The Pleasantville Trojans need to replace two graduated seniors off of last year’s squad that posted an overall record of 22-11.
The two missing pieces from a year ago are all-state and all-conference shortstop Andy Sower and utility player Jessica Remster.
The Trojans were 14-1 in the Pride of Iowa Conference and they were league champions.
Veteran Head Coach Jan Haugen and his team will see many new opponents in 2019 as the Trojans are now in the West Central Activities Conference (WCAC).
Returning letter winners and starters back on the Trojan squad in 2019 are seniors, Kenzie Olson (OF), Sydney McKinney (1B), Taylor Foley (C) and Abby DeJoode (P).
DeJoode and Sowers each were first-team All-PoI a year ago. DeJoode was a unanimous pick after posting a pitching recor of 14-7 and carrying a 2.85 ERA against a beefed up schedule.
Other starters back include Bridgette McKinney, junior (2B), Josie Sowers sophomore (CF), Mackenzie McGriff junior (3B), Amber McKinney sophomore (RF) and Faith Vander Hart sophomore (P).
Vander Hart was 8-4 pitching for the varsity with a 5.39 ERA as a freshman.
McGriff was the offensive leader for PHS with 40 RBI and a .358 batting average while earning second-team All-PoI. McGriff only struck out four times in 106 official plate appearances as the cleanup hitter.
Also providing a punch at the plate was Amber McKinney with 53 hits and a .500 batting average, tops on the team. She too was second-team All-PoI.
Vander Hart and Foley were also second-team all league picks in 2018.
Haugen was asked about the strength of the team? “At this point, I would say it is our hitting. Our team hit .376 for the season, tied for third best in Class 2A. All 10 offensive starters hit over .300.
According to the coach the team weakness would be overall speed on the team. However, he said the Trojans will be quicker this year than a year ago.
A few young players are pressing for playing time as well. Among them are Riley Thill, Allysa McConnell, Breanna Benge and Hannah Gibson to name a few.
Being in a new league it was difficult for Haugen to list a league favorite this summer.
He said teams that usually are strong include Van Meter, Earlham, Des Moines Christian, Ogden and Interstate-35.
“All have good pitching and coaching. It should be an interesting conference,” Haugen replied.
The coach added, “I’m not sure what to expect this year, but I know our kids are good solid competitors with good attitudes and they love to play ball. It should be a very interesting season.”
Odds and Ends
In reviewing the Trojan record of 2018, five of the losses were at the hands of two 3A teams, two 4A schools and one 5A.
Haugen coached at Pleasantville in 1984 through 1995. He took some time off and returned to the field as the head man in 2018. He is starting his 14th season at the school in the sport of softball.
The Trojans play in tournaments at Bondurant-Farrar, Woodward-Granger, North Mahaska, Ankeny and Ottumwa.
They also play some of the heavyweights in the state for non-conference action.