Sports

Simpson captains All-GTNS softball team

Five Panthers lead way on balanced big school softball squad

Anni Liechty
Anni Liechty
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Parity isn’t always a factor in high school sports. Many league races, in the Southeast Conference and otherwise, are decided early on with one team running away with the title early. Sometimes the conference races is a forgone conclusion with no excitement what-so-ever. That certainly is not the case in Southeast Iowa.

There was yet another dog fight in the SEC softball race, with Fairfield outlasting Mt. Pleasant on the final day of the conference slate, and defending SEC co-champion sliding in third.

Balance in the standings often breeds balance in the all-star teams, and that’s exactly what the Golden Triangle area saw when choosing the 2019 All-GTNS big school softball team.

Five Panthers, four Trojans and four Demons highlighted the 2019 squad. Fairfield coach Bob Bradfield and freshman Hannah Simpson earned coach and captain honors respectively.

The 2019 squad is made up of four seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, one freshman and one eighth-grader.

Listed below is the full list for the 2019 All-GTNS big school softball team.

Coach: Bob Bradfield, Fairfield

The leader of the Trojans for 40-plus seasons notched his 1,000th victory this year, becoming the 18th head softball coach in Iowa to do so. His team won the Southeast Conference outright with a dramatic walk-off at home on the final night of the leagues’ season and lost for the fourth time in the last seven years in a Class 4A regional title with appearances at the state tournament in 2015-2017. Bradfield did all of this with only two seniors and four regularly playing eighth graders and another large group of some-what seasoned freshman including the captain of the All-GTNS team.

Captain: Hannah Simpson, freshman, Fairfield

You expect a captain to be talented, hard-working and fierce and those are all attributes of this year’s selection. In fact, it’s going to be very hard to unseat her from this position over the next three seasons. Simpson led the Trojans to her second consecutive league crown in as many seasons. She led the Trojans with 58 hits in 122 at-bats for a team-high .475 average. Simpson also had 11 doubles, two triples and three home runs to contribute to her .672 slugging percentage and 20 walks, mostly intentional, paired with three hit-by-pitches raised her on-base percentage to an astounding .559. The freshman phenom also drove in 33 runs while crossing the plate 34 times herself.

Pitcher: Allison Rebling, junior, Fairfield

The junior ace for the Trojans pitching staff did not disappoint in the circle, going 13-10 in 24 starts with nearly 150 innings tossed. Rebling also recorded four saves while only allowing 86 hits against and 77 runs scored in her 28 appearances with only 56 of those runs counted as “earned.” The junior struck out 220 batters faced, walked 109 and her E.R.A. was an impressive 2.63 considering her workload and being surrounded by a team gaining experience. Her opponents also recorded a paltry .131 average against Rebling in their 659 at-bats. At the plate herself, she batted .237 with a .296 on-base percentage, five doubles and 16 RBIs. She recorded nearly half of the team’s sacrifices, 17 of 44 and drew nine walks in 114 plate appearances while scoring 11 runs for the Trojans.

Pitcher: Sydni Coleman, junior, Mt. Pleasant

Coleman, a transfer from New London, was just what the doctor ordered for Mt. Pleasant. She rose to be the team’s ace, sporting a 16-7 record, a 2.51 ERA and 62 strikeouts.

Coleman wasn’t too shabby at the plate either. She hit .358 with nine doubles, four triples, a home run and 30 RBIs. She was also one of the top defensive players for the Panthers, whether she was fielding her position in the circle or over at third base.

Catcher: Kellie Dallmeyer, sophomore, Washington

Dallmeyer was an all-state selection for the Demons, which finished with their best record (22-15) since 2013.

Dallmeyer was a tireless worker, who spent many hours in the offseason honing her game.

Dallmeyer was both an excellent fielder at catcher and shortstop with just seven errors on the season for a .954 fielding percentage.

Dallmeyer batted .461 with an on-base percentage of .543 and a slugging percentage of .617, connecting on 11 doubles and three home runs among her 59 hits. Dallmeyer had 27 runs batted in with 14 stolen bases in 14 attempts. Dallmeyer struck out just 10 times in 143 plate appearances and scored a team-high 45 runs.

Infield: Samantha Broeker, junior, Mt. Pleasant

Samantha Broeker provided a much-needed power surge for Mt. Pleasant in 2019. After not playing for the majority of 2018, Broeker settled right in, playing catcher and first base for the Panthers.

Broeker led the team in average (.400), OBP (.464) and Slugging (.573). She hit a team-leading 11 doubles, finished the year with one triple and two home runs, and finished second in the conference with 40 RBIs.

Broeker, along with fellow junior Coleman, will be a top returner for the Panthers when the softball season rolls back around next summer.

