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Meyer captains All-Area softball

North Union slugger Emily Meyer (right) leaps onto the plate after hammering a home run during the Iowa Class 2A, Region 1 championship game against Ridge View on July 11 in Swea City as her Warrior teammates and the home plate umpire look on. Meyer has been selected as the Sentinel's 2022 All-Area softball player of the year for her outstanding performances on the diamond this summer. (Photo by Greg Abel)

SWEA CITY — Research the five key pitching statistical categories in the Iowa high school softball ranks for 2022, and sports fans will find a familiar name in the top four spots in each one.

Emily Meyer.

North Union’s flame-throwing ace junior right-hander led the entire state by amassing 33 victories inside the chalked circle, while recording the No. 1 seasonal strikeout total — 318 — in Class 2A albeit the No. 2 mark in all classes.

The two-time all-state selection also utilized her rising fastball to claim the No. 3 spot in Class 2A with a miniscule ERA of 1.03, logged the third-highest total of innings pitched (196 2/3) and generated the fourth-best walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) rate — 0.75 — in Class 2A this summer.

The Iowa Class 2A all-state tournament hurler also eclipsed nearly all of the previous individual single-season North Union records — wins (29), strikeouts (278) and ERA (1.65) — that she established during the 2021 diamond campaign. Meyer also set the Warriors’ single-season mark for shutouts with an incredible 24 this summer.

The Iowa Class 2A all-Northwest District choice, however, was not limited to etching her name into the state’s top ranks in pitching. Meyer wielded lethal lumber in the batter’s box and produced the No. 1 RBI total — 60 — in all classes in Iowa, while netting the No. 2 spot in Class 2A in the hit-by-pitch category with 17.

The two-time Top of Iowa Conference West Division player of the year topped North Union by clouting eight home runs, in addition to slugging opposing pitchers’ deliveries at a team-best .752 rate in 2022.

Meyer also was second on the Warriors’ charts with a .546 on-base percentage, tied for second in doubles with seven, posted the third-best batting average of .426 on the team, hit one triple, drew 11 walks and scored just 12 runs due to using the courtesy runner option.

The 2021 Sentinel All-Area softball tri-captain spearheaded North Union’s back-to-back appearances in the Iowa Class 2A state tournament, including powering the Warriors to a fourth-place showing in 2022.

For all of her achievements on the diamond, Meyer has been selected as the 2022 Sentinel All-Area softball player of the year.

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the daily newspaper’s annual elite softball lineup.

Emily Anderson (Martin County West) — The all-Section 2A choice produced solid numbers from both the batter’s box and inside the chalked pitching circle during the spring season.

The two-time All-Area selection generated 25 hits, including one double and four triples, to finish with a .373 batting average. Anderson also scored 23 runs and collected 21 RBI from an offensive perspective.

The freshman right-hander struck out a dozen batters and compiled a 3-1 record along with three saves in 13 innings pitched to round out a solid softball campaign.

Paige Anderson (Martin County West) — The all-Valley Conference third baseman led the Mavericks with a .444 batting average behind 32 hits, including six doubles, in 2022.

The two-time All-Area selection collected 15 RBIs, scored 15 runs, drew five walks and was plunked five times to round out her offensive performance this spring.

The hard-working senior third baseman recorded 24 assists and 14 putouts en route to an .848 fielding percentage to close out an excellent softball career.

Thea Anderson (Martin County West) — The two-time all-Valley Conference second baseman topped the Mavericks’ statistical charts with nine doubles, five triples, 28 RBIs and 29 runs scored in 2022.

The junior infielder connected for 34 hits, including one HR, to generate MCW’s No. 2 batting average of .430 this season.

Thea Anderson recorded 45 assists and made 43 putouts to fuel an .888 fielding percentage for the Mavericks.

Cassie Beadle (North Union) — The two-time Iowa all-state choice placed No. 2 with 56 runs scored and netted the No. 3 mark with a .641 on-base percentage in the entire Class 2A bracket for the 2022 campaign.

The Iowa all-star series selection topped the Warriors with a .526 batting average on the strength of 51 hits, including four doubles and one triple, during the summer.

The all-Northwest District selection topped North Union with 26 walks drawn to complement 30 RBIs and a .588 slugging percentage to cap her outstanding prep athletic career.

The all-Top of Iowa Conference West Division first-team and repeat All-Area pick played a major role in the Warriors capturing fourth place at this year’s Class 2A state tournament and finishing with a record-setting 33-5 mark.

