DMACC softball coach Bob Ligouri doesn’t mince his words when describing his pint-sized shortstop who packs a big wallop.
“If Katlin Briley doesn’t leave DMACC as a first-team All-American, it will be a travesty,” Ligouri said. “She’s done everything we’ve asked of her. She’s hit over .400 in the leadoff position, she’s hit with power and she plays great defense. She should leave DMACC as a two-time first-team all-region player, and without question, we think she should be the offensive player of the year in the region.”
Briley had a successful return home on a blustery day for softball Wednesday afternoon. The former Creston all-stater helped the Bears sweep Southwestern, 14-8 and 12-0 in five innings.
Briley was 2-of-4 with two stolen bases and an RBI in the opener, in which Iowa State transfer Riley Fisher of Des Moines East shut down the Spartans until she was relieved by freshman Cailey Schlenker. SWCC scored two runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth after Fisher was taken out.
Sophomore Alyson Netty of Waterloo handcuffed the Spartans in a one-hit shutout in game two, as Brooke Wolf’s double to lead off the second inning broke up the no-hitter. In that game, Briley was hitless with a walk and stolen base.
“I didn’t have a great day, but our team did,” Briley said. “These last games should get us the (regional) second seed and I think we have a good chance of going to nationals if we keep hitting.”
The soft-spoken 5-foot-2 infielder, who still dons the large, well-worn fielder’s glove she started using as a high school freshman, is not your prototypical power hitter. But that’s what she’s become this season while still operating as a “slap” hitter from the lefthanded batter’s box.
Briley has three home runs, including one against SWCC in the first meeting and another three-run shot to take the lead over Iowa Central, which began Wednesday in a second-place tie in the ICCAC with the Bears.
“You see the great slappers hit like that, and Katlin is doing it,” Ligouri said. “You turn on your TV and watch the best teams from the SEC or the Big 12, and some of those lefties are hitting like that. Katlin has just worked really hard.”
Briley said a year of college softball has helped her mature in her game.
“I changed my technique with my swing this year,” Briley said. “And I gained a little weight to get more power.”
DMACC improved to 32-10 overall Wednesday and 18-6 in the ICCAC.
The latest DMACC team statistics through 32 games showed Briley hitting .430 with only five strikeouts in 107 at-bats, with a team-high 19 runs scored, five doubles and three homers. She was successful in six of her first seven steal attempts. In the field she had only five errors in 115 chances.
Briley will receive her associate’s degree at DMACC next month before heading to Sioux City to attend Briar Cliff College and play softball. She plans to study radiology.
Besides getting her team’s only hit in game two, Wolfe also doubled in the opener for SWCC, which fell to 6-16 in the league and 15-22 overall. Hannah Murphy, Danielle McIntosh and pitcher Sam Strand each had two hits. McIntosh pitched for the Spartans in game two.
With more foul weather in the forecast, the conference doubleheader scheduled here today against Iowa Central was moved to Friday at 3 p.m.