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The WaMaC all-conference softball teams were announced last week. I was told when I took this job to keep my opinions out of it and just report the facts. I am finding it exceedingly difficult to keep my opinion out of this one.

Was I the only one that was shocked that Independence Senior Allie Jo Zieser was NOT on the first team? I find it hard to understand why any coach would not vote for Zieser. And the FACTS show it. Let us break this down....

Zieser led the entire WaMaC Conference with a batting average of .575. This alone should have gotten her on the first team. The next closest to her was Alyse Harvey, a shortstop out of Benton with a .524 average.

Zieser’s on base percentage (OBP) was .602. No one on either first team (West or East) was even close to that. Harvey was .557.

Zieser had 46 hits, which leads WaMaC West. Harvey was next closest to her with 43. The girls on the WaMaC East with more hits then Zieser also had 16 to 36 more at-bats than she did. Zieser was at the top of western part of the conference in the following categories:

- Batting average: 1st (.575). Only three girls with 80 or more at-bats (82 girls) in the state of Iowa had a better batting average.

- OBP: 1st (.602). Only three girls with 80 or more at-bats (82 girls) in the state of Iowa had a better OBP.

- Total hits: 1st (46). Sits 12th in the state of Iowa in total hits. Of the 11 girls with more hits, 10 of those girls had 11 to 36 more at-bats than Zieser.

- Runs scored: 5th (25)

- Stolen bases: 3rd (16)

- Total bases: 4th (57)

Zieser struck out just twice in 87 opportunities. There were eight girls in the state of Iowa that had more than 80 at-bats and struck out twice or fewer.

That is only Zieser’s hitting stats. Her fielding was stellar with 187 putouts. Only a catcher from Williamsburg (with one of the best strikeout pitchers in the state) was better with 198. Catchers get putouts for strikeouts. Zieser had 2 errors in 196 chances. Zieser holds the school record for putouts in a career with 1,189.

I will also mention, Zieser was an all-stater last year. And her average this year is .174 points higher than last year’s – on a shortened schedule.

Jill Holub from Williamsburg had a .376 batting average compared to Zieser with a .575 batting average. Same comparison of athletes – Zieser had 46 hits in 80 at-bats, compared to this player’s 32 hits in 85 at-bats.

Voting is not based on position, but pitcher, infield, outfield, and utility. Zieser was nominated as an infielder AND utility. She was not selected first-team at either position.

Independence plays in one of the biggest parks in the state, if not the biggest. No high school softball player is going to hit home runs in Independence.

My question is, has this “process” become political? Are coaches lobbying for their players? Is it a “you vote for my player, I’ll vote for yours?” The vote is a blind ballot, and there is no way to know who voted for who. I can see a coach fighting for their player, but fair is fair and obvious is obvious.

I know I’m biased to Independence athletes, but I did the research and the stats speak for themselves. I’d be the first to tell you if I didn’t believe Zieser deserved it. If you don’t agree, change my mind.

WAMAC WEST DIVISION

First Team

Pitchers – Raina Henze, sr., Clear Creek Amana; Peyton Driscoll, fr., Williamsburg; Catcher – Ainsley Schrock, sr., Clear Creek Amana; Infield – Alyse Harvey, jr., Benton Community; Reagan Schutte, sr., Center Point-Urbana; Jill Holub, sr., Williamsburg; Outfield – Kora Katcher, soph., Center Point-Urbana; Jaida Lyons, 8th, Benton Community; Ryanna Hanson, fr., Center Point-Urbana; Utility – Sophia Kreutner, fr., Vinton-Shellsburg; Gabrielle Bedford, jr., Clear Creek Amana.

Player of the year – Driscoll.

Second Team

Pitchers – Katelyn Buscher, jr., Benton Community; Jayden Kennebeck, jr., Williamsburg; Catcher – Carly Campbell, jr., Williamsburg; Infield – Emma Townsley, 8th, Benton Community; Aubray Walters, sr., Williamsburg; Allie Jo Zieser, sr., Independence Outfield – Bailey Olerich, soph., Clear Creek Amana; Megan Gorkow, sr., Benton Community; Ashlynn Ellenbecker, jr., South Tama; Utility – Abby Sandvick, sr., South Tama; Kenzie Fischels, sr., Independence.