Adam Berte inherited a six-win softball program when he took over at Williamsburg High School.
Now the Raiders are on the doorstep of a divisional championship.
“It just kind of validates a lot of the things we’ve done here,” Berte said. “A lot of our juniors played as eighth-graders (in 2016, when the Raiders were 6-32). The girls have shown a lot of perseverance.”
The Raiders jumped to 19-20 in Berte’s first year, then 25-15 last season. Thanks to a run of 15 wins in its last 17 games, this year’s edition is 24-9 overall, and in control of the Wamac Conference West Division at 16-4.
“(A divisional title) validates a lot of the things we’ve done,” Berte said.
Williamsburg’s progress this season — the Raiders are ranked No. 14 in Class 3A — has been accelerated by the addition of eighth-grade pitcher Peyton Driscoll (11-5, 1.81 ERA).
“She’s a really talented kid, a hard worker,” Berte said. “We knew she would be good, but I didn’t think she would be this good right away.”
Junior Charley Geguniz is 11-2.
Offensively, six players are batting above .300, led by eighth-grader Elle Ridgeway at .393. Junior Aubray Walters (.355) leads the team in runs (28) and stolen bases (32, in 32 attempts).
Despite 28 strikeouts, junior Jill Holub supplies much of the power. Holub is hitting .359 — “probably over .500 when she puts the ball in play,” Berte said — with nine home runs and 37 RBIs.
Mackenzie O’Neil (.364, 32 runs, 15 steals) is the lone senior.
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will release its postseason pairings by the end of the week. Williamsburg is one of 11 Eastern Iowa teams ranked in the top 15, and Berte said he is “holding my breath a little bit” in awaiting the Raiders’ postseason draw.
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“I feel confident that we can play with anybody,” he said. “We’ll go where they send us, and go play.”
ALL OVER THE LEADERBOARD
In the pitching circle and at the plate, Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Kaylin Kinney is among the very best in the state.
A junior, a University of Nebraska commit and the reigning Gatorade state player of the year, Kinney is plastered near the top of the leaders in numerous statistical categories.
Kinney is a frequent intentional-walk recipient; she ranks No. 2 in bases on balls at 32, but still is tied for fourth in home runs with 11. She is third in slugging percentage (1.222), fourth in on-base percentage (.690).
In the circle, she owns a 13-0 record and is eighth in the state with a 0.53 ERA.
Other area statistical tidbits of note:
• Central City’s Leeah Weber, Madison Tritle and Gabrielle Cruise rank 1-2-4 in hits with 66, 65 and 55 respectively. The Wildcats (24-10) are No. 2 in team batting average at .442.
• Annika Headington of Waukon is the state leader in triples, with eight.
• North Linn’s Abby Flanagan is sixth in ERA (0.47) and eighth in strikeouts (210).
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