Catcher Pantzlaff displayed poise early on for Mishicot

Catcher Pantzlaff displayed poise early on for Mishicot


Catcher Pantzlaff displayed poise early on for Mishicot


Mishicot catcher Amber Pantzlaff is this week’s HTR Media Senior Spotlight.

Mishicot catcher Amber Pantzlaff is this week’s HTR Media Senior Spotlight.

For the majority of her career, Amber Pantzlaff has been a rock for the Mishicot softball team.

She’s been a starter on varsity, her first year as a third baseman and the last three at catcher, from the moment she stepped out on the field.

Pantzlaff has also been a team captain since her sophomore year when then first-year Mishicot coach Dawn Krueger saw something special in her.

“From her work ethic. if you came into my practice you wouldn’t have thought she was a sophomore,” Krueger said. “Just by her leadership ability, just by how hard she worked. Her skill level. She’s a very talented young lady.”

It was a new experience for Pantzlaff, but not one she ran away from.

“It was a little scary,” Pantzlaff said of starting as just a freshman. She was also nervous about being made a team captain the very next season. “It was scary but I knew I had to step up and be a leader so once I knew the other girls would look up to me even as a sophomore it kind of hit it home.”

Krueger also said Pantzlaff fit the perfect mold of what she was looking for in a catcher.

“She was smart, she has a very good, strong arm,” Krueger said. “I needed someone I could rely on, I could trust, that would be a vocal leader on the field. She fit that.”

Over the course of her career Pantzlaff has developed from a soft-spoken leader into one who isn’t afraid to — jokingly — throw a practice ball at a teammates head if the situation warrants.

“I wasn’t always the most vocal leader when I was younger,” Pantzlaff said. “I led more by example, but since I’ve become a captain I’ve become more vocal too.”

Krueger couldn’t ask for a better player to lead her team.

“It’s wonderful. She’s a true leader,” Krueger said. “She’s a leader through her play on the field, through her conduct in the classroom and in the hallways at school. And just with her teammates, she pushes them and she’s just a great role model.”

Pantzlaff relishes the role her joke puts her in.

“I like being the leader, the pressure. I like to take the leaderships role.”

It’s not just Krueger who has been blown away by Pantzlaff’s poise.

“The girls trust her, they respect her,” Krueger said. “They want to work hard to please her because they have that confidence in her. She’s a key reason why we did so well last year.”

Last season Mishicot reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history, something that has been a driving force for Pantzlaff all offseason.

“It was definitely bittersweet, getting so close and coming up short but it definitely puts a fire underneath you to get back,” Pantzlaff said.

Pantzlaff’s desire to get retribution at State has rubbed off on her teammates according to Krueger.

“They know she’s worked hard to be where she’s at,” Krueger said of the time Pantzlaff has put in over the last four seasons to succeed. “They don’t want to disappoint her. She’s seen success and they want to continue with that.”

Pantzlaff isn’t oblivious to how her teammates feel about her.

“They definitely rely on me to be a vocal leader,” Pantzlaff said. “I like to be a leader by example, it’s important to me to have the actions and the words combined.

“I feel like it’s my job to keep everyone together. If we have a bunch of errors to take a timeout and calm them down. I feel like I’m good at calming them down.”

She thinks Mishicot being such a tight-knit community only adds to her role.

“With Mishicot being such a small school, it carries into the classroom and the rest of the school,” Pantzlaff said her her leadership.

Pantzlaff is also given more responsibility on the field due to her exceptional poise.

“A lot of teams the coach will call pitches. Every once in a while coach Krueger will call them but I’m the main one calling them,” Pantzlaff said. “It’s important for me to know the count, know the batters. Extra pressure on me to make everything right.”

Putting Pantzlaff in control of the pitching staff has been in the works for two seasons now.

“Last year we worked together,” Krueger said. “She’ll still look at me on occasion but I have confidence in her. That’s it, plain and simple. She does a good job.

“I tell her don’t be afraid. Talk to the pitcher if she’s in trouble. She’s definitely not afraid to take charge.”

For the meantime, Krueger is going to enjoy her senior standout while she can.

“She is where she’s at because of her hard work and I hope to watch her play softball in college in the future.”


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