Iowa Western Reivers

NEWS

Reivers enjoy strong opening weekend in Oklahoma

Reivers enjoy strong opening weekend in Oklahoma

by Pat Donohue - Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil

The Iowa Western softball team had spent only two total hours outdoors prior to its season-opening road trip to Oklahoma.

That didn’t prevent the Reivers from an impressive debut.

IWCC swept Northern Oklahoma-Enid Friday before splitting Saturday with Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa. A five-run Tonkawa seventh inning that was capped by a walk-off home run was all that prevented a 4-0 start for the Reivers.

Still, there was plenty to like. The Reiver offense scored at least five runs in all four games despite seeing limited live pitching.

“I thought we did a good job,” said second-year IWCC coach Ben Greer. “When you go and make your first trip, you’re never sure how it’s going to play out. Until you get out there and start getting after it, you don’t really know what you’re going to see.

“We saw flashes of great defense, pitching and offense. Did we put it all together last weekend? Absolutely not. We did enough to show what we’re capable of.”

Sophomore shortstop Jade Lee (Red Deer, Alberta) returns for the Reivers after garnering NJCAA third-team All-America honors as a freshman, hitting .491 with 12 home runs and 69 RBIs.

Sophomores Patricia Sherman (Little Canada, Minn.) and Alyx Hagen (Kansas City, Mo.) are also expected to have big years. Each homered over the weekend. Sherman, an outfielder, hit .323. last season, and Hagen, who plays first base, hit .340.

“Top to bottom, we can do some nice things, depending on what we need to accomplish out of the lineup,” Greer said. “We’re fairly deep, which is nice.”

Hagen will also contribute in the circle a year after picking up 11 wins in 98 2/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA. Greer will use a rotation that will also feature freshmen Brieanna Brock (Lincoln, Calif.) and Zoe Hicks (Boissevain, Manitoba) along with sophomore Sidney Copeland (Polo, Mo.). The Reivers must find a way to replace the production of reigning Region XI Pitcher of the Year Ellie Ponce, who led the team with 160 2/3 innings and 150 strikeouts in 2016.

Other freshmen expected to make an impact are outfielder Celia Valencia (Riverside, Calif.) and middle infielder Brooke Doumer (Parker, Colo.).

Greer is pleased with how his team handled its first weekend. They saw many different game situations, including a comeback victory after erasing a six-run deficit against Tonkawa. The coach is hoping that is a sign of things to come this spring.

“They know how to play with a lead; they were down 6-0 and came back to win another game,” Greer said. “They just fight. Every pitch, they’re in it. I think we’ll grow and have a very good season, and if we’re playing our best ball in May, this team can do some very special things.”