OUR SOFTBALL STAFF

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University of Minnesota

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2017 - Present

ERIKA SMYTH

DIRECTOR OF SOFTBALL OPERATIONS

Head of Hitting & Fielding Instruction

Erika found her home at Starters Sports Training as a club coach and instructor upon our Softball Department's creation in 2017. She is currently our Director of Softball at Starters Sports Training and the Starters Softball Department. Erika has over a decade of coaching and instruction experience, four of those years being spent with Starters. She continues to coach the Minnesota Starters 18U - Smyth team and is the Head of Hitting & Fielding Instruction. Erika conducts hitting & fielding lessons, programs, camps and clinics at Starters Sports Training.

A Washington state native, Erika was recruited by former Gopher Softball Head Coach Jessica Allister, and signed her NLI to play softball at the University of Minnesota where she was a four-year letter winner. Erika was a part of the historic class of 2015 that took Gopher Softball to their first Regional appearance in 10 years in 2013, first Big Ten Championship in 15 years in 2014, and the Gophers' first ever Regional Championship and Super Regional appearance in history in 2014. She ended her career having started 110 games at second base and posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 2014. She is the first and only player in Gopher Softball history to win back-to-back Teammate of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015 – the only award voted on by the players. Erika graduated in 2015 with her Bachelors in Business and Marketing and was a three-time Academic All Big Ten Award winner. As a Minnesota Starters coach, Erika has coached her teams to various championships in our short existence. None bigger than the 2019 Colorado Sparkler Championship, the Nation's biggest youth softball tournament.

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University of Northern Iowa

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2019 - Present

BROOKE OTTERSTATTER

CLUB SOFTBALL COORDINATOR

Head of Pitching Instruction & Female Strength + Development

Brooke is an Iowa native, who graduated from Columbus Catholic High School in 2015. After high school Brooke attended the University of Northern Iowa where she was named a team captain for three of her four years. In her junior season, she appeared in 32 games in the circle, making 25 starts.  Set a career-high in innings with 155, more than her first two seasons combined.  Won 14 games while striking out 74 batters. Pitched 12 complete games, four of which were shutouts. Had a 2.98 era over the course of the season. Struck out a career-high nine batters against NCAT. Tossed a two-hit shutout against NCAT. Led the Panthers in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and complete games. During her senior season she appeared in 25 games in the circle for the Panthers. Pitching 69.2 innings going 5-4 with two saves. Threw seven innings in her second win of the season, walking two batters with three strikeouts..pitched three innings for her third victory of the season against Indiana State.  Recorded four innings in a 11-3 victory over Valparaiso. While at UNI, Brooke was introduced to a new pitching tool called Rapsodo. During her senior season, she worked with the program throughout the year where she was able to track her velocity, spin efficiency and overall help her continue to excel as a pitcher. 

Brooke has been with Starters for 2 years and has had her hand in coaching all age levels from 10U - 18U. She is the head of Pitching Instruction as well as all of Female Strength & Development.  Brooke is additionally our Club Softball Coordinator and handles all Minnesota Starters club softball day-to-day operations.

INSTRUCTORS + COACHES

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2020 - Present

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University of Minnesota - Duluth

HANNAH SCHMOLL

Hitting, Slapping & Outfield Instructor

Hannah graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 2014 playing softball, hockey, and soccer. After High School, she continued her collegiate softball career at the University of Minnesota Duluth majoring in Psychology and minor in Public Health Education and Promotions. She was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs with career batting average of 0.386, 150 career stolen bases. She found much success at UMD, being named: All-NSIC First Team (2015, 2018) All-NSIC Second Team (2016, 2017) All-Central Region team (2015, 2018), NSIC Gold Glove (2017,2018) 2018 Division II Collegiate Commissioners Association All-American second team (2018). She helped lead the Bulldogs to 2 NCAA tournament berths, 2018 helped the Bulldogs make the Super Regional tournament, the furthest a UMD team has ever been.

