Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

The best of big school softball

Aug 03, 2017
Haley Beard

The race for the Southeast Conference title in both baseball and softball came down to the final week of the season, a testament to its quality of competition.

The newspapers that comprise the Golden Triangle News Service — The Fairfield Ledger, The Washington Evening Journal and The Mt. Pleasant News — have chosen the best players from our coverage area. Induction onto one of the All-GTNS teams is based on every facet of a player’s game: hitting, fielding, baserunning and pitching.

Today, we focus on the “big schools” in softball: Fairfield, Mt. Pleasant and Washington. On Friday, we will highlight the top players in baseball.

Coach: Troy Mears, Mt. Pleasant — 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 Ft. Dodge.

Captain: Bailey Johnson, Sr., Mt. Pleasant — There weren’t many players in the state of Iowa this season as dangerous as Bailey Johnson.

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: Cali Liechty, Sr., Mt. Pleasant — 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.

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: Haley Beard, Sr., Fairfield — Despite nursing a sore arm the latter part of the year, 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. She hit .324 and slugged two home runs.

Catcher: Sara Trent, Sr., Fairfield — Trent was the 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.

Infield: Ashtyn Drish, Jr., Fairfield — Outfielders backed up a few steps when they saw Drish step to the plate. She 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: Kenady Waugh, Sr., Fairfield — Waugh 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.

Infield: Jessie Buchholz, Sr., Washington: Buchholz 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.

Outfield: Brynna Bowman, Sr., Fairfield — Bowman is the perfect contact hitter to leadoff 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: Chi Glaha, Jr., Mt. Pleasant — Junior outfielder Chi Glaha 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: Kaylee Watson, Sr., Fairfield — Watson is one of the best center fielders 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: Shay Drish, Fr., Fairfield — Shay Drish 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.

Utility: Sarah Moffett, Sr., Mt. Pleasant -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: Anni Liechty, So., Mt. Pleasant -She’s only a sophomore, but short stop Anni Liechty has been a staple in the 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: Molly Sparks, So., Washington — Sparks 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 innings of work. As a batter, she scored seven runs, had four RBIs and had a .263 batting average.

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