Your Prep Sports
The state softball tournament is schedule to get underway in just a few days.
Before things start rolling at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge next week lets take a look back at some of the best of the season so far.
There was plenty of fantastic softball in the Your Prep Sports area this season and we look back at some of the best performances, moments, players and games from an amazing 2022 season.
Best individual offensive performance: Mischa Reiners against Waterloo East. There were 42 players with five-hit games this season but only two of those performances featured a pair of home runs. That is what Reiners did in a 15-8 win over the Trojans going 5-for-5 with a triple, two home runs, four runs and five RBI.
Best individual offensive performance part II: Aeslyn Massey against Marion. What is more rare than a five-hit, two-homer performance like the one Reiners had against Waterloo East? How about three triples in a game. That is what Massey did in an 8-4 win over Marion going 4-for-4 with three triples and three RBI. Massey had four of her five triples on the season in the season-opening doubleheader against Marion.
Best individual pitching performance: Emma Nibaur against Cascade. In a season filled with impressive pitching performances this may just be the best of the year for the Regina senior ace. Nibaur struck out 13 and allowed just six hits in an 11-inning road shutout of the Cougars.
Best individual pitching performance part II: Ashley Webb against Williamsburg. Webb had her fair share of gems this season but she may not have been better than she was against the Raiders fanning 15 over nine innings while allowing one run on six hits.
Best individual all-around performance: Kinsley Robertson against Cedar Rapids Xavier. What is more impressive throwing a no-hitter or getting three hits? Robertson went ahead and did both in a 15-0 win over the Saints going 3-for-4 with two RBI and striking out seven in a 5-inning no-hitter.
Best clutch performance: Lanie Meyer against Camanche. How about this for a game with your season on the line? The freshman first baseman reached base in all five at bats, going 3-for-3 with two home runs, three RBI and a pair of walks in a 11-10 loss to Camanche in the regional opener for both teams.
Biggest upset: City High over Bettendorf. The Little Hawks scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning to win at ninth-ranked Bettendorf 4-3 in a regional semifinal. The Bulldogs entered the postseason winners of 12 of their last 13 games and shared the Mississippi Athletic Conference regular season title with Muscatine.
Best game: Regina against Liberty High. A couple of ranked teams and two of the best teams in the area this season played a fantastic game at the West High tournament at the University of Iowa Complex with Regina scoring a run in the top of the 10th to win 3-2.
Most improved player: Regina sophomore Gabby Sueppel. A .207 hitter last season in her varsity debut season Sueppel batted .344 with a home run and 19 RBI in her first season as the full time shortstop for the Regals.
Biggest hit: Regina sophomore Avery Kies against East Marshall. An infield single to lead off the first inning by Kies proved to be the difference in a 1-0 regional final win for the Regals that featured just seven hits.
Most versatile: Liberty High junior Kennedy Daugherty. One of the top two-way threats in Class 5A Daugherty won this award last season and continued to build on her already impressive skillset as a junior. It’s not just about position flexibility, Daugherty can hit for average (.314), power (25 extra-base hits, 9 HR) as well as pitch (2.54 ERA, 90 K in 129 2/3 innings) and defend.
Unsung hero: City High senior Sydney McCleary. City High exceeded expectations in 2022 and while she wasn’t on a bunch of postseason award lists McCleary was a big reason why. In the first extended action of her career the senior catcher hit .317 with three home runs and 31 RBI and tied for the team lead with 13 walks.
Under the radar standout: West High senior Maddie Caylor. The most improved player on this list a year ago, Caylor proved last season was no fluke posting an even better year as a senior hitting a team-high .400 with three home runs and 29 RBI.
Most patient player: City High senior Kylie Cronk. Waiting her turn behind a pair of all-staters in Ayana Lindsey and Ella Cook, Cronk had just nine varsity innings to her credit before her senior season. When she got her chance this summer Cronk was solid going 11-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 114 1/3 innings.
Breakthrough player of the year: Liberty High junior Haileigh Smith. Few players in the state can match the production jump of Smith who went from hitting .233 with seven RBI a year ago to batting .342 and ranking 10th in the state in RBI (52) and 29th in home runs (9) this summer.
Coach of the year: Making the state tournament is difficult and back-to-back trips to state is even more of a challenge but what Angela Kessler did at Regina this season is impressive for more than just the postseason success. Regina graduated six senior starters from last year’s state tournament team and won more games this season going 21-11 while returning to state.
Most consistent player: Liberty High sophomore Mischa Reiners. It is hard to get more consistent than Reiners who started all 42 games for the Lightning, hitting safely in 32 and producing 21 multi-hit games while batting a team-high .418.
Breakout star: City High freshman Avy Lindsey. After hitting .228 last season as an eighth-grader Lindsey flashed her massive potential this year batting .409 with 15 extra-base hits, three home runs and a team-high 43 RBI.
Rookie of the year: Clear Creek Amana eighth grader Brenna Williams. In her first taste of varsity action Williams more than showed she belonged, batting .333 with nine extra-base hits, 27 RBI and 29 runs scored.
Rookie of the year part II: City High eighth grader Molly Carlson. Another first-year player with an immediate impact, Carlson hit .250 in her first varsity season leading the Little Hawks with five home runs and ranking fourth on the team with 23 RBI.
Silver slugger: City High freshman Lianna Hull. A consistent threat at the top of the City High order, Hull emerged as one of the best leadoff hitters in the state this season batting .536 while leading the Little Hawks with 75 hits, 56 runs and 31 stolen bases.
Gold glover: Solon junior Hilary Wilson. Any discussion of Wilson usually starts with hitting as she has been one of the most productive players in the state for the past four seasons but what Wilson brings defensively at shortstop is perhaps even more valuable than what she does in the batters box.
Cy Young: Clear Creek Amana junior Ashley Webb. Webb backed up a breakthrough sophomore season with a stellar junior campaign in which she posted a 13-4 record and 1.45 ERA while striking out 137 in 120 1/3 innings. The left-handed Webb allowed opposing hitters to bat just .181 against her and posted a 1.02 WHIP, giving up 91 hits and 32 walks.
Most valuable player: Regina senior Emma Nibaur. There are more talented players out there than Nibaur and players with better stat lines but it is tough to imagine a player that did more for a team – on and off the field – this season than what the Regals lone senior provided. Nibaur went 15-7 in the circle with a 2.48 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 135 2/3 innings and gave up one run in three postseason starts.
Nibaur also batted .357 with eight doubles and 16 RBI from the cleanup spot.
Most valuable player part II: Liberty High senior Kinsley Robertson. Like Nibaur, Robertson did everything possible to help lead Liberty High to the best season in program history. She had the best season of her career in the circle going 15-7 with a 2.09 ERA in 137 innings and also hit a career-best .449 with 30 RBI.