The Ottumwa Courier


November 14, 2012

Roark signs with DI Missouri State

OTTUMWA — Olivia Roark became the 12th player in the Ottumwa softball program’s venerable history to go on to play for a Division I school when she signed a letter of intent to play for Missouri State Wednesday at a press conference at Ottumwa High School.

“Olivia is fast and brings solid defense to the team,” Missouri State head coach Holly Hesse said. “She is a slapper who hits the ball where she wants.”

Roark, a lightning-quick, sure-handed second baseman with a knack for hitting slap singles, said her first visit to MSU’s campus convinced her the college would be a good fit for her.

“It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small,” Roark said. “It was the perfect size.”

Also, Roark said the friendliness of the coaching staff further cemented her positive view of the university.

“They [the coaches] seem like they would be very good to work with,” she said.

Roark, a three-sport athlete who was recently named to the CIML Metro All-conference first team in volleyball, is unsure if she will remain in the infield or be moved to the outfield when she suits up for the Bears, but she added that she would be OK either way.

“Outfield would be good for me because I’m quick and I could get to the ball,” Roark said.

She added that she has a strong arm, which will suit her well if she ends up in the outfield.

“I have had infield experience my whole life, so they [the MSU coaching staff] could put me there, too” Roark said. “Wherever they need me to go, I will do my best.”

The Bulldog second baseman will look to sharpen her skills in a few areas during her senior season this summer in preparation for making the transition from high school to college softball.

“I think my throwing needs to improve,” she said.

In addition, Roark added that she would like to improve her quickness, although she’s already extremely quick; and get a little stronger through lifting weights.

If next season’s schedule bares any resemblance to this season’s, Roark will get to test her mettle against some high profile schools next spring. This season the Bears compete against 11 teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. Their schedule includes games against Iowa State, Rutgers, Tulsa, Arkansas, Missouri and Memphis.

MSU, under coach Hesse’s veteran leadership (she won her 600th game in 2012) went 25-26 and 12-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Two games on the Bears’ schedule this year are against Indiana State, which is where Roark’s former teammate Paige Schreiner decided to continue her softball career. If MSU elects to feature Indian State on its schedule again next spring, it will pit the two former teammates against one another.

“That would be interesting,” Roark said.

Roark received first team all-state recognition her junior year and is a three-time all-state selection. In addition, she is a three-time all conference CIML Metro Conference first team selection. Roark boasts a career average of .427, an on-base percentage of .503, and a slugging percentage of .524. Ottumwa coach Frank Huston said her career numbers show how versatile a hitter she is.

Roark’s offensive ability, however, is matched, and maybe eclipsed, by her stellar fielding ability. An eye-opening statistic illuminates the extent of Roark’s infield skills: In 2011, she made only two errors on 136 chances.

While slap singles — she hits grounders in a way that allows her to use her speed to beat the incoming throw to first base —  are Roark’s specialty, she has shown she has the capacity to hit for extra bases when the situation calls for it.

“Outstanding bat control gives Olivia a triple threat offensive game. ...Simply an outstanding defensive second baseman,” Huston said.

Roark’s play helped the Bulldogs advance to the state tournament in 2010 and 2012. While she’s looking forward to her future college career, Roark is still focused on playing a big role in the Bulldogs success this season.

“I’m excited about it and I’m going to do my best,” she said. “I hope we will get to state and do really well.”

Text Only
  • 0726 OTT Sports Twin Cedars baseball photo Twin Cedars ready for state DES MOINES — What a long, great trip its been for the Twin Cedars baseball team and the Sabers don't want the party to end anytime soon. Today, the top-ranked Sabers (33-0) take on Underwood at 11 a.m. at Principal Park in the first round of the Cla

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0726 OTT Sports EBF softball Nataliah Hopkins photo 'What A Ride!' FORT DODGE — Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont's dream of winning a state title was dashed in the Class 2A championship game at Rogers Park on Friday. After beating top-ranked Highland the day before to reach their first state championship game, the Rocke

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0726 OTT Sports Clarke softball photo Clarke takes 3A State Title on walk-off homer FORT DODGE — It was a walk-off win last year in Ottumwa that gave Lindsay Diehl the chance to coach her alma-mater at the Iowa High School State Softball Tournament. This year, a walk-off win made the former Indian Hills standout a state championship

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0726 OTT Sports John Wardenburg photo Wardenburg's first offseason has been a busy one OTTUMWA — As the top assistant coach under Barret Peery, the past three years for John Wardenburg at Indian Hills have kept him plenty busy. Those past three years, however, are nothing compared to how busy the past three months have been since Warde

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0726 OTT Sports Steven Wilson photo Bulldog pitcher climbs ladder of success OTTUMWA — Steven Wilson has come a long way. The senior graduate went from making a couple of obscure appearances on the mound his junior year to becoming Ottumwa's No. 1 pitcher this season. "Steven Wilson has been phenomenal all year long for us,"

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • State Baseball Tournament Saturday Class 1A Quarterfinals No. 1 Twin Cedars (33-0) vs. Underwood (22-7), 11 a.m. (104.9 FM KBOE) Tuesday Class 3A Quarterfinals No. 5 Fairfield (30-7) vs. Dallas Center-Grimes (22-14), 8 p.m. (95.9 FM KKFD)

    July 25, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Sports Ottumwa baseball photo OHS seniors help turn season around OTTUMWA — From 0-4 to 25-16.This is the story of the Ottumwa baseball team. Yet, beyond the numbers is the story behind the story; the pivotal reasons the Bulldogs were able to rescue their season from oblivion and finish with a respectable record.“T

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa High School State Baseball Tournament CLASS 1A Friday, July 25 Quarterfinals 11 a.m. — Newman Catholic (34-3) vs. BGM (25-2) 1 p.m. — Don Bosco (30-3) vs. Martensdale-St. Marys (34-7) Saturday, July 26 Quarterfinals 11 a.m. — Twin Cedars (33-0) vs. Underwood (23-7) 1 p.m. — Gehlen Cathol

    July 24, 2014

  • State Softball Tournament Thursday Class 2A Semifinals No. 5 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 6, No. 1 Highland 2 Class 2A Championship No. 5 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (26-5) vs. No. 2 Earlham (30-4), 12:15 p.m. (Diamond 1, Mittera Field) RADIO: 96.7 FM KIIC and 104.9 FM KBOE

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Sports Fairfield baseball photo Party Like It's 1979! FAIRFIELD — Not since the late 1970s had Fairfield ever seen a party like the one that took place on the diamond shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday night. There were players. There were coaches. There were fans clad in orange and black. They all came tog

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Sports photo reprints