WAUKEE — Creston head softball coach Mike McCabe proudly represented Creston High School here Monday evening as one of the coaches for the White All-Star team at the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game.
McCabe, along with Akron-Westfield head coach Todd Colt, combined to lead the White team to a 1-1 record for the day.
It was an enjoyable experience for McCabe.
“Well, it was easy!” McCabe said. “They made it look pretty easy. It was a blast. I said I’m going to get to do this one time, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. They had a lot of fun with each other and played hard. Very talented kids and the nicest kids, too. A tribute to their coaches and their parents. It was a lot of fun.”
One of the players on McCabe’s White team was Jenna Sandquist of the Pride of Iowa Conference champion Interstate 35 Roadrunners.
Sandquist played shortstop and pitched for the Roadrunners, but played third base in the All-Star Game.
“Good player,” McCabe said. “Great kid. I commented earlier, might be one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. Please and thank you, was eager to help with equipment — as were all of them. Just good kids.”
McCabe and Colt drafted six shortstops to play on their team, so some athletes had to play different positions than they were used to.
Sandquist filled a void at third base.
“Yeah, it was a change. I haven’t played third for about a year, when I played it for travel ball. We had six of our 13 girls were shortstops, so they were just kind of looking for people who had played third before.”
McCabe said the transition into different positions for his players went smoothly, with the only major concern being responsibilities on bunt coverage.
Despite not getting many opportunities to make plays in the field, Sandquist said she was pleased with how she performed, especially when she got a hit in the first game.
“I got a hit off of Paige Lowary, so that kind of made my day,” she said.
Lowary, of Dallas Center-Grimes, will continue her playing career next year at University of Missouri.
“I kind of just wanted to make contact, and I was pretty excited, because obviously I’ve heard of her and all my teammates had been able to go up and hit against her,” Sandquist said. “So I wanted to have a chance and just see what it was like for myself.”
Sandquist laced a single into right field, right on the foul line.
Playing in the final game of her softball career, Sandquist went out a winner as the White team defeated a Blue team that included Clarke’s Libby Bemis, 3-1.
“I was really glad when I found out I was going to be on this team, because no matter what happened in tournament play, I was still going to get to have two more games, because I’m not playing college ball,” Sandquist said.
“So it was nice that I still had these games to look forward to. When I realized it was the last time I’d put on my school jersey and a softball uniform in general, I cried a little bit.”
Bemis, on the other hand, will be continuing her playing career next year at Minnesota State.
Clarke head coach Lindsay Diehl said it was a new experience for her to watch Bemis play from the other side of the fence.
“I texted her when she was getting to come up here yesterday that I was really excited to get to see her represent Clarke one more time,” Diehl said. “It feels weird to be on the other side of the fence to watch her play and not be out there calling pitches. It’s great for her to be up here.”
Bemis pitched for the Blue team, which lost both of its games.
“I thought she did a nice job,” Diehl said. “It’s always tough to come into a situation where you’re playing with kids that you don’t know and you don’t anticipate what they’re going to do.
“I think that’s what’s so great about that group of kids she played with in high school, is they had played together so long and knew what the other one was thinking. Sometimes when you throw a bunch of all-star kids together, that doesn’t happen. But I’m pleased with the way she threw.”