CENTERVILLE — Former Centerville all-state athlete and graduate Kolton Gonnerman died on Friday night after a single-vehicle rollover accident.
Appanoose County authorities responded to a report of the crash in the 25000 block of Highway 2 east of Centerville on Friday night. Gonnerman, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Appanoose County Sherriff’s Office.
Gonnerman was the driver and owner of the 2008 Chevrolet pickup that was headed west on Highway 2. The preliminary investigation indicates that Gonnerman lost control of the pickup while negotiating a curve. The vehicle left the road on the north side and rolled before coming to rest in a ditch.
Thatcher Carel, 25, of Seymour, was a passenger in the vehicle. Carel was seriously injured in the crash and transported to MercyOne Centerville Medical Center before later being taken by ambulance to a Des Moines hospital.
No further details of the crash are being released at this time.
Gonnerman graduated from Centerville High School in 2014. As a senior, Gonnerman earned Class 3A all-state third-team honors from the Iowa Newspaper Association as a pitcher, going 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA as the staff ace for the Big Reds, who finished with a perfect 19-0 record in the South Central Conference and advanced to the Class 3A substate finals in the 38th and final season for head coach Bill Huisman.
Gonnerman played baseball at Marshalltown Community College, appearing in 11 games for the Tigers in 2015, making five starts. As a freshman, Gonnerman posted a 3-2 record, striking out 31 batters in 29.1 innings of work and boasted a 3.07 earned run average.
“Kolton was always very dedicated at being an ambassador for MCC. Students loved him, and he was seen as a role model on campus,” said Angie Redmond, the school’s dean of enrollment and student services. “He had amazing energy in everything he did.”
Gonnerman was named to the NJCAA All-Region XI Honorable Mention team as a freshman. During his sophomore season at Marshalltown, Gonnerman played and started in 11 games, posting an 8-1 record while striking out 63 batters.
“Kolton really blew up his sophomore year. He wasn’t perfect, but when he was pitching it was as close as you could get,” said Rich Grife, head coach for Gonnerman during his time at Marshalltown Community College. “I could go on and on about him. I have heard from dozens of his teammates, which says a lot about him and the relationships he had at MCC.”
Gonnerman is the only player in Marshalltown Community College baseball history that played for the USA Junior College team, achieving the honor the summer after his sophomore year. He also fielded more offers from four-year schools than any MCC player to Grife’s knowledge, ultimately transferring to Missouri State University before finishing his college education at Upper Iowa University.
“Kolton had an amazing career at MCC, but more than that he was a great teammate and a relentless worker,” Grife said. “His personality was so infectious people were attracted to him which made him a strong leader. No matter how good or bad things were he always wore a grin on his face. He treated his coaches and teammates as if they were a second family.”