DES MOINES | Six athletes who competed in last week’s state tournament in Fort Dodge are among 13 from Siouxland who won first-team honors on the Iowa Girls Coaches Association’s all-state softball team.
The battery of pitcher Abby Kraemer and catcher Lily Peterson represented Alta-Aurelia on the Class 2A first team, while Spirit Lake’s two first-team 3A selections were catcher Karli Olsen and shortstop Payton Ahrenstorff. Akron-Westfield shortstop Brynn VanEldik claimed first-team 1A honors while Sergeant Bluff-Luton catcher Madelyn Mogensen was a 4A first-teamer.
A junior who won first-team honors for the second straight year, Kraemer finished the season with 363 strikeouts, which ranked second in the state. Kraemer went 23-4 on the mound with a 1.51 ERA and limited opponents to a .129 batting average.
Peterson batted .507 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs for the Twin Lakes Conference champions, which went 0-2 in their state tournament debut. The senior’s outstanding 1.328 slugging percentage also included eight doubles and four triples.
Olsen finished the season on a 12-game hitting streak for five-time Lakes Conference champion Spirit Lake, which split a pair of state games. The sophomore batted .473 with 22 RBIs and had a .599 on-base percentage that included 32 walks.
Ahrenstorff hit .416 with four home runs and 41 RBIs for a program which last reached the state tournament in 2012. The junior boasted a .640 slugging percentage that included 12 doubles and three triples.
VanEldik improved from second-team status on last year’s IGCA all-state squad. The senior batted .455 with 22 RBIs and was also perfect in 32 stolen base attempts for the Westerners, fourth-place 1A state finishers.
Mogensen batted a team-best .439 for Sergeant Bluff-Luton, which finished fourth in the 4A field. One of four players on the runner-up team from the Missouri River Activities Conference team with at least two home runs, Mogensen also knocked in 26 runs.
Three other Northwest Iowa pitchers also received first-team honors, including Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley senior Kaitlyn Van Der Zwaag (29-3, 0.87 ERA), who was a repeat 3A first-teamer. Van Der Zwaag fanned 254 batters and was also a force at the plate, batting .494 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs.
Denison-Schleswig junior Sarah Heilesen (29-5, 2.11 ERA, 270 SO) moved up from second to first-team honors in Class 4A. Heilesen also shined offensively, hitting .490 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs.
Meanwhile West Monona sophomore Lexi Lander (19-3, 1.59 ERA, 207 SO) also improved from second to first-team status in Class 1A. Lander also batted .475 with seven home runs and 48 RBIs.
Two slugging seniors from the Western Valley Conference also were named to the Class 1A first team, Woodbury Central shortstop Payge Ronfeldt (.442, 6 HR, 30 RBIs) and Kingsley-Pierson’s Bradi Harvey (.429, 7 HR, 35 RBIs).
South O’Brien sophomore first baseman Taryn Hintz (.537, 6 HR, 35 RBIs) won first-team honors in Class 2A, up two spots from the previous season.
West Sioux sophomore shortstop Shayden Blankenship (.447, 22 RBIs) also was selected to the Class 2A first team.