Breaking Down Area Softball Teams
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Coach: Jeff Koenig (3rd season)
Assistant coaches: Molly Prybil, Peyton Koenig, Sara Blowers
Last season: 12-30, 8-18 MVC
Returning starters: Ellie Dixon, Sr., INF; Sydney Fellows, Fr., INF; Brooke Bormann, Fr., INF; Brianna Bentler, Soph., OF; Alexa Fredericks, Soph., OF; Gabi Hiatt, Sr., P; Jayden Young, Soph., C.
Newcomers to watch: Keli Potter, Fr., UTI; Carey Koenig, 8th, C/3B; Ayana Lindsey, 8th, P/SS; Ella Cook, 8th, P/1B/2B.
Headliner: Senior shortstop Ellie Dixon returns after leading the Little Hawks in batting average (.375), hits (51), runs (33), doubles (13) and home runs (6) last season.
Keep an eye on: Brianna Bentler led City High with 17 RBI and drew a team-high 15 walks last season as a freshman.
Circle the date: June 6 vs. West High. City High hosts the Women of Troy in the annual cross-town showdown.
Outlook: City High expects to take a step forward in year three under head coach Jeff Koenig with seven starters returning from a team that won four of its final six games last season.
Dixon returns to lead the City High offense after earning second-team all-conference honors a year ago while senior pitcher Gabi Hiatt is back after posting an 11-13 record and being named honorable mention all-conference.
Coach: Justin Lutjen (4th season)
Assistant coaches: Sarah Saladino, Morgan Yoder, Grace Chabal, Emily Stumpff
Last season: 31-11, 22-4 MVC
Returning starters: Taleah Smith, Sr., CF; Brylee Klosterman, Fr., LF; Skylar Ryan, Sr., RF; Darby Donovan, Sr., 2B; Brooke Goodman, Jr., SS; Abby Henderson, Jr., P.
Other returning letterwinners: Kaitlin Fangmann, Sr., C; Kylie Heisdorffer, Jr., P; Kaitlin Klosterman, Soph., INF; Kyra Stoll, Jr., OF; Lauren Upchurch, Soph., P.
Newcomers to watch: Miranda Jones, 8th, INF; Cynthia Hull, 8th, INF.
Headliner: Northern Iowa recruit Taleah Smith is one of the top leadoff hitters in the state and is coming off an all-state season in which she led West High with a .490 batting average and ranked third in Class 5A with 47 stolen bases.
Keep an eye on: Freshman Brylee Klosterman is poised to establish herself as one of the best hitters in the Mississippi Valley Conference after hitting .411 with 10 doubles and four home runs as an eighth grader.
Circle the date: X
Outlook: West High won 31 games last season but came up one win shy of a state tournament berth for the second consecutive season falling to Davenport West in the regional final.
The Women of Troy return six starters from last year’s squad led by Smith, Klosterman and seniors Skylar Ryan and Darby Donovan. Junior pitcher Abby Henderson will take on a bigger role this season after going 14-4 with a 2.05 ERA last year.
Clear Creek Amana
Coach: Matthew Trosky (1st season)
Assistant coaches: Jackson Litterer, Blake Wilson, Katie Wyman, Jamie Henze, Lexi Kinnaird
Last season: 19-22, 10-6 WAMAC West
Returning starters: Claire Navara, Sr., INF; Abbi Kinnaird, Sr., INF; Karsyn Stratton, Fr., INF; Rileyn Hennes, Jr., OF.
Other returning letterwinners: Danielle Wnek, Sr., INF; Taylor Fuller, Jr., OF; Abby Crow, Soph., INF; Ainsley Schrock, Fr., C/INF.
Newcomers to watch: Raina Henze, Fr., P/INF.
Headliner: Senior Claire Navara was a Class 4A third team all-state pick last season when she led the Clippers with a .367 average and had 10 doubles and 24 RBI.
Keep an eye on: After a strong debut season last summer Karsyn Stratton is looking for a breakthrough this summer. Stratton hit .340 with 25 RBI and 34 stolen bases last season.
Circle the date: June 23 and 24 the Clippers host their own tournament at the U of I Softball complex.
Outlook: Clear Creek Amana will be under new leadership this season as Matthew Trosky takes over for Barb Lynn. Navara, Stratton and senior Abbi Kinnaird give the Clippers a strong infield to build around. To surpass 23 wins for the first time in the five seasons Clear Creek Amana will need to develop pitching depth as all three pitchers to record an out last season have graduated.
