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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

All-GTNS small school softball team released

Highland’s Miller, Iowa Mennonite’s Blauvelt, Mid-Prairie’s Vercande honored
Jul 31, 2018

By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports


The Golden Triangle News Service has selected its small school softball team for the 2018 season.

Players are selected from the following teams in the GTNS area -- Mid-Prairie. Highland, Columbus, Keota, Iowa Mennonite School, Wifield-Mount Union, New London, Pekin, Cardinal and Van Buren.

Duane Blint of New London is the GTNS coach. He led his Tigers to their fourth state tournament in six years. New London (20-11) put together a Cinderella run to get to the Class 1A tournament in Fort Dodge.

The Tigers won two of their four regional tournament games via the walk-off hit, a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Montezuma and a thrilling 4-3 regional final win over North Mahaska. Sandwiched in between was a win over No. 8 Sigourney, a state semifinalist from the year before.

The GTNS captain is sophomore Layney Loyd of New London. Loyd has made quite the name for herself in just three years at New London. The catcher and infielder was the leading hitter on a state-bound Tiger team.

Loyd hit .473 with eight doubles, two home runs and 30 RBIs to earn captain’s honors for this year’s small school softball squad. She’ll lead a talented group of New London underclassmen into the new era of New London softball.

Although the team is full of underclassmen with only six of the 14 selections upperclassmen, Mid-Prairie’s Rylee Vercande is the only selection to the team as an eighth-grader.

Vercande led the Golden Hawks, who finished with a 4-29 record, in most every offensive category. She was Mid-Prairie’s leader in runs (18), hits (42), doubles (7), home runs (2), RBI (18), stolen bases (13 in 16 attempts), batting average (.408), slugging percentage (.533) and on-base percentage (.438). She had a .913 fielding percentage as an outfielder with just four errors.

Avery Blauvelt excelled in her final season at Iowa Mennonite School. The senior’s .429 batting average, .694 slugging percentage, 13 RBI and .508 OBP were tops on the team. She had 21 hits in 49 at-bats with seven doubles and two home runs. The catcher had a .934 fielding percentage.

An early-season injury relegated Highland’s Abbie Miller to the role of designated hitter for much of the year. The junior excelled in the role, leading the Huskies (14-13) in at-bats (87), hits (27), home runs (4), RBI (30) and SLG (.517). She hit six doubles and carried a .310 batting average.

Madie Anderson, a freshman at Winfield-Mt. Union (11-8) was one of two pitchers to make the team. There aren’t many more-feared pitchers in Southeast Iowa than Anderson. The freshman threw every single inning for W-MU this season.

Anderson went 11-8 with a 1.90 ERA and 249 strikeouts, which was fifth best in Class 1A. At the plate, Anderson hit .299 with three doubles and 10 RBIs.

At catcher, Molly Miller, a freshman at Winfield-Mt. Union provided a young Wolves squad with needed hitting this year if they were going to compete with the best teams in the SEISC, and they got that in spades.

The freshman led the team with a .388 average, eight doubles, five homeruns and 25 RBIs. She’s a cornerstone member of a W-MU program that should continue their skyrocket to the top of the conference when the summer sports season rolls back around in 2019.

In just her sophomore year at New London, Sydni Coleman blossomed into one of the best hitters in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference. Coleman, an infielder, hit .446 with six doubles and 17 RBI.

Coleman was particularly good in the postseason, going 5 of 8 in the regional tournament and 3 for 6 in Fort Dodge. She also picked up a regional quarterfinal win in the circle, holding Montezuma to just one run in a 2-1 victory.

The New London softball team wouldn’t have ended their season in Fort Dodge without senior pitcher and infielder Camryn Blint. Blint hit .352 with four doubles and 14 RBI this year, and also shined in the circle going 10-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 102 strikeouts.

Blint saved her best stuff for the regional tournament. She won three tournament games in the circle including a three-hit shutout over No. 8 Sigourney in the regional semifinals. Blint also scored the game-winning run in the Tigers’ walk-off win over North Mahaska in the regional final.

With over 160 innings pitched, Kassidy Verrips was on the mound for all but 19 innings for the Cardinal Comets this season and racked up 148 strikeouts from the circle. Part of the reason for her 9-13 record is the 52 unearned runs scored that were not counted against her pitching stats. In the batters box, the sophomore led the team with a .410 batting average, a .443 on-base percentage, .590 slugging percentage and 34 hits. Verrips also had two home runs and 17 RBI.

Van Buren freshman Chelsey Huff hit .430 with a .646 slugging percentage. Huff scored 17 runs, hit eight doubles, three homeruns, 15 RBI and stole two bases. As the Warriors’ No. 2 pitcher, Chelsey also made 10 starts and threw 69 innings, allowing 37 earned runs and striking out 47 while walking just 10 batters and allowing a .283 opponents’ batting average.

Part of the game is opportunity and Pekin junior Ellie Ledger rarely missed hers, racking up 30 RBI and four home runs, five doubles and 23 other hits that helped her record a .311 average with a .476 slugging percentage. Ledger only struck out 12 times in 103 at-bats, stole a base and scored 14 runs for the Panthers.

Lydia Moses batted .321 for Cardinal, but had a .448 on-base percentage because she found ways to get on base and score. Moses hit safely 25 times in 78 at-bats and rounded the bases to score a team-high 25 times, but the sophomore also walked 14 times and was hit by four pitches, creating additional scoring chances. Moses had six doubles, 15 RBI and also 18 bases in 20 attempts.

Pekin junior Zoey Wright will be the anchor on several Panther teams her senior season. Wright had team-highs in batting average: .452, on-base percentage, .504; slugging percentage, .596; runs scored, 31; hits, 47; triples, three; walks drawn, 11; and stolen bases with 27 in 29 attempts. She also had six doubles, a home run and 20 RBI while only striking out 10 times in a team-high 104 at-bats.

Van Buren senior Hannah Heiserman batted .420 with a .447 on-base percentage while slugging .568. The recent graduate had a team-high 37 hits, 10 doubles and 20 RBI. Heiserman also hit a home run, stole a base and struck out a team-low three times in 88 at-bats.



Coach: Duane Blint, New London

Captain: Layney Loyd, Sophomore, New London

Pitcher: Madie Anderson, Freshman, Winfield-Mt. Union

Pitcher: Kassidy Verrips, Sophomore, Cardinal

Infield: Chelsey Huff, Freshman, Van Buren

Infield: Sydni Coleman, Sophomore, New London

Infield: Ellie Ledger, Junior, Pekin

Infield: Lydia Moses, Sophomore, Cardinal

Catcher: Molly Miller, Freshman, New London

Outfield: Rylee Vercande, Eighth Grade, Mid-Prairie

Outfield: Zoey Wright, Junior, Pekin

Outfield: Hannah Heiserman, Senior, Van Buren

Utility: Avery Blauvelt, Senior, Iowa Mennonite

Utility: Abbie Miller, Junior, Highland

Utility: Camryn Blint, Senior, New London

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

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