NEW ULM - The pitching/catching battery of the Minnesota Valley Lutheran softball team is getting "re-Charger-d" for 2014.
After a four-year stint for Carlie Maasz as MVL's starting pitcher, the void on the mound will be filled by senior Karissa Schlottman, who will find a three-year starter in senior Charlotte Pfingsten behind the plate calling the game.
But this is not a work in progress. While Maasz was pitching last year, Schlottman used her position at shortstop to familiarize herself with her new battery mate.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran senior Charlotte Pfingsten will be a leader this year for the Chargers.
"I move over a little bit to see what Charlotte was calling," Schlottman said. "I kind of expected the switch [to pitcher]."
So playing shortstop helped with the transition.
"I feel good so far," Schlottman said. "I've always had a fastball and a curve, but I've been working on a drop ball because it can be effective."
While the regular battery is set, MVL coach Dave Biedenbender is still evaluating the other pieces of the MVL lineup and trying to plan for a future without Pfingsten.
"It'll be different not having Carlie, but Karissa has beeen steady for us," Biedenbender said. "We're going to have some different people in the infield positions. We've got some things to figure out yet."
Meanwhile, Pfingsten doesn't see that much adjustment to Schlottman's throwing.
"We're good friends," Pfingsten said. "I've caught for Karissa a lot and I'll be calling the games."
Pfingsten has also seen a number of MVL teams and likes what she sees in this year's squad.
"I think we'll be a good hitting team and our defense looks better," Pfingsten said. "We want to be over .500."
Pfingsten led the MVL starters last year with a .479 batting average and 23 hits and figures to be their leadoff hitter again.
"I like leading off, I like stealing bases," Pfingsten said. "I've never been nervous being a leadoff hitter. My hitting has gotten better over the years and I'm stronger and bigger."
Aside from Pfingsten and Schlottman, Biedenbender said he doesn't much else set as of yet.
"We'll have Charlotte playing some infield and we'll have junior Mary Kate Santelman doing some of the catching," Biedenbender said. "We'll have some different people at shortstop, with junior Nicole Rieger at first base. Shelby Hammerschmidt and Molly Maasz will be two of the outfielders, I don't know who the third outfielder will be yet. And, the left side of the infield is still to be determined. We have some juniors to fill spots. Overall, a good goal for us is to be .500, realistically."
MVL begins its season against Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at home.