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2020 - Present

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Bemidji State University

COURTNEY O'CONNOR

Catching & Hitting Instructor

Courtney graduated from Shakopee High School in 2013.  While playing for Shakopee she received All-Conference Honorable mention and All-Conference Honors her junior and senior years.  After graduating in 2013, Courtney went on to play for Bemidji State University, where she was a four-year starter behind the plate.  While at Bemidji she was part of a program turn around from an 11-31 record her freshman year to a 28-19 record her senior year.  Courtney was on pace to break the program putout record before an injury ended her senior season early.  She also boasted a career fielding percentage of .981.  Courtney graduated from Bemidji with a degree in Exercise Science and a Coaching Certificate.  Courtney has been coaching girls fast pitch for 8 years, 3 of which were spent as a head coach.

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2020 - Present

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University of Connecticut

MARYBETH OLSON

Pitching & Hitting Instructor

Marybeth is a graduate of Chanhassen High School in 2017. In high school she was named captain of her basketball and softball teams, Gatorade Softball Player of the year, Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and a state champion. Marybeth is currently a senior at the University of Connecticut where she is continuing her softball career and pursuing a degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition. She has a 2.21 career ERA, 299 strikeouts in 266 innings pitched. She went 10-0 with a 1.46 ERA before COVID cut their season short. She has 2 career no-hitters and a career high of 14 strikeouts against #24 ranked JMU. Marybeth has 4 years of coaching club ball and is currently in year three with Starters.

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2020 - Present

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St. Olaf College

SARAH VANDENBERG

Club Softball Coach

Sarah, an Iowa native, attended St. Olaf College where she was a relief pitcher and four year letter winner in softball. After college, Sarah moved to Chicago for work and started coaching softball at the Latin School of Chicago in 2014. Under Sarah’s leadership, the team advanced to the first Regional Championship in ten years. Over her time at Latin, the team won the Regional Championship game three years. Sarah was named Conference Coach of the Year in 2018. In 2018 Sarah and her family relocated to Minnesota when she accepted a role in Risk and Internal Audit with Piper Sandler. Sarah was named head coach for Robbinsdale Cooper Varsity Softball in the fall of 2018. In addition to coaching at Cooper, Sarah runs pitching softball skills clinics and individual pitching lessons.

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2020 - Present

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St. Catherine University

KATE SAVAGE

Club Softball Coach

Kate is a native of southwest Minnesota where small-town sports were very important in her community. My passion for softball began very young and continues to be a part of my everyday life. Played second base all throughout high school, receiving All-Conference honors multiple times. I also briefly played at St. Kate's but my career was cut short (freshman year) due to injury. Currently the JV Coach at Robbinsdale Cooper High School and play in several slow-pitch recreational/competitive adult leagues around the Twin Cities. One of the reasons why I love softball is because the sport provides an opportunity to be active while learning life lessons that are applicable at any stage in life.

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2020 - Present

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Dakota County Tech

College

TOM CROSS

Club Softball Coach

Tom Cross took over as head coach of the Blue Knights women’s softball team in 2011. Cross has over twenty five years of Head College coaching experience. His teams have won over 300 games including conference, regional and district championships, and participation in a NAIA national tournament. In DCTC’s first two years at the NJCAA Division II level, Cross has lead the Blue Knights to back to back, 21-win seasons (2013 and 2014). Team honors in the last two years included 10 All Region players and DCTC’s First Softball All American Amada Orrell, named in 2014. Cross was named NJCAA Region 13 Coach of The Year in 2013.

“TC” previously was the head coach at Concordia St. Paul and Macalester College. At Concordia he holds the most wins of any softball coach in school history. At Macalester, his team twice received the honor of “Best GPA” of all NCAA DIII programs in the country. TC also serves as an Assistant Director of Student Life at DCTC, assistant football coach at Hastings High School, and assistant girls basketball coach at Eagan High School.

