IOWA CITY — For five years, Jeff Kelley led the West High Women of Troy on the softball diamond. He resigned from that post at the end of April for personal reasons, with a 153-58 overall record and 100-30 in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC). Kelley and company made the team’s first-ever State Tournament appearance last year, finishing fourth in Class 5A.
Barb Lynn is the new coach, inheriting a squad with a 37-8 record last season overall and 22-4 in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC). The Women of Troy also earned second place in the Valley division. Lynn has the benefit of five returning starters and seven letter winners coming back. Seniors Lauren Larson, Michaela Recker and Morgan Ryan are back. Larson is an outfielder who earned 2nd Team All Conference honors with a .358 batting average and 36 RBIs. Recker is a catcher and also made the 2nd Team All Conference as well as earning a spot on the Class 5A State All-Tournament Team. Recker batted a .287 last season. Ryan switches between the infield and outfield and had a .354 average at-bat.
Sophomores Madison Miller and Grace Tafolla are back at infield and shortstop respectively. Miller batted .288 last year while Tafolla hit .301.
Returning letter winners include Kailey Klein, Jessie Harder, Taylor Libby, Adara Opiola, Erin Kallsen, Lynn Jehle and Paige Powers. Harder is switching her role to pitcher this season, and Andrea Borman is new to the line-up.
Lynn sees the core of starters as a vital strength this season in a conference race she described as “wide open.” The question mark for the squad at this point is a lack of varsity pitching experience.
The team opened their campaign with a split on the road Tuesday, May 21, at Dubuque Hempstead with a double-header. West dropped the first game 5-4 but took the nightcap 6-2.