Youth is the prevailing theme for this year’s all-News Telegraph softball team.
Of the 19 players earning spots on the team that honors the best players from the News Telegraph’s coverage area, just four are seniors. They provided a lot of leadership and passed a lot of knowledge down to the 15 underclassmen, each who are expected to lead their teams to bigger and better things next year.
All the honorees, from the seniors on down, bring some excellent statistics. None were quite enough for any of them to reach beyond the regional semifinals, but with off-season work and dedication to the game, it is quite possible one, if not two area teams will be booking trips to Fort Dodge and Harlan Rodgers Sports Complex for the summer 2020 state softball tournament.
So without further ado, here’s how the teams shape up:
• Macy Emgarten, freshman, Exira-EHK: Came into her own during a breakout season, even though her 12-14 record doesn’t show it. Struck out 186 batters during the season (including 12 in a Class 1A regional quarterfinal upset of Riverside) and compiled a 2.15 ERA. Honorable mention Class 1A all-state.
• Olivia Engler, sophomore, Atlantic: A second-team Class 3A all-state pick who emerged as one of the premier pitchers of the Hawkeye Ten during her first season as the Trojans’s ace, compiling an ERA of 2.48. A first-team all-Hawkeye Ten pick who went 21-6 on the mound, also played first base and was perfect in 36 fielding attempts defensively. Offensively, drove in 32 runs, a team high, and had a Trojan second-best 48 hits.
• Helen Riker, freshman, CAM: A late bloomer and another promising freshman, by season’s end, opposing batters hit just 0.147 against her. Struck out 136 batters, and with work could bring CAM to prominence in southwest Iowa.
• Skye Bentley, junior, Riverside: The leader behind the plate, who threw out five opposing baserunners, and had 114 total put outs compared to just six errors. Had 27 hits and drove in 11 batters.
• Alyssa Derby, sophomore, Atlantic: Second-team all-Hawkeye Ten pick who had the most extra-base hits — 15, with 10 doubles and five home runs — for the Trojans; her 37 RBIs is also a team high. Was 15-of-21 in catching opposing batters stealing.
• Katie Anzalone, senior, AHSTW: A Class 2A third-team all-state selection who was the Lady Vikes’ lone senior. Was perfect in 16 stolen base attempts, and led in hits (29), extra-base hits (five, including four doubles and a home run) and batting average (0.387).
• Gracie Bluml, junior, Riverside: A third-team Class 1A all-stater, was the defensive leader of the Bulldog infield, with just four errors in 177 fielding attempts. Offensively, she led in several categories, including hits (39), runs (31), batting average (0.459), on-base percentage (0.482) and stolen bases (26-of-28).
• Jozie Lett, junior, CAM: Third-team all-state. Drove in a team-high 12 runs and had a team-high three home runs and was a defensive stalwart on the field.
• Baylee Newell, senior, Atlantic: First-team all-state in Class 3A. Five-year letterwinner who was a major part of two previous state tournament trips (2016 and 2018). Her team highs included batting average (0.466), on-base percentage (0.568), hits (55), runs (50) and stolen bases (37 of 39 attempts).
• Anna Kelley, freshman, Griswold: First-team all-Corner Conference and an elite selection. Tiger lefty had a team-high 24 hits and batting average of 0.364, driving in 11 runs.
• Karsyn Rush, senior, Atlantic: Second-team all-Hawkeye Ten, moving up from honorable mention a year ago, and part of two state tournament trips. Drove in 20 runs while going 0.408 at the plate.
• Marissa Spieker, freshman, CAM: A 0.349 batting average, and a pair of 29s (runs and base hits) were team highs. Went 45-1 in fielding attempts defensively for a 97.8 percent fielding average.
• McKenzie Waters, junior, Atlantic: First-team all-Hawkeye Ten as the primary centerfielder. Drove in 16 runs with her 0.390 battling average.
• Sydney Beymer, sophomore, Audubon: Honorable mention all-state in Class 1A. Batted 0.300, a team high and an anchor on defense who will be counted on to lead the Wheelers in future seasons.
• Kenna Ford, sophomore, Riverside: Honorable mention Class 1A all-state. Off-speed balance helped win games for the Bulldogs and keep them in many games. On the mound, she struck out 99 batters and walked just 24, but had a great defense behind her. Offensively, she had 10 doubles and 23 RBIs, both team highs.
• Natalie Hagadorn, freshman, AHSTW: Second-team all-Western Iowa Conference. Led the team in defensive fielding, going 74-for-75. Went 0.365 at the plate
• Genevive Hoover, senior, ACGC: Her 28 RBIs was a team high for the Chargers, and had 15 extra-base hits (13 doubles, and one each a triple and home run). Also was hit by nine opposing pitchers’ pitches.
• Paige Osweiler, junior, AHSTW: Second-team all-Western Iowa Conference who went 0.309 at the plate and threw out six opposing base-stealers.
• Kami Waymire, junior, Exira-EHK: Honorable mention Class 1A all-state. A 0.495 on-base percentage and 0.395 batting average were team highs, as were base hits (32), extra-base hits (eight, including five doubles and three home runs) and RBIs (28). Had just one error in 69 fielding attempts on defense. Expected to lead the Spartans to what could be a big season in 2020.