The softball season came to a close last week, and the last order of business was to find out the All-State Teams for all five classes.
Starting in Class 1A, Moravia’s Autumn McDanel received First Team honors. McDanel was Moravia’s top hitter and ace pitcher her senior season, leading the team in almost every major category. Pitching was where she’ll leave the biggest hole, as she pitched all but 7 innings for the Mohawks this season with a small 0.65 ERA and 345 strikeouts in 184 innings.
On the Second Team in Class 1A, Lynnville-Sully’s Kasiah Ehresman and Montezuma’s Kate Maschmann were both honored. They just finished their senior campaigns. On the Third Team, the Sigourney pair of junior Kendall Streigle and sophomore Autum Barthelman were honored. They were joined by BGM senior Amber Hall, Cardinal senior Lindsey Davis, and Lynnville-Sully junior Brenna Lanser.
In Class 1A, the Honorable Mention list is lengthy, and includes several more area players. Cardinal senior Lexi Fullenkamp, Twin Cedars’ senior Bailey Dunkin and junior Madison DeWitt, North Mahaska’s senior Carly Ehret and junior Katie Koehler, Melcher-Dallas sophomore Andee Clark, Sigourney sophomore Leah Carter, and BGM sophomore Lyla Kriegel were all listed among the Honorable Mentions.
In Class 2A, there were no area First Teamers. On the Second Team, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont junior Haegen Boyer was honored. On the Third Team, Pella Christian junior Elizabeth Van Manen, and Pleasantville sophomore Andie Sowers were honored.
On the Honorable Mention list, EBF’s junior Claire Jager was named, along with Pekin senior Sloan Reighard. Those two were joined by the Pleasantville pair of senior Avari Heinz-Pence and sophomore Corinne Thomas.
For the Class 3A First Team, Mid-Prairie got a pair of players named in seniors Amber Kral and Alex Rath. Despite a tough season record-wise for the Golden Hawks, offensively, Kral and Rath carried the load. Rath led the way with a .509 batting average with 22 RBI and was 34 of 35 stealing bases. She also scored a team high 41 runs. Kral was the power bat, with a .463 average, 7 home runs, and 50 RBI. She only struck out five times in 108 at bats in 2016.
Centerville’s Lexi Riggell had a great junior campaign and was rewarded by being named Second Team All-State in Class 3A. She is joined by Third Teamers Hannah Isley (sophomore) and Alex Beard (8th grader) from Albia, Jayci Vos (junior) of PCM, and Bailea Yahnke (freshman) of Davis County.
Class 4A was where the listening area had the biggest impact as seven area players were named to the First Team. That group is led by a trio of Indians from State Champion Oskaloosa.
Junior Alexis Groet was named the captain of the All-Tournament Team in Fort Dodge, and that capped an unbelievable year for the right-handed pitcher. Groet would finish her fourth consecutive All-State season with a 19-2 record, a 1.29 ERA, and 239 strikeouts in 146 innings. Her battery mate this year was junior catcher Alexis Westercamp. Westercamp took a leap this season with her efficiency at the plate, hitting a team-high .424 with 6 home runs and 38 knocked in. She also trimmed her strikeout totals way down from previous seasons while being a mainstay in the heart of the Osky order. Senior Kylee Silliman rounded out the Osky First Teamers. She hit .416 at the top of the Osky lineup with 2 homers and 26 RBI. She only struck out 6 times, and was a very reliable #2 pitcher with an unblemished 10-0 record and a stellar 1.03 ERA.
Joining the Oskaloosa players on the First Team are fellow Little Hawkeye Conference players Sydney Jenkins of Newton and Sara Tallman of Pella. Jenkins wrapped up her career with a .451 batting average and a .561 on-base percentage. She drew 22 walks while striking out only 9 times and was 28 for 28 in stolen bases. She also hit two homers. For Tallman, she reappears on the All-State team after another great season. She hit .514 with a .571 on-base percentage. She hit one homer and drove in 10 runs. Her speed was a big part of her success, as she was 16 for 19 in steals and manned centerfield at a high level for the Lady Dutch.
The last pair of players on the First Team from the area are Knoxville senior Carrie Chambers and Fairfield junior Kaylee Watson. Chambers was in the same mold as Jenkins and Tallman, with a high average (.423) and high on-base percentage (.477). She also was a thief on the basepaths, stealing 21 bases on 23 attempts. Watson was a power bat for Fairfield, who finished 3rd in the state in Class 4A at the state tournament. She hit .410 with 7 home runs and 39 driven in.
Along with the players honored, Oskaloosa Head Coach Jay Harms was named the Class 4A Coach of the Year, wrapping up an unforgettable season for the long tenured manager.
On the Second Team, Osky’s Aubrey Miller was named after coming on strong in the second half of the season. She’s joined by Fairfield leadoff hitter Kenady Waugh. Both players just finished their junior seasons. Knoxville’s Ricki Hall was the only area player named to the Third Team.
In Class 5A, there were no area players on the First Team, with Ottumwa’s Ellie Hammack (senior) named to the Second Team and Kacy Nickerson (8th grader) named to the Third Team.
There are no Honorable Mention lists for Class 3A, 4A, or 5A.
Every softball season is memorable for so many reasons, but with 43 players named to All-State Teams and one named Coach of the Year, it’s safe to say it will be hard for anyone to forget the 2016 softball campaign.