Katie Boettger, center, works with Minneota-Canby varsity pitchers Brooklyn Nelson, left, and Sydney Larson, right, in the gym on Monday.

More than just a coach

•Boettger volunteers time to work with pitchers

Despite volunteering to work with the Minneota softball pitchers this spring, Katie Boettger does not feel like a coach, nor does she have aspirations of being a coach.

“I honestly never thought of myself being a coach,” said Boettger.

“I still don’t feel like a coach. I feel more like a friend to these girls as they have accepted me in with open arms since day one.”

Boettger, formerly Katie Hutt, was a high school pitcher for Dawson-Boyd, graduating there in 2012.

“I started pitching and playing softball in second grade when it was offered through Dawson’s Summer Rec program,” she said.

“In high school, I played tennis in the fall, was on the danceline team in the winter, and played softball in the spring.” Boettger and her husband, Matt, will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary on May 5.

Katie works for Universal Forest Products in Minneota as the Internal Sales Coordinator and Office Administrator. Matt is a Sheriff’s Deputy for Lyon County.

“My husband and I moved to Minneota last April,” Boettger said. “We were living in Marshall for three years before we moved to Minneota because growing up in a small town, I always wanted to end up in a small community.”

“My husband also enjoys the smaller community atmosphere. Another reason we moved is because I started working for UFP and living in Minneota makes it easier so I don’t have to commute to work.”

So Boettger checked at the school to inquire as to whether or not the softball team would be interested in her volunteer services as a pitching coach.

“I never intended to start helping for the pay, nor do I expect to get paid,” she said. “My main priority is to help the girls. “I didn’t get help as a pitcher by a pitching coach until I was in junior high. I loved my pitching coach as he helped me grow as a pitcher and was a very positive person. I want to be that type of coach for these girls, too.”

Head Coach Heidi Boerboom has given Boettger control of what the pitchers do at practice. “She has been such an incredible piece in this puzzle,” Boerboom said.

“We all love her. She knows her stuff and really has a great way of connecting to all of the girls. We hope to keep her involved for years to come.”

Because Boettger’s work schedule is different than if she was working at the school, she isn’t able to be at the start of softball practice. “My bosses have been very kind in making it work for me to be a part of the coaching staff,” Boettger said.

“I will be assisting at all of the home games this season. I will travel to a few of the away games when I am able, such as the Dawson-Boyd game on April 23, of course.”

Boettger is also working with the catchers. “I also help Heidi, Becca (Kallhoff, the JV coach), and Heather (Anderson, the Jr. High coach) during practices with other drills and activities,” Boettger noted.

“Heidi also has me pitch live to the girls when it is possible.” Boettger feels she can look at the pitching styles of each the team’s hurlers and offer some assistance in order to make them a better pitcher.

“Having someone watch each girl individually as they pitch helps them immensely,” said Boettger. “You can catch errors in their form or make suggestions during practice.”

“It gets frustrating when you cannot pitch exactly how you want to, but you also cannot figure out what mistakes you are making. Having another set of eyes helps.”

It’s obvious Boettger loves being involved in softball.

“Any time I can be involved with softball, whether it is helping as a pitching coach or playing co-ed softball in the summer, I am going to take advantage of the opportunity,” she said.

“We all have a blast at every practice and it never ceases to amaze me how supportive these girls are of one another. I am so happy I reached out to Heidi before the season started because I have loved every minute of being a pitching coach. I can’t wait to see what this season brings as our team has a lot of potential this year.”

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