SOLON– A little over a year ago Courtney Strang was married to Jim Kovacs, a Winona State baseball pitcher.
Now the newlywed and Solon standout pitcher has been named to the state high school athletic hall of fame after former Coach John Begley, now coaching at Jesup High School, nominated her for the recognition. He called her in March to give her the news.
Courtney, who was surprised by the news, said, “It was a great feeling.” She didn’t even know she was eligible for the honor and was grateful to her former coach for the nomination.
She was in the stands when Solon took a heart-breaking second-place this summer, but called it a good game and the second one she’d seen that season. Kovacs lives in Ankeny and received a call from a recent Solon pitcher she’d coached, Casey Musgrave, about the Lady Spartans’ appearance at the 2012 Urbandale tournament.
It was great to see her old team.
Kovacs said she liked softball in college, but high school was her favorite time for playing.
“I will never forget the memories of high school softball,” she said.
She pitched, played first base and hit for Solon, but in college focused just on pitching. WSU coaches asked her to add several pitches to her repertoire, including a riseball, curve and screwball.
Her throwing arm, cleats and glove don’t see much use these days. She’s now working on her doctorate in physical therapy at Des Moines University.
Kovacs met her husband, Jim, at Winona State where they both pitched for the Warriors.
Courtney started playing in third grade and was named to the all-state first team five times, starting when she was just an eighth grader.
She pitched Spartan teams to two state championships (2003, 2007), plus a couple runner-ups (2005, 2006) and a third-place finish (2004) at the state tourney. During her career at Solon, she compiled a pitching record of 155-19, based on statistics on the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s website.
She thanked her coaches from ASA to high school to college, her teammates, and her parents.
“I’m very blessed to have the honor,” she said, adding that it was all made possible by her parents, “They have been an amazing support system over the years, going to all the practices, camps, and the weekends they gave up to travel to tournaments. They are the reason I would even be able to get this honor.”
Kovacs is on track to receive her degree by 2014.