Written by Katelyn Bowling
The dirt on the diamond rests in the still wind as her cleats perfectly print her path to the plate. As the pitcher’s eyes turn focus to the catcher’s signal, her eyes focus on the green beyond the fence. It is the ball versus the bat in a matchup University Nebraska at Omaha softball player Amber Lutmer knows far to well.
Having played for the Mavs for four years now, Lutmer is finding the bittersweet in the close of the season.
“I’m excited to move forward with my future career but I’m also extremely sad to be done,” Lutmer said. “I’ve made a lot of memories and made some life long friends through my years here.”
This homerun hitter played basketball, softball and track in high school, and she says it was hard to choose one to pursue in college. She made a pros and cons list for each sport, and it came down to her commitment level and enjoyment of practice. She also understands how many hours are demanded in a college sport.
“I knew I could practice softball for hours and it wouldn’t get old to me,” Lutmer said. “Then once I got to visit with the coaches here at UNO, I was sold instantly. I knew I wanted to go here for softball.”
Playing first base for the team, Lutmer has a career record of 50 homeruns, a UNO record. Ranking top in The Summit League, she has 16 homeruns so far this season. It would have been 17 if the wind hadn’t dragged one foul in last Saturday’s game. Lutmer and teammate pitcher Dana Elsasser were playing in their Senior Day game against Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
“We played a tough game and got the win, and that’s what the most important part is,” Lutmer said. “Dana had a fantastic pitching performance. We also had some clutch hits that got us some runs, so it turned out as we hoped.”
Lutmer and Elsasser have been quite the force this year for the team. Not only are the duo teammates, they are also roommates and great friends. Lutmer said that it is easy to be close with someone that has such great determination and commitment.
“She is always going to give it her all, on and off the field and that’s what you want in a teammate,” Lutmer said. ”
Lutmer has enjoyed the traveling the team has done in the past four years. They have been able to see many places around the U.S., including playing at the ESPN fields in Florida.
“All while getting to play the sport I love,” she said. “I couldn’t be more grateful than that.”
When the UNO sports program changed from D-I to D-II a couple years ago, the team wanted to continue to have the success they had in D-II. One of Lutmer’s favorite memories about playing softball for the Mavericks was the team’s ability to continue having success in the transition. In the programs achievement, Lutmer has also found comfort in the people that surround her.
“The relationships I’ve made with my coaches, teammates and the administration will always be something I remember,” she said. “I may be done with my softball career after this weekend but I will always have these people in my life.”
Lutmer had her first homerun of her career against the University of the Colorado-Colorado Springs on the first weekend she played UNO softball. From the first weekend to the last, she has continued to excel as a softball player.
In her time dressed in black, red and white, she has made a footprint on the Maverick softball program just as she did at the plate.
“Everyone always says to enjoy the time because before you know it you’ll be a senior playing your last games…and that is the truth. You never realize how quick it goes until you’re there,” Lutmer says. “Time has flown by but it’s been such a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Lutmer and the rest of the seniors were able to finish their careers succesfully on the road, sweeping Western Illinois over the weekend.