Area softball squads Albia and North Mahaska each got to finish their softball seasons with success on the state’s biggest stage. Both teams walked off the main diamond at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex winners in a state tournament game.

Even though those wins came in the 3A and 1A fifth-place games respectively, it did little to damper to joyful mood that surrounded the talented players that had worked hard throughout the summer. For a select few talented individuals, the rewards have kept coming in during this final week of the summer sports seasons.

The Iowa Girls Coaches Association recently released their all-district teams for all four classes, teams that are divided into six different teams per class in 1A, 2A and 3A for six different areas of the state. In all four classes, area players were honored for great seasons on the field.

Class 4A, which was divided into four teams, featured three members of the Ottumwa Bulldogs. Senior outfielder Amy Wetrich joined junior first baseman Karie Downing and junior ace pitcher Ali Downing on the 4A’s Central district squad.

Class 3A’s central district includes Chariton’s sophomore shortstop Ashley Stream. In the southeast district, Courier player of the year Jen McDonald joins senior catcher Katie Gravert and sophomore third baseman/pitcher Kylee Coughlin as three Albia Lady Dees to earn spots on the squad.

Fairfield senior ace Ashley Greenig, who will join McDonald at Indian Hills next year, joins senior infielder Erin Liebe in representing the Trojans on the all-district squad. The 3A southeast district team, which is headlined by four members of state champion Clear Creek-Amana, also features Centerville senior outfielder Heather Buttel.

Van Buren senior Abbye Metcalf and Pekin’s Kayla Northup were selected as part of Class 2A southeast all-district squad. In 1A, Twin Cedars had four players selected to the all-south district team with seniors Alyssa Gilkerson, Kelsie Hoehns and Moe Hood joining eighth-grade infielder Lindsey Hoehns as representatives from the district champion Sabers.

Class 1A’s fifth-place squad from North Mahaska had a pair of selections in junior all-state tournament member Kallie Carmicheal and fellow junior Joslin Ferguson. Despite missing most of the first half of the year with a leg injury, Tri-County’s Rebecca Koehn also earned a spot on the 1A southeast district team.

12U Mighty Dawgs takes fifth at USSSA World Series

Softball in Ottumwa definitely has a very bright future. Besides a recent winning trip to the ASA National Tournament by the 10-under Mighty Dawgs, the 12-under squad also competed successfully against some of the best teams in the United States.

The 12U Mighty Dawgs completed their summer with a fifth-place finish in the 61-team USSSA World Series, held in late July in Independence, Mo. The Ottumwa girls played nine games over six days against a field of teams from 13 different states, winning seven contests to finish among the elite in the nation.

Team work and determination were the key factors to leading the Mighty Dawgs to some dominant wins, such as a 12-0 shutout of the Troy Extreme and a 14-2 domination of the Lathrop Lady Mules. Ottumwa also ran away with wins over the Blue Spring Ice (10-2), the Midwest Sluggers (10-2) and picked up close victories over the Indiana Nitro (5-1), and two triumphs over the Tennessee Mayhem (6-3 and 5-4).

A pair of one-run decisions kept Ottumwa from potentially going all the way to claiming the world series title. In-state foe Central Iowa Impact held off the Mighty Dawgs 2-1 before the Pirates outslugged Ottumwa 11-10.

All told, however, Ottumwa made a big offensive impact on the tournament with an average of 8.11 runs a game. By allowing just three runs a game on defense, the Mighty Dawgs finished with the second-best run differential in the tournament.

Congratulations goes out to this 13-girl squad led by head coach Gary Bix and assistants Jim Rushman and Bob Bix. More congratulations goes out to Amy Albertson, who earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Braun inducted into Iowa Babe Ruth Hall of Fame

Albia is now the proud home of two Iowa Babe Ruth baseball Hall of Famers. Norman E. Braun was inducted into the Hall of Fame on a field he helped bring to Albia, going in during a ceremony at the recent 13-year-old Babe Ruth State Tournament held at the Albia Sports Complex on July 22.

Braun was one of the original incorporates of the Albia Sports Complex, which was built in 1984, and has served on the Complex Board since its inception. Braun has volunteered since then to maintain the score boards and other electrical needs and has also been tournament chairman for six state tournaments and seven district tournaments held in Albia.

Braun was a certified umpire at the state, district and local level for many years. The area legend also served as treasurer for Rathbun Area Babe Ruth for 24 years.

Braun joins current Albia head baseball coach Boyd Britain as the only Monroe County recipients to be enshrined in the Iowa Babe Ruth Hall of Fame.

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