Bulldog softball team will rely on experienced pitching, aggressive play

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Members of the MFL MarMar softball team include (front, left to right) Katelyn Gerndt, Garnett Niedziejko, Ayla Gerndt; (middle) Kaitlin Picha, Emily Hendrickson-Troester, Abby Schellhorn, Kaylee Walch, Morgan Jacobson; (back) Jordyn Jones, assistant coach Hannah Schutte, Lauren Haberichter, Savannah Schaller, Abby Koslowski, Mackenzy Ruff, Autumn Shaw, Lauren Kishman, head coach Jennifer Pintz and Ashley Shaw. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

A familiar face is back at the helm of the MFL MarMac softball team. Jennifer Pintz, who coached the Bulldogs from 2013 to 2015, takes over this season.

 

“I’m originally from the area and wanted to move back closer to my family,” shared Pintz. “I also wanted to get back into coaching, and this just happened to open up.”

 

She’s joined by first-year assistant Hannah Schutte, an all-conference first baseman who played under Pintz during her eighth grade season at MFL MarMac.

 

“I’m very excited,” said Pintz. “I know her work ethic and that she is like minded, as far as being aggressive.”

 

The Bulldogs will be experienced on the mound, returning junior Lauren Haberichter, an all-conference pitcher a season ago. Haberichter has been preparing for her role throughout the off season, playing fall ball and working with a pitching coach. 

 

“One of her goals is to pitch 60 mph, and she’s really close. I think she’s upper 50s, maybe 58 right now,” said Pintz. “She’s also got the confidence on the mound. We’ve been working on some extra pitches. She’s got a drop ball she’s going to be working in, as well as a new change. I expect big things.”

 

Mackenzy Ruff, one of the team’s two seniors, will also get some innings on the mound. She’ll be the anchor at first base outside that.

 

The other MFL MarMac senior, Abby Koslowski, will be behind the plate. 

 

“Having Abby behind the plate is a huge advantage. As a senior, she’s really owning the show and guiding everybody,” Pintz said. “She’s going on to play college ball.”

 

Rounding out the infield will be junior Abby Schellhorn at second base and sophomores Lauren Kishman and Ashley Shaw at shortstop and third base, respectively. Other key returners are sophomore Savannah Schaller and freshman Kaitlin Picha, who Pintz said will patrol the outfield.

 

“We lost a good core last year, some key players, but we have a lot of up and coming younger kids. Because we have those holes to fill, we’re going to be trying to find the best fit of who’s going to play where. We have a couple freshmen and eighth graders who are going to be looking to fill some of those spots,” Pintz remarked, referencing Kaylee Walch, Autumn Shaw and Garnett Niedziejko.

 

According to Pintz, hitting will be one of MFL MarMac’s advantages. She coaches an aggressive style of play, and the team will largely focus on small ball.

 

“The girls have really been soaking in information,” she said. “We’ve come a long way from open gym to where we are now. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in game situations.”

 

Because many of the girls are playing different positions this season, Pintz said defense will be a constant focus. 

 

“We’ve got a lot of young kids or kids who didn’t get to play because there wasn’t a JV team last year,” she noted. “We’ll also be working on knowledge of the game, knowing situations and thinking two steps ahead of what you’re doing in that moment.”

 

The biggest goal this season is to work on getting better each day.

 

“It doesn’t have to be big things,” Pintz said. “I told the girls, ‘This is your team. This is what you want it to be.’ We want to be the best team we can be when playoffs roll around.”

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