Accomplishments: Danielle Pfenning made adjustments at home plate at the right time for her Lodi High softball teammates last week.
In the Flames’ Tri-City Athletic League opener at Lincoln on March 14, Pfenning came out swinging in the team’s huge 13-5 win over the Trojans. The pitcher/first baseman, who has started on the varsity squad all four years, went 5-for-5 that included a home run, two doubles, four RBIs and scored twice. The win was huge for Lodi, which defeated Lincoln two of three times in TCAL action last spring. The Flames are 1-0 in the TCAL and 4-0 overall.
“Before I was in a little bit of a slump in pre-season games,” Pfenning said. “They (Lincoln) had some faster pitching, so I was able to hit it better.”
Starting the game in the circle, Pfenning went five innings for a complete-game one-hitter. She allowed only two runs — one earned — and yielded four walks.
This season, Pfenning is batting .571 — 8 for 14 — and 10 RBIs. She also has three doubles and is one of three Lodi players who has belted a home run; Marissa Fabian and Andrea Lira have two and one, respectively.
From the pitching side, Pfenning is 3-0 with 14 strikeouts. She is one of the Flames’ three pitchers this season; junior Ashlee Toy and sophomore Johnna Schroeder are the other two.
Pfenning is one of five seniors on this year’s team; Fabian, infielders/outfielders Madison Faul and Harlie Litton and catcher/outfielder Haley Price are the others.
The group has a taste of success in their mouths; last spring, Lodi went 10-5 in the TCAL for a second place finish. Lodi advanced to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. The Flames beat Atwater in the first round, before Bella Vista of Fair Oaks, which lost to St. Mary’s in the section’s title game, escaped with a 9-6 win. Lodi has made the playoffs two of the last three seasons.
“I think our team, this year, is coming on strong,” Pfenning said. “I think we’re going to go pretty far. I think we’re going to win quite a bit.”
One of perks for this spring’s squad is that the 12-players on the Flames’ roster can play more than one spot on defense. That could be one of the benefits for Lodi, which it and the rest of the league have to take on defending champion Tracy.
“I know that Tracy is going to be our biggest competitor,” Pfenning said.
When the Flames’ high school softball season ends later this spring, Pfenning will be done wearing a Lodi uniform, but not with the game of softball.
This summer, she plans to attend Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, where she plans to major in education in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. She will also be pitching for the college’s softball team. Pfenning has already discussions with Cosumnes River College softball coach Kristy Schroeder.
“I can tell that she’s really going to be a great coach,” said Pfenning of Schroeder.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.