by: Mary Kate Bandstra
The 2016-17 softball team finished their season with a record of 32-6. Six seniors led the defense and pitching as wins started piling up especially versus tough conference teams. Graduates Emma Schnell and Elizabeth Van Manen led on both sides of the game. Schnell pitched 213 strikeouts while Van Manen hit 12 of the 20 total team home runs. One tremendous accomplishment of the season was the title of Little Hawkeye Conference Champions, which is definitely no easy task considering the size and competitiveness of each school. Highlights victories were against Indianola and Oskaloosa, both ranked teams in larger classes.
The team’s final season ranking was #4 in 2A, which is the class with the most number of teams in the state. It was apparent to any fans that our “girls of summer” knew how to play some good softball and wanted to win. They beat 7 teams by 10 or more runs, 4 of which the score was a 10-0 shutout. With solid regional performances, our softball team advanced to their third substate game in 4 years, but fell short to Eddyville Blakesburg 4-1, who ended up being runner-up state champions.
It was a hard end to such a successful and fun season. The seniors meant a lot to the underclassmen and will be missed. “They all had a passion and a desire for the game, which made us younger players love it even more. The seniors made each day we spent together so much fun,” said senior Sophie Howerzyl. Next season, Seniors Sophie Howerzyl and Amanda Harrill are looking forward to leading the team and being captains. “We will miss them because of all the different attitudes and quirks they used in leading the team, but Sophie and I are super pumped about the opportunity to be the senior leaders this coming year.” added senior Amanda Harrill.