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Preview: A team approach hopes to return CCA to softball glory

North Liberty Leader
OXFORD– It’s been several years since the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) varsity girls softball team has held a state championship banner on the diamonds in Fort Dodge. A new group of coaches hopes to end that drought and return the team to one of the premier programs in the state.
Matt Trosky, Jackson Litterer, Blake Wilson, Katie Wyman, Jamie Henze, Craig Stratton and CCA standout graduate Lexi Kinnaird team up to lead the Clippers this season. Trosky, Litterer and Wilson will operate as co-head coaches.
Trosky quickly emphasizes, “The entire staff is equal.”
Trosky was an assistant football coach at CCA for 10 years and has been on the teaching staff since 2012.
“Growing up I had a father who was a head softball coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie (Mike Trosky) and a sister who played in high school and college softball. I’ve always been interested in the sport and wanted to find a way to get involved in it,” he said.
Trosky said Litterer and Wilson were interested in teaming up and coaching the softball program in the wake of Barb Lynn’s departure after three seasons.
“We are all deeply committed to CCA and those guys having a baseball background in high school and at Wartburg, they wanted an opportunity to branch out, develop leadership and get CCA back into its championship form. This is a storied program and it was a great opportunity and the right fit with these two men, who I have the greatest admiration and respect for.”
Trosky added, “We believe in the mantra, ‘collective IQ.’”
All decisions made about the program, he said, will be decisions from the whole staff.
“We have a great group of coaches and personally, I couldn’t be more happy to have entered this enterprise with these two men,” Trosky said. Not only are they great role models with great energy, enthusiasm and leadership, he said, “We each bring something different to the table, and our abilities compliment each other very well.”
A key goal for the trio, Trosky said, is to get back to the Clipper way of softball. “There is no hiding the fact that Jim White (who left CCA softball after the 2012 season to take over Solon’s program) did a remarkable job here and won a lot of ball games. We want to get back to that while developing great young ladies and high-character student athletes. We are excited about what we have going here at CCA.”
The Clear Creek Girls finished last season with a 19-22 record overall and were 10-6 in the WaMaC Conference, good for third place in the West Division.
Seniors Claire Navara and Abbi Kinnaird return to finish out their CCA careers this summer. Navara earned All-Conference, All-District and All-State (third team) honors last year. Both ladies are infielders for the Clippers this year. Kinnaird had 18 hits, scored 16 runs and drove in six RBIs with a .239 batting average. Navara belted out 47 hits with 10 doubles and three triples. She scored 31 runs and batted-in 24 more with a .367 batting average.
Juniors Riley Hennes (outfielder), Taylor Fuller (outfielder) and Danielle Wnek (outfielder) are back, as well as sophomore infielder Abby Crow and freshman Ainsley Schrock. Hennes had one hit last season (a double) and scored 18 runs as a courtesy runner. Fuller scored one run, Wnek scored one run and had three hits, while Crow had one hit and four runs. Schrock joined the team as an eighth-grader and pounded out 30 hits including four doubles and one home run. She scored eight runs with 23 RBI and sported a .313 batting average.
The team lost five seniors: Courtney James, Jacquelyn Fairholm, Skylar Hop, Megan Beckler and Brooke Henze. James had a .236 batting average; Fairholm was a .262 hitter, while Hop went 10-10 in the circle with a 3.41 ERA giving up 157 hits and 58 earned runs for the Clippers. Beckler was 3-8 pitching for the Creek Girls with a 4.82 ERA giving up 107 hits and 53 earned runs. Henze was 6-4 in the circle with a 2.69 ERA, 63 hits and 22 earned runs.
The Creek Girls welcome freshman pitcher Raina Henze to the squad.
“We will be a young team,” Trosky noted. “The WaMaC is always tough. Solon, Benton Community, West Delaware, Mount Vernon and Center Point-Urbana are all very well coached ball clubs that have great players. It will be a battle again this year (for a shot at the top of the conference).
The battle begins on Wednesday, May 24, with a 6 p.m. doubleheader at Dyersville Beckman. The Creek Girls open up McAreavy Field in Oxford on Wednesday, May 31, with a 6 p.m. doubleheader against West Delaware.