A Colleyville Heritage softball player looks to one of the assistant coaches as a father figure, but that shouldn’t be too out of the ordinary.
Senior Madison Dettmer really got into softball in her freshman year and gives a lot of credit for her improvement to assistant coach, Jeremy Dettmer.
Yes, it’s her father who has helped her elevate her play to an extent that she earned her way onto the varsity squad a few years ago.
Now, the versatile player is hitting just below .500 during the early part of the district schedule, she said.
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Dettmer said she played T-ball when she was in kindergarten and for a few years after but fell away from the sport when her family moved from Iowa to Kansas. It wasn’t until Dettmer’s freshman year at Heritage that she decided to try it again.
“I was the one that initiated it,” she said about getting back into the sport again. “I wanted to be a part of it again.”
Dettmer said that she missed the team camaraderie and the ability to compete.
“When I started back in my freshman year, I was wary about it,” she said. “I’m not sure how much I enjoyed it. But I realized how much I missed it and how much I wanted to improve.”
She started out on varsity providing her skills as a savvy baserunner and has since been counted on as a designated hitter. Dettmer also plays catcher and second base. Her elbow injuries have curtailed her as a pitcher.
But the obvious concerns are not really an issue any longer.
“It’s tough being a coach’s kid,” Dettmer admitted. “There’s controversy about getting preferential treatment, but he treats me like any other player and I treat him like any other coach.
“There have been times when I forget and call him ‘Dad,’ but it’s handled like an everyday thing, now,” Dettmer said. “Nobody notices anymore, but there is a special pressure – feeling like you either have to be the best on the team or the worst. I guess I’m in the middle, talent-wise. I feel like I’m more a part of the team. I’ve earned my spot.”
Dettmer said her improvement since her freshman year has been more advanced in her hitting.
Spending time with his daughter on her hitting has paid off, as her batting average can attest to.
“I’m not the best fielder,” Dettmer admitted.
Dettmer said the best way to get her father to shake his head is to engage her tendency to overrun a fly ball.
“I have bad depth perception,” Dettmer said. “I’ve hit more with my dad and I can contribute the most to the team with my hitting.”
But Dettmer was quick to state two key adages well-engrained in her from her father.
“He always told me to be humble and don’t take opportunities for granted,” she said.
Coach Dettmer came to Heritage four years ago from South Grand Prairie – his daughter’s freshman year – at the same time Lady Panthers’ head coach Allison Connaway moved over from Haltom.
Now, the final season is closing on Dettmer’s high school career.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks when my dad mentioned we have just nine games left in the regular season,” Dettmer said. “I’m excited, but sad to move on. I’ve enjoyed my time.”
Dettmer will attend the University of Texas next year to begin work on a degree in linguistics and history.
Until then, though, Dettmer is happy to relish the remainder of her fourth year back in the sport she started at an early age.
And her father is reaping the benefits, too.
“He always told me it’s been a dream of his to coach his own kid,” Dettmer said of her father. “It’s been a huge motivating factor for me to improve. I want to make him proud.”