Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 22, 2018

All-GTNS girls’ big school softball teams

By Bill Gatchel | Aug 03, 2017
Molly Sparks

Girls softball players from smaller schools in the Golden Triangle area were recognized by the sports editors from the Mt. Pleasant News, and Washington Journal along with news editor from the Fairfield Ledger Tuesday.

Today, girls from the three large schools are in the spotlight.

While picking the last two days’ honorees was a challenge, today it was a little easier for the three of us.

While no team was present in the state tournament, it was a great year for all players.

Deciding who to choose was still a bit of a challenge.

Tomorrow, the baseball teams from the three larger schools will be honored.

Here are our picks for the 2016-17 All-Golden Triangle team for girls’ softball from the larger schools:

Coach: Mt. Pleasant softball has only qualified for the state tournament twice in school history, and both of those times were under coach Troy Mears.

Mears coached the Panthers to their second straight Southeast Conference title, a 32-12 final record and a sixth-place finish in Fort Dodge.

MVP: There weren’t many players in the state of Iowa this season as dangerous as senior Bailey Johnson from Mt. Pleasant.

The first-team All-State selection batted .512 this season with 17 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs and 34 walks, all of which led the team and made for an astounding 1.000 slugging percentage.

Johnson also had a good year in the circle, going 13-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 92 strikeouts.

Pitcher: When you want to make a state tournament run, it doesn’t hurt to have a dominant pitcher and the Panthers had that this season with senior starter Cali Liechty from Mt. Pleasant.

Liechty went 19-5 with a 2.07 ERA and 99 strikeouts. She was on the mound for all three of the Panthers’ postseason wins.

At the plate, Liechty hit .256 seven doubles, a triple and 23 RBIs.

Pitcher: Despite nursing a sore arm the latter part of the year, Fairfield’s Haley Beard was one of the toughest pitchers to hit in southeast Iowa. Her 1.92 earned run average and .174 opponents’ average were best in the conference among pitchers who made at least 10 starts.

Beard could also handle the bat. The senior hit .324 and slugged two home runs.

Infield: Jessie Buchholz was a Washington senior who was picked for first team all-conference in the Southeast Iowa Conference.

She scored a total of 33 runs in the Demons’ 21-18 season, including two home runs. She had 24 RBIs and was 16-19 in stolen bases while having a .426 batting average.

Infield: Outfielders backed up a few steps when they saw Fairfield’s Ashtyn Drish step to the plate. The junior hit for a high average – .442 – and power, too, collecting 14 doubles.

Her coach, Bob Bradfield, has remarked on how well she defends against the bunt at third base. She earned a spot on the second team all-state.

Infield: Senior Kenady Waugh from Fairfield made a splash like no other in her first varsity game.

Just an eighth-grader, she walloped home runs in each of her first two at-bats.

Hitting for power isn’t all she can do. Waugh has perhaps the most discerning eyesight in the conference as she walked 18 times while striking out only three times.

She was quick on her feet and had a rocket for an arm, essential ingredients for the demanding position of shortstop.

Catcher: Senior Sara Trent was the Fairfield Trojans’ everyday catcher for two years.

Her nine home runs this season broke the school record for round-trippers.

Trent’s 45 runs batted in were second in the conference behind only Mt. Pleasant’s Bailey Johnson.

Attempting to steal bases on Trent was a losing proposition. She threw out eight of the 13 runners who tried to swipe a base against her.

Outfield: Junior outfielder Chi Glaha from Mt. Pleasant continued to rapidly improve this season, hitting a cool .500 with 14 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBIs.

She was also a menace on the bases, scoring 45 runs and going 27-28 in stolen bases.

Outfield: Fairfield senior Brynna Bowman is the perfect contact hitter to lead off a game.

She batted a team-best .444 and led the conference in hits with 71 and in runs with 51. She was also a highly capable right fielder for Bob Bradfield’s squad.

Bowman also broke the school record for career batting average, posting a mark over .400. She was a first team all-stater this year.

Outfield: Senior Kaylee Watson is one of the best center fielders Fairfield Coach Bradfield has seen in his career.

She was comfortable in the batter’s box, too, batting .397 with 39 RBIs and 39 runs scored. Watson also hit two home runs during the state tournament, a performance that earned her a spot on the first team all-state.

Utility: Molly Sparks is a sophomore from Washington. She had a 15-8 record on the mound for the Demons ending the season with a 3.15 ERA.

She walked 27 opponents and struck out 82 during her 153 1/3 innings of pitching. As a batter, she scored seven runs, had four RBIs and had a .263 batting average.

Utility: The cleanup hitter for a stacked Mt. Pleasant lineup this year was senior catcher Sarah Moffett, who hit .380 with 14 doubles, four home runs and 45 RBIs.

Moffett was also a leader on the defensive end, throwing out nine of 22 on the base paths and committing just two errors all year from behind the plate.

Utility: She’s only a sophomore, but shortstop Anni Liechty has been a staple in the Mt. Pleasant Panther offense for each of the last three years.

This season she hit .384 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 27 RBIs. She also led the team with 48 runs scored and went 9-10 in stolen bases.

Utility: Shay Drish is a freshman from Fairfield who has finished one year of high school and already has two years of varsity under her belt.

Shay started all 42 games at second base, where she displayed great agility.

She was a patient hitter, drawing 17 walks, and hit for a high average, too, at .378. Her 48 runs scored were second in the conference.

— The All-Golden Triangle News Service teams are selected by sports editors Bill Gatchel of the Washington Evening Journal and Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News along with news editor Andy Hallman from the Fairfield Ledger.

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