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Waukee softball places ten on All-Conference list

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
Waukee softball ended up placing ten on the All-Conference list for the 2020 season. That included first-team selections Natalie Wellet, Reagan Bartholomew, Heidi Wheeler, and Elly Bates. Also included were second-team selections Macy Weiss, Ella Parker, and Mikayla Hannam along with honorable mention honorees Claire Fossell, Sami Felt, and Ashley Smith. PHOTOS BY ANDREW BROWN/DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

The CIML conferences might not have crowned official champions in 2020, but that hasn’t stopped conference honors from arriving just the same. The Warriors were honored for their 12th state-bound season with ten individuals earning All-CIML-Iowa honors.

The makeup included four first-team selections, three second-team selections, and three honorable mention honorees.

First Team:

The four first-team All-Conference members for Waukee included Natalie Wellet, Reagan Bartholomew, Heidi Wheeler, and Elly Bates. Those four along provided a lot of firepower for head coach Carrie Eby and staff to work with through the 2020 campaign. From those four players alone came a collective batting average of .402, one of the best marks among first-team All-Conference members. The foursome accounted for a lot of Waukee’s potent offense including 48 percent of the teams’ extra-base hit totals and 41 percent of the teams’ overall offensive production (72 RBI). They created just as much havoc on the base paths, swiping 40 bases on the year, exactly half of the overall base stealing production for the Warriors.

One of the many obvious choices for first-team membership was Bartholomew. The sophomore swung a strong bat which ended up ranking fourth in the conference in home runs (7) and fifth overall in the conference in RBI (31). Bartholomew wrapped up her season with a .385 batting average and 73 total bases earned, not to mention going 2-for-4 in state tournament play.

Heidi Wheeler was a Swiss army knife, capable of excelling in the field, inside the batters’ box, and on the base paths. The junior ranked second in the conference field with 22 stolen bases on the year. Inside the batters’ box, Wheeler ranked fourth in overall hits (45) and tied for third in the conference with 32 singles on the season, not to mention tied for first in triples (4). While out in the field, Wheeler didn’t let much get by her, producing 63 assists on the year, second only to Valley’s Alex Honnold with 71.

It’s hard to direct the defensive flow of a game but Waukee’s Natalie Wellet seemed to do so with ease. Her 184 put outs on the season ranked second in the conference while her 30 singles offensively ranked as the sixth-best mark among conference hitters. Wellet sported a .421 batting average when all was said and done with the season complete with 19 RBI and 60 total bases earned.

Inside the circle, only one conference pitcher bested Waukee’s Elly Bates’ 85 strikeouts on the year. Through 93 innings pitched, the junior held opposing bats to a mere .170 batting average while sporting a 1.42 ERA, all of which rank top-five or better within the conference.

Second Team:

The four three members of the second-team list for Waukee include Macy Weiss, Ella Parker, and Mikayla Hannam.

Staying true to Waukee’s power game, junior Macy Weiss struck for ten doubles on the year, part of 16 total extra-base hits on the season. That helped Weiss land a .422 batting average complete with 24 RBI and 35 total hits on the season. Hannam is also deserving of being in the conversation as she produced 15 RBI through 23 games played. The junior tagged a .378 batting average and recorded 34 total bases for the 2020 campaign. Parker’s 2020 campaign was an All-Conference worthy one. The sophomore struck .373 for her batting average and drove in 17 runs, the fifth-best mark in among the Waukee lineup.

Honorable Mention:

The three honorable mention honorees for the Warriors included Claire Fossell, Sami Felt, and Ashley Smith.

Fossell’s 2020 campaign included a .400 batting average complete with 26 hits and eleven RBI. The junior also had 31 put outs for the season. Whenever Bates wasn’t pitching for the Warriors, Sami Felt was there to keep things strong inside the circle. Felt’s 10-1 record ranks fourth among the conference list. Through 59 innings pitched, the junior struck out 26 batters while holding opponents to a .259 average themselves. For Smith, her fielding was a very strong point for Waukee with 18 put outs and a team second-best 42 assists on the season.

Although it didn’t end in a state title, the Warrior softball team has a lot of title excitement for next season with over 95 percent of their offensive production returning for the 20201 campaign.