, but hints of progression were apparent also, as the Lakers finished the year with a 9-13 record.

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The growing pains showed through the defense -- where errors led to some long innings -- but through those dips, improvement could be seen.

"With inexperience comes some mental lapses," said DL head coach Phil Kirchner. "We had a tough time fielding the ball, but it was a maturation process this season."

Some of that maturity could be seen in DL's biggest win of the season, in the first round of the playoffs.

The No. 5 seeded Lakers upended the No. 3 Roseau Rams on their own turf to advance to the double elimination portion of the playoffs.

Timely hits and a solid defense, along with good pitching, were all put together for the victory.

That win could be seen as an apex and something to build on for the future, as the Lakers will be bringing back more experience for the 2010 season.

"We'll have six to seven players back who saw plenty of time on varsity," Kirchner said.

But the Lakers won't be without their holes, as three seniors finished up their prep careers.

Team MVP, senior third baseman Sarah Wilson was the team's lone Mid-State All-Conference player, with a batting average of .407 and eight RBIs.

Along with two-year starter at first base Ashley Baer and outfielder Kasey Smith, there will be key losses.

The Lakers do return some good offense in team-leading hitter Amalea Branden, who finished with a .408 batting average and a team-high 18 RBIs.

The pitching and catching connection will also be back next year, as starting pitcher, junior Callea Butz and sophomore Cady Cartmell each will have the same solid target behind the plate in freshman Brianna Seebold.

Butz was her solid self on the mound, recording a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 110-46, while finishing the season with a 3.80 ERA.

Cartmell filled in well, with 49 strikeouts, and will provide valuable depth.

"Pitching is a lot of mental (stress), and both Callea and Cady just need to fight through that and throw strikes," Kirchner said. "They will split their time next year and hopefully will push each other and make each other better."

The Lakers also had a couple of breakout players in junior shortstop Shayna Dugger (.328 and 11 RBIs) and second baseman Donna Wicker (.319 and 15 runs scored), to anchor their infield.

"We'll have seven seniors next year to rely on, so that will be nice," Kirchner said.

There are still openings for the DL Softball Camp, which is June 16-17 for grades 3-6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Snappy Park.

DL softball coaches and players will be the camp instructors.

Cost is $20, which includes a T-shirt and lunch on both days. Deadline for registration is June 1.

For more information, contact Kirchner at 846-0613 or 841-0157.

Laker results

The 2009 Detroit Lakes softball season stats -- Record -- 9-13.

Offensive stats (bat avg-hits-runs-rbi): Ashley Baer .240-12-7-8; Haley Baer .250-1-4-0; Amalea Branden .408-20-10-18; Shayna Dugger .328-19-11-11; Jalen Even .118-6-7-2; Kortney Goettel .429-6-1-2; Stephanie Ianairo .400-4-1-3; Lauren Johnson .214-3-5-2; Jenna Lamb .250-10-4-0; Ali Olds .200-7-7-4; Brianna Seebold .325-13-3-5; Kasey Smith .173-9-8-3; Donna Wicker .319-15-15-1; Sarah Wilson .407-24-8-8; Amanda Young .167-1-2-0. Team: .277-150-98-67.

Pitching stats (ip-bb-k-era-w-l): Callea Butz 83-46-110-3.80-6-8; Cady Cartmell 42-49-43-7.50-3-5.

Mid-State All-Conference: Sarah Wilson.

Team awards -- Golden Glove: Brianna Seebold (catcher, .982 fielding percentage)...Hardest Worker: Callea Butz (pitcher)...Most Dedicated: Butz and Shayna Dugger (shortstop)...Most Improved: Donna Wicker and Ashley Baer...Laker Coach Award: Jalen Even...Batting Champ (minimum 40 at-bats): Amalea Branden (.408)...Offensive MVP: Sarah Wilson and Amalea Branden...Most Valuable Player: Sarah Wilson...2010 captains: Callea Butz, Shayna Dugger, Jalen Even.

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