Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
PORTSMOUTH — Over the past several years, there have been a litany of rising stars making their way through the different communities that are encompassed inside the Scioto County lines.
As a whole, however, three-sport standout Claire Dettwiller may be one of the more overlooked producers around.
A strong contributor in Notre Dame’s volleyball and girls basketball programs, in less than two seasons of high school softball, the sophomore has put together a career that would rival anybody’s.
She’s led Notre Dame to a 35-6 overall record and a Division IV district final and she’s done that while posting a ridiculous career batting average of .662 while driving in 71 RBIs over her 40-game career.
It’s also certainly easier to produce in a supportive environment — and for Dettwiller, Notre Dame Schools represents that kind of environment on a 365-day-a-year basis.
“I am definitely enjoying it,” Dettwiller said. “I love softball already and having such great teammates and coaches just makes it even better. It means so much to me to be able to have an important role on my team. I am honored to play for Notre Dame in anything; especially softball.”
Throughout her young career, the sophomore has been critical no matter what role she’s played on groups that have seen a great deal of success.
After playing primarily junior varsity as a freshman on the basketball court, Dettwiller stepped up to supply Notre Dame with help down low this past winter, at the varsity level, while increasing her averages from 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game to 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds. That’s while shooting 52 percent from the floor for a unit that returned to a Division IV regional semifinal for a second straight year.
Dettwiller also took on a larger role on the volleyball court, backing up her sister, Katie, as a middle hitter en route to 73 kills, 41 blocks, 39 digs, and a .209 attack percentage as the Titans advanced to a Division IV regional final.
However, even with her improvements and progress evident in both sports, it’s clear that Dettwiller is a step above of most on the diamond.
Last year, Notre Dame was expected to feature growing pains with the loss of Hagen Schaefer, among additional seniors, and wasn’t expected to finish higher than mid-level in the SOC I.
However, the youthful Titans, thanks to Dettwiller, Cassie Schaefer, and Isabel Cassidy — among others — surprised essentially every outside figure by going 20-6 and collecting victories over Ironton, Symmes Valley, and Clay before ending their season in a Division IV district final … where they fell to Valley, 7-6, in a nine-inning affair.
“I am so honored to have been part of all the success in my two years,” Dettwiller said. “Here at Notre Dame, a lot of us play multiple sports to support each other even though it may not be our favorite. I know some of my teammates work on their favorite sport year round and that makes transitions much easier.”
Dettwiller’s production was not only critical in Notre Dame’s tournament run in 2018, but has been in an undefeated 15-0 mark and a No. 7 ranking by the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association (OHSFSCA) this season.
Last year, Dettwiller went 56-for-86 at the plate to bat an incredible .651 on the year — all while collecting two home runs, 13 doubles, 40 RBIs, and 34 runs.
And if you can believe it, her sophomore year looks like it’s on track to produce as good as, if not better than, last season’s numbers.
Through Notre Dame’s first 15 contests, she’s hitting an astonishing .680 with four home runs, six doubles, 31 RBIs, and 26 runs scored.
The part that makes those marks even more special?
She’s done it while taking on greater defensive responsibilities as she’s had to move from first base to catcher with primary catcher Baylee Webb out due to a possible season-ending knee injury.
“We have had great coaching in our early years of our careers as well,” Dettwiller said. “It is such a privilege and an honor to play for [Titans girls basketball and softball coach J.D.] McKenzie. He sacrifices so much of his time to help me reach my potential. He motivates me to not disappoint and I’m a better athlete because of him. We have a lot of girls that have played a lot of softball. Cassie and I have been middle of the lineup hitters for most of our careers and I think that experience is also key to our success. I enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to have big at-bats and drive in important runs.”
There’s no question that Dettwiller has come up big in those clutch situations.
As a freshman, she collected a walk-off double against Northwest in the regular season and on April 26 of that year, made a basket catch on a pop-up within two feet of Clay’s dugout to secure a 2-1 victory over the Panthers — which ended Clay’s 42-game SOC I winning streak.
“These past two years have been such a whirlwind so it’s really hard to pick a favorite memory,” Dettwiller said. “If I had to choose, it would have to be our victory in softball against Clay my freshman year. I made a diving catch on a foul ball to end the game. That win meant so much to our team and I will always remember it.”
Overall, the main goal for Claire Dettwiller, like all of her teammates, is to win the last game they play during a sports season together — and the hope is that they win multiple state championships in multiple sports.
“This season, the goal is to win the SOC and have a successful tournament run,” Dettwiller said. “My dream goal for the future is to win my last game of a season, which means a state championship.”
And that’s certainly not a pipe dream, especially considering how much passion is involved with donning anything “ND” related.
“My favorite part about sports all together is playing for Notre Dame,” Dettwiller said. “I truly am honored to represent my school that I love. My favorite part about volleyball is the team aspect. You really rely on each other and it’s really fun to share in the success of your teammates. My favorite part about basketball is the daily grind and the competition with my sister Katie in practice. And my favorite part of softball is being able to play wherever I’m needed in order to benefit my team. It’s a great feeling to be able to get the clutch hit or make a play to help the team win.”