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Precocious Myers making a name for herself

Submitted photo Mariah Myers is an eighth grader at the Fort Dodge Middle School.

Mariah Myers is learning the ropes as a 13-year-old softball talent with a big bat and even bigger love for the game.

The next stop in her adventure may be a spot on the field with the odds-on-favorite to win this year’s state championship.

Myers recently completed her first season with the Iowa Premier Gold Fastpitch 13U travel squad, which played games across the midwest and beyond every weekend this fall. The Fort Dodge eighth-grader showed prodigious power, hitting over 30 home runs between her 2020 campaigns with the locally-operated Freedom Fastpitch and Iowa Premier ballclubs.

“It was really fun getting that kind of experience (beyond) just what we normally see in Iowa,” said Myers, who has only been playing competitive softball for four years. “We went to Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. We faced a lot of tough competition and lost sometimes, but it was a great opportunity to challenge ourselves.

“It helped me personally gain confidence, but also showed me what I have to do to get better.”

Myers predominantly saw time this past season at shortstop, third base and catcher, though she added, “I don’t really have a preference and will play anywhere.”

Iowa Premier 13U went 39-7-1 overall against 14U competition. Myers batted .524 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI, with a .961 slugging percentage and .606 on-base percentage. She led the team in each of those categories.

Premier 13U was coached by Carlos James, a former University of Iowa defensive back and the 1991 Holiday Bowl defensive MVP.

“Coach (James) helped me a lot and held me accountable,” Myers said. “I’m just really looking forward to playing for Coach (Andi) Adams and the Dodgers. I’ve been watching them closely since I was 9 years old and going to games, dreaming of playing (varsity softball at FDSH).”

Myers also plays basketball and volleyball, even though softball is her first love.

“It helps me stay coachable and keeps me in shape,” Myers said. “Softball is my favorite, but I learn a lot about myself playing other sports, too.”

Myers has made the most of her long and sometimes-arduous softball journey so far. It’s allowed her to spend time on the road with her family as she hones her craft.

“Our relationship has gotten stronger through softball,” said Myers, the daughter of Fort Dodge’s Bill and Giselle Myers. “My dad pushes me to be the best I can be. It’s been really fun. I’m willing to keep working hard, and do whatever it takes to get to that next level.”

The Dodgers were a Class 5A state runner-up last summer, and are scheduled to return nearly their entire lineup intact in 2021. Myers may be a candidate to see time at first base, where senior all-stater and school home-run queen Loghen Schnetzer has graduated.

Middle school student-athletes are allowed to participate in summer activities at the high-school level upon completion of their eighth-grade year.

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