Four NCAA Div. III championships
PELLA — Central College pitcher Rhianna Fleetwood (junior, Sycamore, Ill.) has been named the NFCA Division III softball player of the week while shortstop Annie Sarcone (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) is the Iowa Conference position player of the year.
Fleetwood threw 21 scoreless innings, including 14 Saturday, in leading the Dutch to the Iowa Conference tournament championship at Decorah last weekend. She tossed a two-hitter in a 2-0 victory over regionally ranked Simpson College Thursday, then blanked No. 4 host Luther College, 3-0, and threw the final seven innings of a 2-1 triumph over No. 19 Coe College in the title game. In the three games, she gave up 13 hits, walking two and striking out 10. It was Central’s first league tournament crown since the tourney was restarted in 2006.
Fleetwood is 16-2 with a 1.11 earned run average. She has 65 strikeouts in 120 innings with 30 walks, 11 of which were intentional.
Meanwhile Sarcone and Fleetwood are among five Central players to receive all-Iowa Conference honors, including four first-team selections. Senior second baseman Angela Davis (West Des Moines, Valley HS) was a first-team pick for the fourth time, Sarcone was tabbed for the second time and Fleetwood and freshman designated player Abbey Strajack (Davenport, Assumption HS) are first-time honorees. Freshman third baseman Whitney Sowers (Marshalltown) was a second-team pick. Luther’s Becca Girvan is the conference pitcher of the year.
Sarcone is hitting a team-high .395 and has tied the school season record with nine home runs, including a walk-off grand slam in a 7-5 win over Coe at the league tourney Saturday. She has 46 RBIs and is the conference slugging percentage leader (.721). Sarcone has helped turn nine double plays.
She’s the eighth softball player in school history to earn player of the year honors.
Davis, a Central co-captain, is hitting .362 with a team-high four triples, 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. She’s fielding at a .956 clip with 10 double plays. Davis shares the school career triples record with 16.
Strajack is batting .376 with a team-high 37 runs and 12 stolen bases. Her 50 hits are just three shy of the school freshman season record.
Sowers is batting .368 with four home runs and 22 RBIs. She’s drawn 22 walks and has a .461 on-base percentage.
Central, 35-8, finished second in the league with a 12-4 record. The Dutch are playing host to an NCAA Division III regional tournament this weekend and are the No. 2 seed. They’ll take on Wis.-River Falls Friday at noon in the double-elimination tourney.