Abbie Young of Ellsworth Community College and Hannah Onken of Wartburg are the latest college softball players to join the new Iowa Women's Softball League that will begin this year.
Young and Onken are the 32nd and 33rd players to join the program, which is intended for all active college players in Iowa and for all Iowans who are competing at out-of-state schools.
Seventeen different colleges have at least one player in the league. The list includes Kirkwood, UNI, Coe, Mount Mercy, Luther, Wartburg, Waldorf, Illinois State, Indian Hills, Loras, South Dakota State, Upper Iowa, DMACC, Western Illinois, Southeastern Community College, Indiana State and Ellsworth.
Kirkwood has the most players in the program with eight. There are three apiece from UNI and Coe.
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In addition, the 33 players hail from 25 different high schools. Solon leads the way with four former Spartans in the program and Kennedy has three graduates in the league.
Young, a second baseman, is a freshman at Ellsworth this year. She hit .380 with 19 RBIs at AGWSR High School in Ackley last season and was named second team all-state in Class 1A. Young helped AGWSR win the 1A state title in 2015 and place third in 2013 and 2014.
Onken, a first baseman, is currently a sophomore at Wartburg. She saw spot duty with the Knights last season and is looking to make a bigger contribution this year.
Onken hit .347 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs as a senior at Greene County High School in 2015, when the team finished 32-7 and placed third at the Class 3A state tournament for the second straight year.
Onken participated in softball, volleyball, basketball and track at Greene County, which is located in Jefferson. She was also the senior class valedictorian and a member of the National Honor Society.
The Iowa Women's Softball League has been created by the Metro Sports Report to give college players an opportunity to play in a competitive summer league. It's the only program of its kind in Iowa and is gaining enrollment on a daily basis.
The season will consist of 10 doubleheaders on Sunday afternoons, beginning on Sunday, May 28 and running through Sunday, July 30. All of the games will be played at Kirkwood Community College and Coe College in Cedar Rapids, beginning at 2 p.m. each day.
The goal is to have four teams with at least 12 players per team.
Here are the 33 players who have joined so far:
1. Erin Kuba, Indian Hills (CR Jefferson)
2. Peyton Baskerville, Mount Mercy (CR Kennedy)
3. Tianna Drahn, Northern Iowa (CR Kennedy)
4. Lexi Kinnaird, Kirkwood (Clear Creek Amana)
5. Maddy Ryan, Coe (Linn-Mar)
6. Mallory McArtor, Coe (Mid-Prairie)
7. Taylor Nearad, Kirkwood (Solon)
8. Bria Lenten, Loras (CR Washington)
9. Tawny Menster, Mount Mercy (Anamosa)
10. Maddie Hansen, Kirkwood (CR Jefferson)
11. Megan Bonnett, Luther (IC Regina)
12. Morgan Frost, Kirkwood (Don Bosco)
13. Taylor Kurtz, Waldorf (Mid-Prairie)
14. Haley Jones, Coe (Waterloo West)
15. Morgan Goedken, Wartburg (IC Regina)
16. Alyssa Wiebel, Illinois State (Benton)
17. Monika Bevans, Kirkwood (Solon)
18. Ali Herdliska, South Dakota State (Solon)
19. Erin Drahozal, Upper Iowa (Xavier)
20. Emily Ira, Western Illinois (Solon)
21. Sydney Robertson, DMACC (Vinton-Shellsburg)
22. Lexi Ferrari, Kirkwood (Alleman Catholic)
23. DoniRae Mayhew, Kirkwood (Bettendorf)
24. Morgan Christner, Illinois State (New London)
25. Paige Timmerman, Luther (CR Kennedy)
26. Megan Kublik, Kirkwood (Wilton)
27. Morgan Smith, Southeastern CC (Davenport North)
28. Gabi Carter, Indiana State (Kirkwood/CR Prairie)
29. Taylor Bell, Waldorf (Madrid)
30. Brittney Roby, UNI (DMACC/Twin Cedars)
31. Brooke Craig, UNI (Waterloo Columbus)
32. Abbie Young, Ellsworth (AGWSR)
33. Hannah Onken, Wartburg (Greene County)
Anyone interested in joining the league is strongly encouraged to register now and reserve a spot, even if they have not finalized their plans for this summer. The $100 player fee will be refunded if they are unable to play, with no questions asked.
The entire registration process can be handled on-line. Simply click on the link to the registration form that appears with this story. The Metro Sports Report hopes all players will attend all of the games, but the company will certainly understand if a player needs to miss a few games due to a job commitment, family function, vacation or any other reason.
The league will use a continuous batting order with free defensive substitution, to make sure the playing time is as equal as possible for everyone.
Scholarships are available. All anyone has to do is ask.
The four gold medal sponsors for the Iowa Women's Softball League are Ironside Apparel, Construction Materials, Emil's Hideaway restaurant and the Barracudas AAU softball program. Play It Again Sports of Cedar Rapids is a silver medal sponsor.
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