Redhawks softball continues to build

North Tama drops two games in Saturday tournament at home

North Tama freshman Danika Wrage (12) smiles as her teammate, 8th grader Adi Fuller (5) congratulates her on snagging an outfield fly in the top of the third against Iowa Valley on June 4 in Traer. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

With a new head coach – North Tama alumna Kodi Hillman – and a team composed entirely of underclassmen including two rising 8th graders, the Redhawks softball team has been working to rebuild their program.

On Saturday, June 4, the Redhawks hosted a tournament featuring the Lisbon Lions and the Iowa Valley Tigers – losing to both teams in three innings each but showing sparks of talent during both the morning and afternoon games.

Down a starting pitcher – 8th grader Addison Hochstetler – due to injury, it was up to relief pitcher, freshman Briar Blake, and freshman outfielder Faith Dvorak to lead the team from the mound.

After being shut out by the Class 1A No. 2 Lions, 17-0, during the morning game, North Tama kicked off the afternoon game against Iowa Valley on a positive note – allowing zero runs from the Tigers in the top of the first with Blake on the mound and scoring a run in the bottom of the second.

In the words of Coach Hillman during the team huddle following the tournament, getting batters on base and putting one on the board in the first inning against the Tigers led to a general “good feeling” which allowed the players to “relax” and “play better ball.”

North Tama softball head coach Kodi Hillman (center) speaks to her team following their loss to Iowa Valley on Saturday, June 4, in Traer. Hillman, a North Tama alumna, is in her first year as coach of the Redhawks. -Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Unfortunately, the lone first-inning run by sophomore Jamie Jacobs – thanks to a hit by Lydia Taylor – would be the only run for the Redhawks. In the second inning – with a change in pitchers from Blake to Faith Dvorak roughly halfway through – the Tigers scored 16 runs (11 on Blake’s watch, 5 on Dvorak’s), followed by two more runs in the third and leading to a win over the Redhawks, 18-0.

But in the fleeting final moments of North Tama’s time on the field in the top of the third, freshman outfielder Danika Wrage managed to snag a fly ball in truly beautiful fashion for a second out – a play that was met with exuberant cheering and goodwill from the entire team.

Shortstop Lydia Taylor almost immediately answered Wrage’s snag with one of her own – securing an infield fly for the third out.

In the team huddle after the game, Coach Hillman could be heard congratulating Jacobs, Taylor, and Wrage on their positive contributions.

Despite the day’s losses, Hillman said the young team had more things to celebrate that day than they did last week when they suffered shutout losses to Collins-Maxwell and Colo-Nesco.

Catcher Jamie Jacobs pictured on Saturday, June 4, during the Redhawks’ afternoon game against Iowa Valley. Jacobs scored the only run of the day for North Tama during the first inning against the Tigers. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Heading into the week of June 6, the Redhawks were 0-8 on the season with Hochstetler set to return by Wednesday in time for Thursday’s game on the road against Vinton-Shellsburg.


North Tama pitcher Briar Blake winds up on Saturday, June 4, during the Redhawks’ afternoon game against Iowa Valley. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson