There are few positions in sports where a player can have a greater impact on her team than softball pitcher.
Senior Morgan Schaben of Harlan Community and junior Lexi Lander of West Monona in 2019 were prime examples of that statement.
For their overall dominance, Schaben (Class 5-A/4-A/3-A) and Lander (Class 2-A/1-A) are the honorary captains on The World-Herald’s All-Western Iowa softball teams for 2019.
Schaben, the youngest sister of Harlan coach Brooke Wilson, led the Cyclones to an outright Hawkeye Ten Conference title at 18-2, along with a 28-8 overall record, a year after they went 15-17 and 12-8. The Central College recruit went 22-7 in the circle with a 1.30 ERA to go with 260 strikeouts and 71 walks in 161 innings.
She also was one of the state’s most feared hitters, batting .472 with 15 doubles, nine homers and 43 RBIs along with a .562 on-base percentage and a .868 slugging percentage.
Lander finished with a 23-5 record and a 0.91 ERA, striking out 265 and walking 55 in 1841⁄3 innings for the 30-6 Spartans, who finished as the Western Valley Conference runner-up at 13-3, one game behind Westwood.
At the plate, Lander was equally dominant. She batted .484 with 19 doubles, six homers, 39 RBIs and 34 walks along with a .628 on-base percentage and an .882 slugging percentage.
Lander becomes a three-time, first-team All-Western Iowa selection, while Schaben makes her second straight large-school first team after making the second unit as a sophomore.
Two seniors become three-time first-team choices after earning second-team honors as freshmen: Denison-Schleswig’s Sarah Heilesen and Treynor’s Sydni Huisman. Heilesen’s honors have all come in the large schools, while Treynor had been in the 2-A/1-A division before moving up to 3-A this season.
Two seniors join Lander as three-time, first-team picks: seniors Alex Mohr of Denison-Schleswig and Logan Hughes of Shenandoah, both in the large schools.
Three others join Schaben as two-time first-team selections after picking up second-team honors in 2017: Glenwood senior Brielle Smith in 5-A/4-A/3-A, and Lenox sophomore TJ Stoaks and Glidden-Ralston junior Talia Schon in 2-A/1-A.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton senior Madelyn Mogensen is a repeat first-team pick in the large schools, while two others move up from last year’s respective second team to this year’s first unit: Sioux City North senior Hailey Hoogers in 5-A/4-A/3-A, and Riverside sophomore Kenna Ford in 2-A/1-A.
The teams were chosen from ballots returned by western Iowa coaches, observations of World-Herald staff writers and an analyzation of season statistics.
P Morgan Schaben, Harlan, Sr.
P Sydni Huisman, Treynor, Sr.
C Alex Mohr, Denison-Schleswig, Sr.
C Madison Schumacher, Harlan, So.
IF Logan Hughes, Shenandoah, Sr.
IF Alli Mertz, Carroll Kuemper, Sr.
IF Madelyn Mogensen, SB-Luton, Sr.
IF Baylee Newell, Atlantic, Sr.
OF Hannah Belt, CB Thomas Jefferson, So.
OF Brielle Smith, Glenwood, Sr.
OF McKenzie Waters, Atlantic, Jr.
UT Kenzie Foley, Sgt. Bluff-Luton, Jr.
UT Sarah Heilesen, Denison-Schleswig, Sr.
UT Hailey Hoogers, SC North, Sr.
Honorary captain: Schaben, Harlan
P Sydney Biermann, Glenwood, Sr.
P Olivia Engler, Atlantic, So.
C Chloe Gallegos, Carroll, So.
C Madi Van Dyke, SC East, Jr.
IF Josie Ayala, Carroll, Fr.
IF Haley Bach, CB Lewis Central, So.
IF Kate Heithoff, Harlan, Fr.
IF Stella Umphreys, Treynor, So.
OF Alexis McGinnis, Shenandoah, Sr.
OF Kenley Meis, SC Heelan, 8th
OF Saige Rice, Creston, Sr.
UT Caitlyn Jones, CB Thomas Jefferson, Sr.
UT Sara Keller, Creston, Jr.
UT Konnor Sudmann, Treynor, Sr.
P Lexi Lander, West Monona, Jr.
P TJ Stoaks, Lenox, So.
C Cheyanne Rife, West Harrison, Sr.
IF Lexi Branning, IKM-Manning, Jr.
IF Amanda Foster, Woodbine, So.
IF Haley Koch, West Harrison, So.
IF Erikah Rife, Logan-Magnolia, Fr.
OF Jayde Clark, Woodbine, Sr.
OF Kylie Henschen, West Monona, Sr.
OF Selena Valenzuela, Bedford, Jr.
UT Ashlyn Cook, Missouri Valley, Jr.
UT Kenna Ford, Riverside, So.
UT Emily McIntosh, West Harrison, So.
UT Talia Schon, Glidden-Ralston, Jr.
Honorary captain: Lander, West Monona
P Macy Emgarten, Exira-EHK Fr.
P Reanna Rife, Logan-Magnolia, Jr.
C Katelyn Winnett, CR-Bayard, Sr.
IF Katie Anzalone, AHSTW, Sr.
IF Gracie Bluml, Riverside, Jr.
IF Tori Kilpatrick, Fremont-Mills, So.
IF Ali Silvius, Stanton/Essex, So.
OF Chloe Gilgen, West Harrison, Jr.
OF Anna Kelly, Griswold, Fr.
OF Leslie Luft, Ar-We-Va, Jr.
UT Taylor Bower, CAM, So.
UT Olivia Larsen, Sidney, Jr.
UT Ella Pierce, Underwood, So.
UT Ariel Rotnicke, West Monona, Sr.
Class 5-A/4-A/3-A: Paige Armijo, Denison-Schleswig; MacKayla Black, Sioux City North; Chloe Black, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Kamryn Buntrock, Red Oak; Emma Christensen, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Alyssa Derby, Atlantic; Bella Dingus, Treynor; Kylee Eickholt, Sioux City North; Kelly Embray, Glenwood; Rilee Filip, CB Abraham Lincoln; Ellie Gengler, Sioux City Heelan; Brianna Gerhardt, Glenwood; Nichole Gilbert, Shenandoah; Gracie Hagle, Creston; Isabelle Hesse, Sioux City North; Kyndal Hilgenberg, Carroll Kuemper; Chasity Johnson, Sioux City East; Tianna Kasperbauer, Harlan; Riley Plantenberg, Sioux City Heelan; Presley Rodenburg, CB Lewis Central; Kayla Rauch, Denison-Schleswig; Karsyn Rush, Atlantic; Julia Schechinger, Harlan; Whitney Schlotfeldt, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; Brooklyn Taylor, Glenwood; Katlynn Tucker, Sioux City East.
Class 2-A/1-A: Alexis Christians, Logan-Magnolia; Carter Crispin, Missouri Valley; Lexie Haer, Southwest Valley; Payton Hilts, Missouri Valley; Hailee Knight, Clarinda; Jozie Lett, CAM; Mallory McCall, West Monona; Addi Meese, Fremont-Mills; Bryn Morgenstern, Clarinda; Mollie Nelson, Tri-Center; Taylor Nelson, Underwood; Megan Nichols, West Monona; Paige Osweiler, AHSTW; Morgan Parrish, Lenox; Jolie Sheldon, Sidney; MaKenzie Smith, MVAOCOU; Ashley Vanfossan, Underwood; Kami Waymire, Exira-EHK; Reagan Weinheimer, Nodaway Valley; Sami York, Stanton/Essex.