College Softball Report: Schaben girls, Smith, Gross played partial 2020 seasons
LOGAN SCHABEN (SR.)
Iowa State University (Ames); NCAA Division I • Portsmouth, IA • 2016 HCHS graduate
2020 Season - Schaben was hitting a career-best .266 (21-for-79) when her senior season ended abruptly in mid-March due to COVID-19. Iowa State was 11-13 overall following the USF (South Florida) Tournament March 6-8. Schaben started all 24 games at third base for the Cyclones, highlighted by a game against Northern Colorado in the Paradise Classic (Honolulu) when she hit a pair of home runs with a career-high five RBI. She ranked first or second on the team with five doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI and three stolen bases. She also drew six walks and scored 11 runs.
A three-time Big 12 Conference All-Academic first-teamer in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Schaben has earned her finance and marketing degree from Iowa State. She will now pursue her master’s degree and return to the softball team using an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to college seniors that had their senior year disrupted by the COVID-19 shutdown. Schaben’s career totals include 81 hits, 54 runs, 44 RBI, 12 doubles, 14 home runs and 37 walks.
2019 Season - Schaben made 61 starts, primarily at third base, and played in all 62 games as a junior, batting .220 (29-of-132) and maintaining a fielding percentage of .936. She hit a pair of home runs and had four RBI at Cal Poly and doubled twice in a win over Iowa. Season totals included a team-high 11 sacrifices as well as 18 runs, 17 RBI, six doubles and four home runs.
2018 Season - Schaben was primarily a designated hitter and infielder for the Cyclones her sophomore year, batting .203 (15-for-74) in 31 games (26 starts). She was named Big 12 Player of the Week following a three-game series at Texas Tech in which she went 4-for-8 with two homers, a double and four RBI. On the year, Schaben clubbed a career-high six home runs and tied for second on the team with a .486 slugging percentage, totaling 11 runs and nine RBI.
2017 Season - As a true freshman, Schaben started all 58 games at shortstop for the Cyclones, batting .174 (16-for-92) with a homer, five RBI, 14 runs scored and six stolen bases. Her first career multi-hit game was against Texas on April 23 as ISU won a series from the Longhorns for the first time.
Harlan Community Career - A four-year starter at HCHS, Schaben was named first team All-State as a junior and senior, batting a school-record .538 and .548, respectively, with slugging percentage marks of 1.000 and 1.096. She finished as the school’s all-time leader with 28 home runs, including 10 as a junior and a school record-tying 11 as a senior. Schaben tallied 15 doubles, 45 runs scored and 46 RBI her junior year and added 12 doubles, six triples, 52 runs and 32 RBI as a senior.
RACHEL SMITH (SR.)
NW Missouri State Univ. (Maryville); NCAA Division II • Kimballton, IA • 2015 Exira-EHK graduate
2020 Season - A fifth-year senior, Smith started 10 out of 22 games for the Bearcats (9-13 overall, 0-2 MIAA) and made 15 total pitching appearances, going 3-5 with a 5.33 earned run average prior to the season being cut short in mid-March. The 5-foot-9 right-hander tossed four complete games and pitched 64.1 innings, allowing 89 hits, walking 28 and striking out 63. On May 15, Smith was recognized on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, carrying a 3.59 GPA with an Art Education major.
Smith has elected not to use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to senior student-athletes affected by the COVID-19 shutdown, thus ending her softball career at Northwest. She finished with a career record of 24-28, a 4.07 ERA, 20 complete games and 285 strikeouts in 344.1 innings.
2019 Season - Smith went 4-11 with a 5.47 ERA as a junior, making 17 starts (20 total appearances) and tossing two complete games. She led the team with 66 strikeouts in 96 innings pitched, including seven K’s in a complete game effort vs. Midwestern State.
2018 Season - Smith’s redshirt sophomore season was her best as a Bearcat, ending with MIAA second team all-conference and MIAA Scholar-Athlete recognition. In 23 starts, she went 11-8 and led the team in ERA (2.37), complete games (11), innings pitched (124) and strikeouts (108). She tied for team-high honors with 11 wins and three shutouts. Smith’s four-hit shutout with eight K’s garnered MIAA Co-Pitcher of the Week honors in March and she later tossed a two-hit shutout with eight K’s in a 1-0 win over Missouri Western.
