Her task will not be as daunting in her second head coaching stint as Dietrich has been named the new head softball coach at Cartersville High, taking over a program that went 16-13 in 2013 and reached the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
“This is a great opportunity for me down here — a lot of opportunities I didn’t have in New York, so I’m excited to be down here and to win,” Dietrich said. “The quality of play is much better. The talent down here, the passion for it, the girls from the community, the administration — everyone I’ve talked to has talked about how great the sports are here in Cartersville. I’m excited to be down here.
“It’s unbelievable just to walk around and see how many people support Cartersville, are wearing purple or have a flag in their yard.”
Dietrich was a standout at Monticello High during her playing days and was a four-year starter at second base for Division II East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. She led her team with a .340 batting average and hit five home runs her senior year en route to a school-record 29 wins.
She then went on to serve as the junior varsity softball coach for two years at Monticello before taking the head job in 2010.
In addition to her coaching duties, Dietrich will be a physical education teacher at Cartersville Elementary.
“She first called and had interest in the softball job, and when I was talking to her, she was very knowledgeable of the game and, in my opinion, how to proceed with the program that’s already been established,” Cartersville Athletic Director Darrell Demastus said of Dietrich. “I think what impressed me most is I called for some references. ... I called her athletic director for the [Monticello] system up there. He couldn’t do anything but say great things about her. I had people calling me, the Georgia Highlands softball coach called me and recommended her highly because she had coached camps with her in years past. So she’s not a stranger to Cartersville.
“When we met with her, it was very clear she knew what she was doing. I just thought she was a perfect fit for our program. She took a program in New York that had never been to a state playoff or anything of that nature before and carried them to a state playoff this year. She kind of put the high school in Monticello on the map for softball just in her short tenure as the head coach up there.”
Dietrich is pleased to get the opportunity to move down South where she can coach a higher talent level and where the players have a passion for the sport.
“Just personally, this is a big step up for me,” Dietrich said of why she was intrigued by the Cartersville coaching position. “They’re playing year-round down here, and where I came from in New York, that wasn’t the case. The girls picked up a glove during tryouts and put it down two months later, and that was it for the year. It was starting over every year.
“Here, I’m stepping into a different situation where these girls know the mechanical things they need to do to be good, so it becomes more about the strategy and putting girls in right places and making the right moves, so I’m psyched.”
Dietrich will be inheriting a strong group of returning players, as Cartersville loses just three starters off the 2013 team that advanced further in the state playoffs than any other team in school history.
“I know they’re stacked. They’re full of talent and that’s something I’m excited to see if I can make them better softball players,” Dietrich said. “I’m stepping into a really nice situation. I hear there’s great freshmen all the way to the seniors. They’re coming off a great season last year and a lot of them are back, so we’re expecting to get right back where this team left off, if not further.”
The 2014 season will offer its own set of challenges as Cartersville moves to Class AAAA and into a region loaded with softball teams in state championship contention. Northwest Whitfield and Heritage-Catoosa played for the state championship in Class AAAA in 2013. Cartersville will join those two schools in Region 7-AAAA in 2014.
Dietrich said she will embrace the challenge of the move to Class AAAA.
“I’m going to get going and start to build a state championship here,” she said. “That is a goal. I don’t want to take any steps back. Even though we’re moving up to AAAA, I don’t see how that’s going to stop us from being successful.”
“We’re going into a tough region. I think that’s probably one of the things that impressed me most about [Dietrich] when I talked to her,” Demastus said. “I told her what type of a softball region she’s coming into. Her response to me was, ‘That’s great. That’s what I’m looking for.’ I like that competitiveness about her. I think that competitiveness is what pushes you to the next level and I think she has that.
“Are we expecting to make a state tournament? Maybe somewhere down the road. Are we expecting her to win a state tournament next year? I mean, I’m not expecting her to win it. I think she has the tools to win it. I think she has the knowledge capable of winning the state tournament and it’s going to be interesting. I think we have a very good shot.”