CEDAR RAPIDS — Avery Guy is ready to return to softball competition.
The last time she played an organized game was March 7, closing the shortened season with a three-game hit streak and starting 19 of 22 games in her first year at Iowa.
She’s excited to step back into action Sunday.
”A lot of my teammates from Iowa, being out of state, they don’t get the opportunity that a lot of us girls here in Iowa are getting to play in the summer, so it’s really nice to get back into it, especially after a three-month break,” Guy said. “I’m looking forward to it, for sure.”
Guy will be one of 60 players on four teams, ending their hiatus from playing in the Iowa Women’s Softball League this summer. The college-aged players from across the state and programs from as distant as Florida will get to compete again after their spring season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league consists of players from every college level, including NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA divisions. Guy will begin her third summer in the league and has joined from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first two followed seasons at DMACC before she moved on to play for the Hawkeyes’ NCAA Division I program.
“It’s a great variety throughout all the teams in the league,” Guy said. “It’s just fun. it doesn’t matter if you’re D-I or juco. ... Really, when we play each other the level of your school is not important at all.
“Everybody is so competitive. Everybody has good skill. It’s just really nice to see a variety of things you might not see just playing at one level for a whole season.”
Guy will play on a team with fellow Hawkeye Kate Claypool, a former Des Moines Roosevelt prep. She will be among a few J-Hawks involved, including former teammate and South Dakota State player Lindsey Culver. The camaraderie and social interaction are a perk.
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“I’ve been able to play with people I’ve known in high school and growing up, but I’ve been able to meet a lot of other really awesome girls through that league,” Guy said. “It’s a good chance to keep up and also have fun with new people.”
In her first season at Iowa, Guy played third base and contributed to Iowa’s Big Ten Conference leading .976 fielding percentage. She also led the team in walks, reaching base in six straight games at one point. Guy had a two-run home run in the Hawkeyes’ 4-3 extra-inning victory over Virginia Tech. She went 1-for-2 with a walk in the last game — a 1-0 victory over Ohio University that improved Iowa’s record to 17-5.
“It was quite a transition at the beginning, coming from a junior college to such a big university as Iowa,” Guy said. “The coaches and team were super welcoming to me. The team chemistry was awesome. I got to know the girls really fast. We had a blast. We were looking forward to turning the program around, which is what we were doing. It was a bummer to find the season was canceled.
“Like any other player, I was definitely hard on myself in the beginning. Just knowing I can compete at this level was just a really good feeling inside.”
Guy hasn’t been dormant. She has been hitting off a tee to work on her swing and practicing drills. Sometimes it is with her younger brother, Willie. Other times she tries to catch a friend.
The start of the high school season has provided more options, if needed. Guy is starting her third year as a Jefferson assistant. She began the summer after her first college season. The position has provided a new perspective, highlighting the hard work players put in and all of the demands coaches meet to keep seasons running smooth.
“It’s been really cool to coach at Jefferson, especially since I have such a soft spot for that school,” Guy said. “Coming back and being able to coach some of my friends and now I’m coaching with friends that I played with. It’s a really good environment. I love spending my summers there.”
The IWSL will open its fourth season Sunday in Walker with doubleheaders scheduled for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
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