In the game of softball there is no more important position on the field than pitcher.
Unlike baseball where they use a rotation of pitchers, softball teams usually depend on one dominant hurler to carry them through the season.
However, the Pleasant Valley Bears softball team will be doing things a little differently than most softball squads in the pitching department. The Lady Bears three-person rotation of Diane Klapatch, Hayli Marini, and Rikki Correll will all be taking the mound for Pleasant Valley an advantage that head coach Steve Caffrey is more than happy to have heading into the start of the 2012 schedule.
"I've had two strong pitchers before, but never three," said Caffrey. "It's really going to throw teams off their game because each one of them brings a different pitching style to the table. It's hard to prepare for just one girl like teams usually would have to when you have three girls that can go out there and give you a strong effort on any given day."
In baseball, a rotation style is used because of the strain pitching puts on an athletes' arm from the over hand throwing motion. Softball, on the other hand, uses an underhand whipping motion that is easier on the elbow and shoulder so that's why most teams go with one dominant pitcher that they know will give them solid outings every time they take the field.
Also in most instances when pitchers are not pitching, they might not be as productive in the field at other positions. That is certainly not the case with the Lady Bears.
"Having these three girls really puts us in a nice position as a team," said Caffrey. "They're all good pitchers, but they can all play the field as well and will when they're not pitching. It's just a really fortunate situation to be in as a coach."
Last season the Lady Bears were more than successful winning the Mountain Valley Conference Championship and losing to Easton in the District 11 final. They accomplished those feats with Marini and Correll doing most of the pitching because Klapatch was hampered most of the year with an injury.
With Klapatch returning this season, confidence is running high for the Lady Bears to make another run at the MVC and District 11 Championships.
"All of us feel real confident heading into the season," said Correll. "With the three of us all back together it takes a lot of pressure off just one girl because we're all here this year. We're excited to get out there and start playing."
"I'm really excited to be back playing," said Klapatch. "I feel it makes us stronger as a team and pitching wise it really helps us. We all have different strengths when it come to pitching with Hayli and I being right handed and Rikki being a lefty it will give teams a different look everytime we go out on the field."
With all three of the girls always being on the field for the Lady Bears, Pleasant Valley's big three also have a distinct advantage in the fact that each one can offer advice to the other when things maybe aren't going their way on the mound a point all three ladies were excited about for the upcoming season.
"When one of us isn't doing well then another one of us will help out," said Marini. "We can also talk out there to see what's going on and maybe offer a different view point on how to change things up. It helps that all three of us pitch differently because then one of us can maybe see something that whoever is pitching at the time can't."
All the pieces seem to be in place for another stellar year for the Lady Bears softball team and coach Steve Caffrey, like every season in Broadheadville, has high expectations for his ball club.
"We always set high goals for ourselves," said Caffrey. "We always want to be in the MVC Finals and we also want to make another run at the District 11 Championship."