Infield: Coty Engle, eighth-grader, Fairfield

The second best underclassmen on the Trojans, Engle led the team in at-bats with 125 as an eighth grader while recording 41 hits for a .328 average that jumps to.390 when you add her 12 walks drawn and two hit-by-pitches. Her slugging clip was .416 thanks to 11 doubles and she scored 37 runs while driving in 17 runs from the dish. Engle was also disciplined at the plate, striking out just 14 times and consistently running counts long against much more experienced pitchers. In the circle as the Trojans No. 2 starter, Engle was 9-9 with a 3.70 E.R.A. in nearly 95 innings pitched. She struck out 42 and walked 43, but only allowed the batters who did put the ball into play to record a .255 collective average against her in 458 at-bats.

Infield: Shaylin Drish, junior, Fairfield

This is Shay’s Trojan team and will be again next year. She doesn’t like to draw attention to herself, but she does appreciate when someone notices her love for the game. All games. She led the Trojans somewhat quietly with a .347 average in 121 at-bats with 42 hits that included seven doubles, two triples and 16 RBIs. She scored 37 times herself and was 4-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Drish also walked a team-high 26 times and although she was respected at the plate, that was mostly plate discipline and not free passes as seen by her 11 strikeouts. When you add the walks and two hit-by-pitches, Drishs’ on-base percentage skyrockets to .467, proving she will always find a way to get on base and start a rally.

Infield: Anni Liechty, senior, Mt. Pleasant

Liechty has been a star in the Southeast Conference since she first took the field as an eighth-grader, but she saved some of her best stuff for her senior year.

The senior short stop hit .361 with five doubles, one triple and four home runs. She was deadly with runners on base, leading the conference with 42 RBIs.

Liechty made one final statement in her last game in a Panther uniform, sending a two-run homer to left field in the first inning of the Panthers’ regional tournament game against Fairfield.

Outfield: Trinity Krabill, senior, Mt. Pleasant

Trinity Krabill’s rise on the Mt. Pleasant softball team came at the expense of Southeast Iowa defenses in each of the past three seasons. Krabill was once again one of the best power hitters in the area, hitting .287 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and 23 RBIs.

Krabill was also an all-star with the glove, making countless running and diving catches over her Mt. Pleasant career, but her most shocking grab came in Mt. Pleasant’s indoor doubleheader with Burlington this season. She flipped over the center field fence while robbing a Grayhound home run, and then launched a bomb of her own when it was her turn to bat in the next half inning.

Outfield: Makayla Cam, senior, Mt. Pleasant

Panther left fielder and middle infielder Makala Cam might not be the biggest player on the field, but she may be the most dangerous.

Cam brought a rare combination of power and speed to the top of Mt. Pleasant’s lineup. She finished the year with a .331 batting average, eight doubles, four triples, a home run and an RBI.

On the basepaths, Cam scored a team-leading 37 runs. She attempted 28 stolen bases on the season and swiped 25 of them, most in the SEC.

Outfield: Alexa Mitchell, junior, Washington

Mitchell was a multi-talented weapon for the Demons.

Mitchell was both a pitcher and fielder for the Demons (22-15).

In the circle, Mitchell tossed 67 2/3 innings with a 2.69 earned run average. Mitchell struck out 41 with an opponents’ batting average of .275.

In the batter’s box, Mitchell carried a .341 batting average with a .421 on base percentage. Mitchell had just nine strikeouts and drew 13 walks in 136 plate appearances. Mitchell hit six doubles and batted in 30 runs.

Utility: Molly Sparks, junior, Washington

Sparks has been the Demons’ ace ever since her freshman year. She has 40 career victories and an earned run average under three. Her work ethic and leadership set an example for the Demons.

Sparks underwent back surgery in the offseason and recovered in time to be the Demons’ ace once again.

This year, Sparks had a 9-8 record with a 1.91 earned run average. Sparks walked only 12 batters in 112 innings pitched with 64 strikeouts. Opponents batted .273 against Sparks. She had 19 starts and 21 appearances.

In addition to her excellence in the circle, Sparks also hit .322 with three doubles, 22 runs batted in and struck out only 11 times in 141 plate appearances.

Utility: Haylee Wilson, senior, Washington

Wilson has been an anchor at first base for the Demons for four years and on the varsity since she was an eighth-grader. Wilson had 135 consecutive starts at the position.

Wilson’s coach said she was the best, most consistent first baseman in the area.

Wilson led the Demon regulars with just three errors for a .988 fielding percentage.

Wilson’s walk-off three-run home run was a season highlight for the Demons.

Wilson batted .354 with a .438 on base percentage. Wilson had 40 hits in 119 plate appearances. Wilson hit five doubles and batted in 17 runs.

The All-GTNS big school softball team was selected by Doug Brenneman of the Washington Evening Journal, Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger and Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News