Sandquist reflects on lost season for Tritons

Sandquist reflects on lost season for Tritons

The news hit Rick Sandquist very, very hard.

The NJCAA announced they were ending the academic year for athletics around the country in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

That meant the end of the current softball season som 20 games into the year for Sandquist and Iowa Central.

"I was at the store (Tropical Smoothie in Ankeny) when I got the call and I had to go to my car and fight back the emotions. Man, it was tough. I just feel for everybody," Sandquist said in an interview with The Fort Dodge Messenger. "This season was the last time this group and the five coaches will be together.

"The kids won't be able to say their goodbyes and give their usual hugs. No end of the year and no Sophomore Day. You don't realize how much you love it until it hits you that it can be over, just like that."

Iowa Central was ranked and 15-4 through 19 games, showing an abundance of offense. They were hitting .349 as a team with 50 home runs, 159 RBI, 82 extra-base hits and 53 steals. 

Parker Mathews, Maggie Harvey and Mackenzie Rosenboom were all batting over .400, including a .441 average for Harvey, a former all-stater for both Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond. 

Rosenboom hit 10 home runs and drove in 23, tying for the team-lead in RBI with Sophie Cave. Harvey had nine homers and Bre Tjebben seven with 19 RBI. 

Sidney Marker led the team with 10 steals as Mathews and Payton Andersen each had 18 runs scored.

Kayla Wookey and Abby DeJoode each won six games inside the circle, with both striking out 19 batters. 

"I feel for everybody," Sandquist said. "It's a small bump in life and proves there is a greater power in control. We're not in charge; there is a higher power making the decisions.

"It just proves in a blink of an eye, anything can happen. We have to move on and learn from it. The girls are realizing how much they love this game. There were a lot of tears shed."