NIACC softball team off to fast start

By KIRK HARDCASTLE

NIACC sports information director

MASON CITY - The NIACC softball team is off to a fast start offensively in the young 2018 season.

NIACC (5-3 overall) averages 13.125 runs per game in its first eight games, including a 25-1 win over RCTC and a 27-0 win over Century College.

The 13.125 runs per game leads all NJCAA Divison II teams. The Lady Trojans also rank first in NJCAA Divison II in hits per game (13.6) and doubles per game (4.4).

"Our kids have really bought in to what we are trying to do offensively," first-year NIACC coach Dan Gratz said. "Our ball efficiency has been good - meaning we are not swinging at very many pitches out of the zone, leading to a ton of hard hit balls.

"The players have a great plan at the plate and each player is focused on being their best self."

The Lady Trojans also rank sixth in NJCAA Division II in overall batting average (.462), sixth in on-base percentage (.531) and seventh in slugging percentage (.674). They rank fifth with 35 doubles and eighth with 37 stolen bases.

Sophomore Morgan Thesing-Ritter is hitting .607 with two doubles, two triples, 10 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Also for the Lady Trojans, sophomore Courtney Johannes is hitting .519 with eight doubles and 13 RBIs.

Freshman Kaitlyn Carlson leads NIACC with 13 RBIs. Freshman Kaci Sherwood has 12 RBIs and five doubles.

"We have a group of players working to get the ball in play to use their speed," Gratz said, "and a group of players working to hit the ball out on every swing.

"One thing all of our players do is run the bases extremely well. They trust us coaches and go until we stop them."

NIACC, which returns to action Friday in a doubleheader, at Southeast CC in Beatrice, Neb., is slated to play 14 games on its spring break trip with games in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. The Lady Trojans' home opener is scheduled for March 24 against Northeast CC.

Gratz, who was the director of softball operations at the University of Iowa last season, said he likes what he sees out of his team through the first eight games.

"The start of the season has been fun," he said. "The only thing I have been a little surprised by is how much our players are trusting what we wanting them to do offensively.

"I knew coming in that it was going to be a struggle to gain their trust as we implemented some things that are a little bit different than the norm."

NIACC'S 2018 season (5-3)

NIACC 13, Viterbo University 12

Viterbo University 9, NIACC 6

NIACC 25, RCTC 1

Southeastern 9, NIACC 6

NIACC 15, Bryant & Stratton (Wis.) 7

Southeastern 12, NIACC 0

NIACC 27, Century College 0

NIACC 13, Century College 1

NIACC LEADERS

HITTING

Batting average (minimum of 20 at-bats) - Morgan Thesing-Ritter .607, Courtney Johannes .519, Alyssa Laxson .500.

Hits - Johannes 13, Thesing-Ritter 17, Johannes 14, Kaitlyn Carlson 12, Laxson 12, Kaci Sherwood 12.

Doubles - Johannes 8, Katie Chapman 5, Sherwood 5.

Triples - Thesing-Ritter 2.

Home runs - Johannes 1, Sherwood 1, Laxson 1.

RBIs - Carlson 14, Johannes 13, Sherwood 12.

Stolen bases - Thesing-Ritter 14, Carlson 7, Shelby Low 6.

PITCHING

Wins - Johannes 3-1.

Innings pitched - Johannes 18 2/3.

Strikeouts - Johannes 25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 1 DMACC sweeps NIACC
April 22, 2018 No. 1 DMACC sweeps NIACC
Indian Hills sweeps NIACC
March 19, 2018 Indian Hills sweeps NIACC
NIACC splits pair of games
February 25, 2018 NIACC splits pair of games
NIACC splits pair with Viterbo
February 16, 2018 NIACC splits pair with Viterbo