Gaels eager to pick up where they left off
Nick Clark provided the St. Edmond softball program with the right kind of kick last summer.
In his first season as head coach, Clark directed the Gaels to a dozen wins and within a game of qualifying for the Class 1A state tournament.
In year two, the expectations only grow for St. Edmond, which returns nearly its entire roster intact.
“These girls just have a confidence about them now,” said Clark, a former all-state baseball and basketball player for the school. “While we do have several players back, I remind them every single day that every position is an open battle and we’ll do what’s best for the team.”
The lone 2017 graduate, Megan Flattery, was a mainstay in the lineup for five fully years. Flattery finished her SEHS career by leading the team in batting, homers, RBI, hits, runs scored and slugging percentage, and she committed just one error in the outfield.
Replacing Flattery’s leadership will be lone senior Audrey Kolacia, another outfield staple who batted near the top of the lineup last season. Kolacia hit .308 with 16 steals, 21 runs, 17 walks, six doubles and drove in another six.
“Audrey had a huge offseason,” Clark said. “She’s been in the weight room since October and is much stronger and more confident. She’s definitely a vocal leader for us, and I’m really hoping we can send her out with a great season.”
Freshman Ella Vratny made a splash as an eighth-grader, posting eight wins with 91 strikeouts inside the circle. She pitched 156 innings.
Clark will also look to junior Chloe Lewison to help spell Vratny, as Lewison had a strong season pitching junior varsity last year. She made two starts with the Gael varsity, going 1-1 with a pair of strikeouts.
“Ella is only going to keep getting better, because she is a tireless worker,” Clark said. “We’ll try to keep her fresh, though, because we do have a great backup option in Chloe … and even Jacque (Oberg) can come in and pitch.”
Junior Erin Flattery and sophomore Jocy Timmerman — who turned the game-ending double play in a regional upset of Newell-Fonda last year — return. Flattery hit .457 with 15 steals, 14 RBI, six triples and six doubles, with Timmerman batting .347 with 18 RBI and nine doubles.
“Erin is the person we are going to count on for the big hit when we need it,” Clark said. “And with Jocy, it is just incredible to think she’s only a sophomore. I really appreciate how hard she works and how she truly comes to practice each day looking to get better. She’s also been a great leader for us.”
Oberg and Macey Mason, juniors, both batted over .300 with a combined nine doubles, 26 RBI and 19 steals. Rylee Kinney, a 10th-grader, had 17 hits and scored 19 runs.
Timmerman, Flattery, Kinney and Oberg all posted field percentages above .933.
“We’ve got some girls moving around into new positions, but I am confident in what they can do,” Clark said. “I really feel like each and every single girl on this team is a five-tool player and can handle anything thrown at them.”
Kacey Kruthoff, a classmate of Vratny’s, returns at catcher after throwing out 14 of the 38 attempts to steal on her. She also collected 12 hits and drove in six. Cambrie McBride will also see time behind the plate, along with taking on a super-utility role.
“Kacey and Cambrie both had big years for us last season and I expect more of the same,” Clark said. “Kacey is just naturally talented and has all the ability in the world. Cambrie has gained a lot of self-confidence and I’m excited to see that transfer over to the field.”
St. Edmond swiped 102 bases and had 61 extra base hits last year, averaging almost five runs per game. They went 7-4 in games decided by one run or less, including wins in three of their last four one-run games.
Clark will again be assisted by Tara Kesling-Scanlan, with Lexi Miller coaching the middle school program.
ST. EDMOND SOFTBALL
Senior — Audrey Kolacia.
Juniors — Chloe Lewison, Macey Mason, Erin Flattery, Devyn Scott, Jacque Oberg.
Sophomores — Rylee Kinney, Jocy Timmerman, Cambrie McBride, Josephine Perry.
Freshmen — Kacey Kruthoff, Ella Vratny, Sydney Engels.
Eighth-graders — Gracie Harvey, Elly Berry, Alyson Nieland.
May 21 — Newell-Fonda; 22 — at Southeast Valley; 23 — Webster City; 24 — Pocahontas Area; 30 — Humboldt.
June 1 — at Iowa Falls-Alden; 4 — Algona; 6 — at Clear Lake; 7 — Alta/Aurelia; 8 — at Clarion-Goldfield/Dows; 11 — at Webster City; 12 — at Eagle Grove; 13 — Hampton-Dumont; 15 — at Hampton-Dumont; 18 — at Humboldt; 19 — at Saydel; 20 — Iowa Falls-Alden; 21 — Greene County; 22 — Clarion-Goldfield/Dows; 25 — at Algona; 27 — at Clear Lake; 28 — at North Union.