It was a banner year for the Southeast Conference as the Fairfield Trojans made a trip to the state tournament and Washington got to a regional final.
Even though perennial softball power Burlington joined the league, the teams in the SEC welcomed the newcomers by letting the Greyhounds tie for second with Fort Madison.
The Trojans were the dominant team in the area and it shows in the players on the 2020 All-Union large school softball team. Of the 14 spots on the team, the Trojans filled half of them.
While some of the positions required some deep dives into the statistics, the coach and captain of the team were easy choices.
Coach: Bob Bradfield, Fairfield
The Fairfield softball team was arguably the toughest squad in southeast Iowa in 2020, denitively one of the eight best in Class 4A and a big part of that was veteran coach Bob Bradfield.
Bradfield led the Trojans to a 24-2 season and a perfect 10-0 in conference play. Fairfield scored regional tournament wins over Fort Madison and Burlington to advance to the state tournament, Bradfield’s seventh time as head coach.
Fairfield was ousted by Dallas Center-Grimes in the state tournament, but the Trojans had a memorable 2020 campaign and set themselves up to once again be a favorite in the SEC next season.
Captain: Allison Rebling, senior, Fairfield
The anchor of the 2020 Fairfield softball team was senior pitcher Allison Rebling, who helped lead the Trojans into Class 4A state tournament.
Rebling went 13-2 in the circle this year with a 1.22 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP, the best marks in the Southeast Conference. She struck out 158 batters and walked just 38. The second-best strikeout total in the SEC was 92. She was deft with the bat as she had twice as many sacrifice bunts as second place in that SEC category (12 to six), hit .319 with four doubles and 15 runs batted in.
Rebling was an integral part of Fairfield’s state run, giving up just two runs each in the Trojans’ two regional tournament wins.
Pitcher: Coty Engle, freshman, Fairfield
Nobody filled the stat sheet like Coty Engle in 2020. Fairfield’s freshman had a fantastic season at the plate and also dominated in the pitcher’s circle.
Engle hit a conference-leading .543 this year, had a conference-leading on-base percentage of .676, and finished the season with nine doubles (first in the SEC) and 23 RBIs (fifth in SEC). In the circle, she went a perfect 11-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 28 strikeouts.
Engle will be a big part of the Fairfield’s core for the next three years as the Trojans look to continue to be a force.
Pitcher: Sydni Coleman, senior, Mt. Pleasant
On one of the more inexperienced Panther teams in recent memory, it helped to have a five-year starter in the circle.
Coleman was in the circle for all four of Mt. Pleasant’s wins this year. She finished the season with a 4.11 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
Coleman was also one of the top Panthers at the plate, hitting .328 on the year. She finished the year with a team-high four home runs, including one inside-the-parker, and also had two doubles, one triple and 14 RBIs.
Catcher: Kaitlyn Mitchell, senior, Washington
Mitchell became the Demons rock this season as they struggled when she wasn’t behind the plate directing the defense. She committed just two errors in 118 chances, a fielding percentage of .983, fourth in the league.
She took over the leadoff spot in the Demon batting order and responded by hitting at a .376 clip and her on-base percentage (crucial in the leadoff spot) was .518, fifth in the SEC. Part of that OBP was finishing second in hit by pitches with five. Mitchell was particular in the batter’s box, placing third in bases on balls with 21. Her 48 total bases were second in the conference and her three home runs tied for fourth.
Infielder: Hannah Simpson, sophomore, Fairfield
The Trojans first baseman brought the power for Fairfield’s Southeast Conference title team.
Simpson was second on the team in batting average and fifth in the league, hitting .432. She hammered two home runs this year and led the Trojans and the conference with 35 RBIs.
After three years playing varsity as an underclassman, Simpson will step into a leader role next year as one of the most experienced Fairfield returners.
Infielder: Shaylin Drish, senior, Fairfield
The Trojans’ senior short stop had another great year in 2020, and it culminated with her third appearance at the state softball tournament in Fort Dodge.
Drish hit .346 at the plate this year, fourth best in the Fairfield lineup. She scored a team-high 40 runs, which was first in the SEC, and ended the year with three doubles, three triples (first in the SEC) and 12 RBIs. She struck out just three times in 78 at bats.
Drish and the 2020 class will go down as one of the most successful groups in Fairfield softball history.
Infielder: Kellie Dallmeyer, junior, Washington
Dallmeyer is a constant on any team that honors the best players.
The Washington shortstop’s total runs batted in was fourth in the SEC at 24. Dallmeyer was third in the SEC in stolen bases. She led the SEC in assists. A batter with an eye for the right pitch, she only struck out two times all year.
Infielder: Cara Linnenkamp, junior, Washington
Linnenkamp did not make this team for her ability as an infielder. While she did play other spots in the infield, it was her bat and her improvement as a pitcher that earned her a nod to the squad.
Linnekamp connected in the batter’s box at the rate of .349 and her on base percentage was .455. She had five doubles and led the Demons in runs batted in at 26, which was third best in the SEC.
She had more walks than strikeouts as a pitcher, but improved over the season. She finished with 65 strikeouts, third in the SEC. In the season’s first appearance she issued 11 walks and three strikeouts. In the playoff opener, she had more K’s than walks, including a strikeout for the last out of the game. In the second-round win, her strikeout for the second out with two on in the bottom of the seventh was vital to the win.
Outfielder: Danielle Breen, sophomore, Fairfield
The Trojan softball team had a solid outfield this season and the girl in the middle was Breen, who manned center field for the SEC champion Trojans.
Breen finished third on the team with a .370 average, hit two home runs and three doubles, and finished the season with 16 RBIs, all while patrolling center on the defensive side of the ball.
Outfielder: Kinsey Duwa, senior, Washington
A center fielder, Duwa could cover a lot of ground to get to a ball and then had a strong, accurate arm to throw for an out.
Duwa was third in the league in runs scored with 31. She was second in the SEC in sacrifices with six and led league in hit by pitches with eight, helping her OBP to .440. She batted .291 and used her speed to finish second in the league in stolen bases with 12. Duwa knew where the throw was coming and would often slide to the base in the one spot the defender could not tag her.
Outfielder: Alexa Mitchell, senior, Washington
Mitchell moved from a starting pitcher to right field this season. Knowing where a batted ball is going is crucial for an outfielder and Mitchell had a knack for getting to that spot. She twice made running over-the-shoulder catches in the first Demons postseason game that led to victory. Mitchell batted .256 with a .354 on-base percentage. She was third on the Demons in RBIs with 17.
Utility: Samantha Broeker, senior, Mt. Pleasant
One of the most dangerous hitters in the Southeast Conference this year was Mt. Pleasant’s senior catcher.
Broeker hit a team-high .463 this season with eight doubles and 12 RBIs. She also drew a team-high 11 walks to finish with a .545 OBP.
Broeker was also a huge part of Mt. Pleasant’s defense, sticking tough at the catcher position for the vast majority of the season, even during conference doubleheaders. She made just a single error all season.
Utility: Peyton McCabe, freshman, Fairfield: Fairfield’s line-drive hitting freshman gave the middle of the Trojan lineup plenty of pop in 2020.
McCabe hit .338 at the plate with four doubles and 19 RBIs. She also caught for one of the top pitching teams in southeast Iowa. Her 171 putouts were first in the SEC.
McCabe was one of six underclassmen to start for the Trojans this year, giving promise to Fairfield’s 2021 team.
The 2020 All-Union softball team members were chosen by Andy Krutsinger and Doug Brenneman.