2017 Season - Smith made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll in 2017 but her season was cut short by injury after just four games and three starts. She was 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA, striking out nine in 17.1 innings.
2016 Season - As a true freshman, Smith went 6-1 with one save and a 3.45 ERA, making 11 of her 15 appearances in relief but completing two out of four starts. She struck out 39 and walked 14 in 42.2 innings, allowing 43 hits while once again making the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton Career - If not for a leg injury that caused her to miss most of her senior year, Smith would have been a five-time All-State selection by the IGCA. She was named first team All-State as a junior and second or third team All-State as a sophomore, freshman and 8th grader, finishing her prep career with 1,209 strikeouts, an 83-16 record and a sparkling 0.66 ERA. Smith was a dominant force in the Rolling Valley Conference and beyond as both a pitcher and a hitter. As a junior, she hit .507 and scored 30 runs while going 22-2 in the circle with an incredible 0.14 ERA, 319 strikeouts in 153 innings, seven no-hitters and two 19-strikeout performances. Smith batted .412 with 16 extra-base hits her sophomore year while going 24-4 with a 0.52 ERA and career-best 361 strikeouts. Her freshman numbers included 18 extra-base hits and a 20-6 record with a 1.06 ERA and 320 K’s. She burst on the scene as an eighth-grader with 208 strikeouts in 123 innings, going 17-4 with a 0.97 ERA and batting .337 with 23 RBI.
PEYTON GROSS (SO.)
Buena Vista Univ. (Storm Lake); NCAA Division III • Manilla, IA • 2018 IKM-Manning graduate
2020 Season - Gross was the busiest member of BVU’s pitching staff prior to the season being cancelled, appearing nine times and making seven starts in the first 12 games as the Beavers started 4-8. In a team-high 35 innings, Gross was 3-4 with a 4.60 ERA and three complete games. She allowed 46 hits, walked 28 and struck out 17, also going 0-for-1 at the plate.
2019 Season - Gross was the Beavers’ most effective pitcher her freshman year, going 11-3 with a 2.86 ERA as the team finished 19-17 overall and 5-11 in the American Rivers Conference. In 80.2 innings, Gross allowed 75 hits, walked 30 and struck out a team-high 74. Her 19 appearances and 10 starts included six complete games and two saves.
IKM-Manning Career - Gross was a five-year varsity pitcher for the Wolves and a five-time All-State selection, making the first team as a senior and as a freshman, when she helped lead IKM-Manning to a fourth-place finish in the Class 2A State Tournament. Her impressive career numbers include 1,093 strikeouts in 847.1 innings and a pitching record of 110-28. As a senior, Gross finished 24-3 with a 1.38 ERA (lowest since her 8th grade year), racking up 235 strikeouts while pitching all 152 innings (93 hits allowed, 66 walks). She also boasted a batting average of .564 that ranked third in Class 2A, totaling 15 doubles, 35 runs scored, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Gross batted .446 and struck out 247 batters as a junior and compiled a career-high 255 K’s as a freshman.
MORGAN SCHABEN (FR.)
Central College (Pella); NCAA Division III • Portsmouth, IA • 2019 HCHS graduate
2020 Season - Schaben’s freshman season included just four pitching appearances, but she made the most of her time in the circle as Central started 6-1 prior to COVID-19. On March 9, Schaben was named American Rivers Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week following three relief appearances at the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic in Tucson, AZ. She pitched 9.2 innings and went 2-0 as the team won all three games, allowing six hits and one run while walking four and striking out 10. She also pitched a scoreless inning earlier in the year, giving her a 0.66 earned run average overall.
Harlan Community Career - Schaben played parts of five seasons at the varsity level and finished her career with 804 strikeouts. She was named first team All-State as a senior, going 22-7 with a 1.30 ERA and 260 Ks in the circle while batting .472 with 43 RBI, nine homers, 15 doubles and an .868 slugging percentage. She pitched two no-hitters in a doubleheader sweep of Kuemper Catholic in June, striking out 15 in 11 hitless frames. Schaben was named second team All-State as a junior, batting .394 with 11 doubles, two homers and 27 RBI and sporting a 2.44 ERA as a pitcher with a 10-11 record and 181 Ks.
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