by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor
Brianna Schaefer was pretty happy to hear her new softball coach at Sheboygan South was going to be Kelly Dohse.
“I actually went to her classroom, ran up to her and hugged her because she deserved that position,” she said. “She knew (she got the job) already but didn’t know we were all excited to have her as coach.”
Dohse has never been a head coach before. But she played at Wilmot, was a softball manager at St. Norbert College and has been an assistant coach the last six years for the Redwings.
“She’s played it, been around it a long time, has known the sport of softball since she’s was little,” Schaefer said. “She knows all the stuff we need to be taught.”
Dohse replaces Darren Weimann, but he stepped down after last season after his daughter, Ashley, graduated.
Senior Helen Flynn, on her fourth season on varsity, was also coached by Weimann in middle school but the team seemed to have an inkling he would be leaving.
“I was definitely disappointed because I had been with him for so long, but I was also very excited to find out that Coach Dohse would be taking his position,” she said.
South finished 2-21 last season, including 1-17 in the Fox River Classic Conference and returns two starters in Flynn and Schaefer.
Schaefer, a sophomore first baseman and third baseman, was on varsity last year and liked how Dohse was always very energetic.
“She would hype us up a lot, keep us going,” Schaefer said. “Last year was a pretty tough season. When we started losing, she helped us get our heads back in the game.”
Being the varsity assistant the last four years, Dohse says it helps to be familiar with the program.
“Knowing what I have, knowing who I’m working with and just being a presence in the program has definitely kind of helped the transition,” she said. “Also in my four years on varsity, I started to implement more of my drills and philosophies in relation to what we were already doing as a program. So it just makes the transition a lot easier for everyone.”
Flynn, a utility player, likes how her new coach has been enforcing the overall program, not just the varsity squad.
For example, the freshmen and junior varsity teams will practice with the varsity at times. The Redwings are divided into small groups that consist of players from all grade levels to work on various drills.
“So we’re all working together and learning from each other versus separating to JV or varsity levels,” Flynn said.
“It makes the younger girls strive to reach that varsity level, and it kind of checks everyone on varsity to say we need to pay attention to the basics, the fundamentals, because it’s all important, and not everyone knows it.
“So let’s pass on our knowledge and try to bring everyone up to that level.”
Another thing that impresses Flynn is how Dohse expects her players to be good on and off the softball diamond.
“She has these standards of sportsmanship and how we hold ourselves in the community,” she said. “I respect that about her, that she cares more about us than just the game.”
North lowdown: The Golden Raiders finished sixth in the conference last year with an 8-10 record and was 9-14 overall.
Senior pitcher Talia Lackershire returns after making all-FRCC honorable mention a year ago. But first-team all-conference outfielder Lauren Spaulding and second team infielder Lauren Hamman graduated.
Lutheran lowdown: The school will not have a varsity team for the first time in at least 18 years, according to athletic director Al Holzheimer.