Four NCAA Div. III championships
PELLA — They were once teacher and student. Now, Central College all-America pitching phenoms Emily Grimes Rottinghaus ’94 and Libby Hysell Carlton ’03 (shown at left) are together entering the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Softball Hall of Fame.
They’ll be honored next Friday, July 26, at the girls’ state tournament at Harlan Rogers Park in Fort Dodge, prior to the start of the Class 2A championship game, which is slated to begin at 12:15 p.m.
Rottinghaus is a 1990 graduate of Pella Christian High School after starting her high school career at Newton. She posted a 112-15 career mark and was the Class 1A Player of the Year in 1990 as well as a two-time first-team all-state selection. She led the Eagles to two state tournament berths.
At Central she was a four-time NCAA Division III tournament participant and helped the Dutch capture national championships in 1991 and 1993, before placing fourth in Division III in 1994. Her 64-14 record gave her the highest career winning percentage (.820) in Central history. A two-time first-team all-Iowa Conference and all-America honoree, Rottinghaus received league (1993) and team (1994) MVP honors and she served as team co-captain in 1994. She posted a remarkable 0.87 career earned run average with 363 strikeouts and 25 shutouts.
An assistant coach at Central in 1995, Rottinghaus was head coach at Pella Christian (1995) and Grand View University (1996-98), then was an assistant at Drake University (1998-99) and head coach (2000-03).
Rottinghaus was inducted into the Central athletics hall of honor last fall.
Carlton, a Colfax native, was a standout at Colfax-Mingo from 1994-99, earning first-team all-state distinction in 1999 while posting a career record of 88-67.
Rottinghaus and her father, Gary Grimes, who now serves as Central’s pitching coach, gave Carlton pitching lessons as a youth. Carlton then followed Rottinghaus to Central where she had an equally memorable career. She was a four-time NCAA tournament participant and capped her career with a national title in 2003, after finishing second in 2001. She was a part of three conference title winners.
Carlton’s college career earned run average of 0.70 is a school record and she’s also first in career shutouts with 33. Her 70-16 career record includes four no-hitters and she ranks second in Central history in career strikeouts with 582. A three-time all-conference, all-region and all-America honoree, Carlton was named the team and league MVP in 2003. She was also tabbed as the NFCA player of the year, then flew to New York City where she received the Honda Award as the Division III female athlete of the year.
Rottinghaus and Carlton are the fifth and sixth Central graduates in the state softball hall of fame, and all of the Dutch honorees were high school pitchers. Laurie Sutten Flynn ‘88 of Marshalltown was inducted in 1990, Deb Schneider De Bruin ’84 of Ankeny was chosen in 1997, Jamie Mahnke Zyzda ’92 of Sioux City was honored in 1999 and Donell Hotze Kvaal ’00 of Riverside, who played third base in college, was inducted in 2005.