Coach: Jim White (5th season)
Assistant coaches: Jodie Scheetz, Maliah Fligg, Fran Strub
Last season: 34-10 (Class 3A third-place)
Returning starters: Bryn Hanrahan, Sr., OF; Jess Heick, Sr., 3B/1B/OF; McKenna Miller, Sr., P; Tara Lance, Sr., 2B; Haley Kluesner, Sr., RF; Madison Rogers, Jr., 3B; Taylor Ryan, Soph., OF; Taylor Moore, Soph., SS;
Other returning letterwinners: Jadyn Jeter, Fr., 1B; Kayla West, Fr., P.
Headliner: Iowa State recruit Bryn Hanrahan is already a four-time all-state selection with more 230 career hits and is coming off a season in which she hit .438 with 53 runs and 42 RBI.
Keep an eye on: Senior pitcher McKenna Miller went 22-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 167 2/3 innings last season and was pitching her best at the end of the season allowing just two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings at the state tournament.
Circle the date: June 28 at Mount Vernon could be a double header that determines the WAMAC East division champion.
Outlook: A year after winning the Class 3A state title Solon finished third at the state tournament last season and brings back six full-time starters from that team that won 34 games.
Hanrahan headlines the list of returners along with senior Jess Heick, junior Madison Rogers and sophomores Taylor Ryan and Taylor Moore. Senior’s Tara Lance and Haley Kluesner are back with starting experience along with Miller.
Coach: Jon Prottsman (18th season)
Assistant coaches: Kerry Feuerbach, Bridget McCune, Julie Nelson, Morgan Goedken
Last season: 28-18, 13-5 RVC (Class 2A runner-up)
Returning starters: Emma Corkery, Sr., OF; Sarah Lehman, Sr., P/INF; Emily Bonnett, Jr., INF; Katie Bracken, Soph., P/INF; Jess Hunter, Soph., OF; Maeve Dunne, Soph., C; Carrigan O’Connor, Soph., OF; Clare Dunne, Jr., UTI.
Other returning letterwinners: Paisley Gardney, Jr., P/OF; Taylor O’Connor, Jr., INF.
Newcomers to watch: Isabella Nibaur, Soph., OF; Lauren Marth, Soph., INF; Macy Dillon, SOph., OF/INF; Mary Graff, Soph., UTI; Emily Nugent, Soph., OF; Nola Murhammer, Fr., C; Elly Gahan, Fr., INF.
Headliner: Sarah Lehman cemented her status as one of the most dominant pitchers in Class 2A last season going 15-11 with a 1.32 ERA and striking out 293 in 191 innings.
Keep an eye on: Senior Emma Corkery came on strong last season hitting .362 with 25 RBI and 29 runs scored.
Circle the date: June 21vs. Pleasant Valley. The Regals host Class 5A contender Spartans in a single game between hopefully state tournament participants.
Outlook: Regina is seeking its third consecutive state title game appearance after falling to Van Meter in the 2A championship last season. The Regals return more than enough talent to make another title run as Lehman leads a group of eight returning starters. Jess Hunter (.311) and Katie Bracken (.341) both return after hitting better than .300 last season.
Coach: Kevin Kaalberg (4th season)
Assistant coaches: Maddie Kaalberg, Kaitlin Mullarkey
Last season: 16-21, 9-9 RVC
Returning starters: DaLana Kron, Sr., SS/2B; Kaylee Montgomery, Sr., 1B/C; Hanna Tisinger, Jr., P; Kaiya Luneckas, Fr., P/1B/OF; Taylor Thein, Fr., UTI.
Other returning letterwinners: Taylor Tisinger, Jr., INF; Annika Olson, Jr., OF/2B; Courtney Jarrett, Soph., UTI; Mackenzie Heise, Fr., INF.
Newcomers to watch: Chloe Pence, 8th, C/INF; Maddie Hatfield, 8th, C/INF; Lexi Peak, 8th, UTI; Nicki Henson, 8th, UTI.
Headliner: A five-year starter at shortstop, DaLana Kron led the Bears with a .423 batting average last season and scored 27 runs and drove in 18.
Keep an eye on: Hanna Tisinger returns in the circle after going 8-11 with a 2.87 ERA and striking out 76 in 119 2/3 innings last season.
Circle the date: June 2 and 3 West Branch hosts its own two-day tournament.
Outlook: The Bears are looking for a breakthrough in the fourth season under head coach Kevin Kaalberg with five starters returning from a team that won 16 games and went 9-9 in River Valley Conference play. Seniors Kron and Kaylee Montgomery give West Branch an experienced infield duo while freshman Kaiya Luneckas and Taylor Thein return after strong seasons last year as eighth graders.