Junior Hackman was quick to provide a disclaimer.
“We haven’t faced really good pitching so far,” said Hackman, head softball coach at Turkey Valley.
But still ...
The Trojans — 8-0 overall, 8-0 Upper Iowa Conference heading into Wednesday’s doubleheader at Postville — lead the state in all classes with a 14.8-run-per-game average. They have scored in double digits in all eight games.
“We expected to score runs,” Hackman said. “We have six girls back who have been with me all three years, and all of them hit .300 or better last year.”
Turkey Valley doesn’t have a lot of sluggers; Aleah Hackman, who leads the team with 16 RBIs, has the team’s lone home run. Instead, the Trojans rely on hitting the gaps (21 doubles, six by Jalyssa Blazek) and coaxing walks (nearly nine per game).
Jaedyn Winter has walked 15 times. Couple that with a .571 batting average, and Winter owns a .769 on-base percentage and has scored 21 runs.
“We preach to the kids to be selective until they get two strikes,” Coach Hackman said. “And though we’re not hitting home run, we’re looking to shoot the ball into the gaps.”
The Trojans have allowed 5.9 runs per game, but the pitching has been strong. Led by Josie Weber (5-0, 0.79), the staff has a team ERA of 1.75. And with the offensive production (a collective .381), that’s been more than good enough.
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Turkey Valley’s schedule picks up next week; the Trojans close the regular season with MFL MarMac, Decorah and Waverly-Shell Rock.
Carving up the 3A powers
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will release postseason pairings this week, and in Eastern Iowa, the burning question is this — how will the Union slice the area 3A powers?
“We know we’re going to have to play somebody really good before the state tournament,” West Liberty Coach Chad Libby said. “I don’t see any way around it.”
Three-time defending state champion Davenport Assumption is the area ringleader again, unbeaten and ranked No. 1. Four area teams are ranked in the top 10: Williamsburg (12-2) is No. 4, Mount Vernon (12-2) fifth, West Liberty (8-1) seventh and Anamosa (7-1) ninth.
“If we keep winning, we should be in good shape,” Williamsburg Coach Adam Berte said. “If not, we’ll get a tougher draw.”
Williamsburg plays at Mount Vernon on Friday, but that will be after the regional brackets are released.
Based on rankings and geography, one plausible scenario is this:
• Assumption hugs the river and heads south, with a likely regional final against No. 13 West Burlington.
• Williamsburg heads west, and takes No. 14 Solon with it.
• Mount Vernon goes north, with No. 12 Crestwood a potential regional-final opponent.
• West Liberty and Anamosa are assigned to the same region for the second straight year (the Comets won last year’s regional final, 7-2).
But that’s all just one guess.
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