Ashlyn Cook (Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman) — The sophomore sensation stepped to the plate to produce a .365 batting average and a .519 slugging percentage in 2022.

Cook scored eight runs, cranked eight doubles and collected 16 RBIs to round out a solid softball season for the Jaguars.

Maggie Engelby (North Union) — The second-team all-Top of Iowa Conference West Division selection displayed her increased power at the plate by belting a team-leading nine doubles to complement four HRs during her final prep softball season.

The senior first baseman shared the Warriors’ No. 2 RBI total with Naomi Jones by driving in 36 runs behind 35 hits en route to a .321 batting average in 2022.

The hard-working Engelby scored 37 runs, drew 19 walks, reached base at a .435 clip and slugged pitches at a .514 rate to cap a brilliant campaign.

Engelby played a key role in North Union capturing fourth place at state and compiling a single-season record of 33 victories.

Shelby Fraker (North Union) — The Top of Iowa Conference West Division first-team selection made only one error in 342 chances to finish with an incredible fielding accuracy rate of .997 this summer.

The Warriors’ everyday catcher topped the Iowa Class 2A ranks in both putouts (316) and total chances to complement 25 assists in 2022.

The junior left-handed batter also proved an offensive force by collecting 40 hits, including two doubles, en route to a .408 average.

The fleet-footed signal-caller also scored 25 runs, drew 16 walks, reached base at a .496 clip, collected 17 RBIs and slugged deliveries at a .429 rate to round out a stellar individual season.

Fraker also played a key role in North Union’s return to the state tournament en route to a fourth-place showing and a 33-5 overall record.

Emma Gudahl (Fairmont) — The all-Big South Conference Big Division first-teamer utilized her savvy base-running skills to top the Cardinals in four offensive categories during her final prep season.

The senior shortstop pounded four doubles, scored 20 runs, swiped nine bases and shared the No. 1 spot on Fairmont with Nevaeh Rahm by collecting 15 walks this spring.

Gudahl finished with a .400 on-base percentage, a .317 slugging clip and a .260 batting average to cap a stellar diamond career.

Naomi Jones (North Union) — The two-time All-Area centerfielder tied Maggie Engelby for the No. 2 spot on the Warriors’ statistical charts with 36 RBIs in 2022.

The all-Top of Iowa Conference second-team selection utilized her state track-qualifying speed to generate 37 runs and 36 hits, including seven doubles, four triples and one HR this season.

Jones worked out 15 walks, hit at a .327 clip, reached base at a .426 rate and slugged opponents’ deliveries at a .491 pace to round out another excellent diamond campaign.

Jones proved a guiding force behind the Warriors’ fourth-place showing at the Class 2A state tournament and a 33-5 overall record this summer.

Sam Nielsen (North Union) — The three-time Iowa all-state softball selection topped Class 2A in both hits (69) and runs scored (62) to put the wraps on the final season of her outstanding four-sport high school career.

The perennial all-Northwest District choice played an integral role in guiding North Union to a second consecutive state appearance — including a fourth-place showing — and a record-setting 33-5 mark this summer.

The all-Top of Iowa Conference first-team honoree produced the Warriors’ No. 2 batting average (.504), fueled by three doubles and three triples in 2022.

The fleet-footed leadoff batter generated 33 RBIs, a .534 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging rate to earn yet another selection to the Sentinel’s annual All-Area softball lineup.

Mandy Pytleski (Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman) — The second-team all-Valley Conference right-hander recorded three wins and generated a team-best 76 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings pitched during the spring campaign.

The junior left fielder/first baseman slugged pitches at an .804 clip, paced by one HR, six triples and six doubles in 2022.

The Jaguars’ slugger finished with a .429 batting average, 17 RBIs and 19 runs scored during another successful varsity season.

Nevaeh Rahm (Fairmont) — The first-team all-Big South Conference Big Division right-hander led the Cardinals with four wins and 101 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings pitched this spring.

The hard-hitting sophomore also clouted two HRs to top Fairmont’s offense with 13 RBIs in 2022.

Rahm also paced the Cardinals with a .403 on-base percentage and a .386 slugging mark, shared top team honors with Emma Gudahl by receiving 15 walks and hit at a .246 clip to cap a solid season.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Blue Earth Area softball coaching staff did not nominate any players for the Sentinel’s All-Area team.

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