By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 17, 2002
A month ago, the 18-and-under Clearwater Bombers were in a pinch.
You don't want to face a summer of club softball with one good arm, but that's what the Bombers were about to do, as Dani Hofer (Palm Harbor U.) was the only pitcher available.
But with the biggest tournament of the summer, the Pony League nationals, two weeks away, coach Chuck Poetter is able to breathe easy again.
Thank you, Kiki Von Holt.
After her freshman year, Von Holt transferred from East Lake to River Ridge, and all she did was post a 14-2 record with a 0.71 ERA and lead the Royal Knights to the Class 4A state title game.
This month, the junior moved up from the 16-and-under Bombers and is already making an impact. Last week, the team traveled to Florence, S.C., for the nationally-competitive Hot Times Classic and was rained out of its losers bracket, but Von Holt picked up the team's lone win.
"Her dad called and said, 'We'd like to come play for you.' I said, 'Come on over,"' Poetter said. "We had our eyes on her before this season even started and were going to recruit her anyway.
"That's a credit to her, wanting to play with the older girls."
Now the Bombers have a tough 1-2 combination, as Hofer has excelled despite a heavy workload. She helped lead the team to two Independent Softball Association tournament titles earlier in the summer.
"She has absolutely been way more than we ever expected," Poetter said. "The more work she gets, the more she wants to work. Next year I think she's going to be one of the top pitchers in the state."
Hofer will be a sophomore, another good sign for the young Bombers squad. Only centerfielder Brandi Portalatin (PHU) graduated this year and will not return.
-- Club softball update will be published Wednesdays during the summer. Coaches with news are encouraged to call staff writer John Schwarb at 445-4170 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Tuesday.