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2020 - Present

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University of Wisconsin - Stout

TIM HOLZHUETER

Club Softball Coach, Youth Hitting Instructor

Starters 12U Head Coach Tim Holzhueter has been a teacher for 25 years and he lives in Shakopee with his wife and 3 daughters. He has head coached many girls softball teams over the last 9 years that have ranged in age from the youngest level of in-house softball all the way up to high school aged players.  He was on a legion baseball state championship team in high school and then played 4 years of college baseball at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  He was recognized as an All-Conference outfielder his junior and senior years and as an All-American his senior year.  Tim also played amateur baseball in Minnesota for 25 years. Tim has volunteered many hours of his time for the softball community in Shakopee, spending 3 years serving as the Travel Director for the Shakopee Girls Softball Association and their Stealth club softball program, serving as SGSA vice president for 2 years, and helping run countless youth clinics and open gyms.   He has 2 daughters that currently play softball:  Reese is 17 years old and plays on MN Starters Smyth 18U team.  Reese is committed to playing division 2 softball at the University of Sioux Falls as a catcher/outfielder in the fall of 2021.  Bren is 12 years old and will be playing on the 12U Starters team.

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2020 - Present

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Bemidji State University

ASHLEY HEROLD

Club Softball Coach & Hitting Instructor

Ashley is a Shakopee High School graduate. She was a four time letter winner in both softball and basketball. Ashley is currently in her second year at Bemidji State. One of four Beavers to appear in all 22 games before the 2020 season was shortened due to COVID-19... Posted a .200 batting average with 10 hits in 50 at-bats... Recorded two doubles, six RBI and scored seven runs... Stole one base... Led the team with 136 putouts and posted a .986 fielding percentage.

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2020 - Present

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University of Minnesota - Duluth

KATE MOHR

Club Softball Coach, Catching & Hitting Instructor

Kate is from Farmington, Minnesota where she attended Farmington High School and played in the South Suburban conference. In high school Kate played both basketball and softball. She is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is pursuing a career in biology while continuing to play softball for the Bulldogs. Kate is a catcher, outfielder or a corner. Not only does Kate enjoy the physical aspect of the game, but she is passionate about the mental side as well.

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2020 - Present

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University of Minnesota - Duluth

JULIA GRONHOLZ

Club Softball Coach & Hitting Instructor

Julia is from Victoria, Minnesota and was a 2020 Chanhassen graduate. Upon graduating from Chanhassen, Julia has decided to pursue a degree in Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has also decided to continue her softball career for the Bulldogs as an infielder/utility player.

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2020 - Present

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University of St. Thomas

KENZIE MILLER

Club Softball Coach & Hitting Instructor

Kenzie is originally from Chanhassen, Minnesota. She attended Chanhassen high school and graduated in the spring of 2020. Kenzie has decided to continue her academic and softball career as an outfielder at the University of St. Thomas. While at St. Thomas, Kenzie plans on getting a degree in biology.

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2020 - Present

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University of Minnesota - Duluth

ROB SCHULTE

Club Softball Coach

Rob has been coaching youth and club softball for 10 years. He has coached teams from 10U through 16U as well as running, hitting, and fielding clinics over the last several winters. He has had experience running a club organization and understands the intricacies of making teams better. Rob has two daughters, Kaytlynne and Erykka, who have been in the Starters organization since the beginning. Kaytlynne is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota - Duluth and Erykka, who is a senior at Osseo High School. Both Kaytlynne and Erykka are working alongside Rob coaching our 13U team.

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2020 - Present

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University of Minnesota - Duluth

KAYTLYNNE SCHULTE

Club Softball Coach

Kaytlynne graduated from Osseo Senior High School in the spring of 2020. She excelled both in the classroom and on the softball field. She graduated with a 4.01 gpa and was on the varsity team since her freshman year. Kaytlynne is a veteran of Starters - she has been with the program since its formation. She is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota Duluth where she is studying Mechanical Engineering and continuing her softball career. When Kaytlynne is not coaching, she is playing on our 18U Smyth team.

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2020 - Present

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University of Sioux Falls

REESE HOLZHUETER

Club Softball Coach, Catching & Hitting Instructor

Reese is a Shakopee native who currently attends Shakopee High School. She has played for Starters since 2018 and is currently on the 18U Smyth team where she catches and plays outfield. Reese has recently signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her education and softball career at the University of Sioux Falls and will begin in the fall of 2021.