Kiki Connell and Lydia Staudt set the table at the top of the Charles City lineup, getting on base at an efficient rate. Rachel Chambers and Ashlyn Hoeft followed in the order, belting home runs and driving those two in.
All four were named to the Northeast Iowa All-Conference first team softball squad released earlier in the week.
The Comets finished the year at 24-12 after a Class 4A regional semifinal loss to ninth-ranked West Delaware. Connell is the lone member of the quartet that is departing.
Heading off to UNI to run track, Connell was third in the conference in batting average (.492) and on base percentage (.537) while notching the most hits with 60.
Connell and Staudt were the top two base stealers and hitters in the league. A junior, Staudt crossed home 53 times, which was tops in the NEIC. She'll likely take over the leadoff role for Charles City in 2022.
Chambers experienced a breakout year with 19 home runs and 64 RBIs that were tops in the conference and at the time of writing this, were top-3 in the state regardless of classification.
The junior infielder was also tops in the league in slugging percentage and total bases.
Hoeft was the one in 2020 that provided the Comets with some pop at the plate and she did the same again in 2021, belting nine home runs and driving in 47 runs. The sophomore catcher also was elite defensively, throwing out a conference-high 13 base stealers.
Charles City had four others make the second team and one on the honorable mention. Dani Reetz, the Comets' workhorse starter, plus Allie Cross, Alex Wohlers and Delaney Ruzicka, were placed on the second team, with Sadie Gebel making honorable mention.
The complete first team is below. The four Comets listed will be in bold. Only their players will be listed for second team and honorable mention.
Northeast Iowa Conference
Avery Shelton, Decorah, sr., P
Kyleigh Foster, Crestwood, jr., P
Ella Kittelson, Decorah, sr., C
Isabel Ihde, Decorah, sr. IF
Rachel Chambers, Charles City, jr. IF
Naomi Gaede, Oelwein, sr., IF
Annika Headington, Waukon, sr., IF
Olivia Olendieck, Crestwood, so., IF
Ali Russler, New Hampton, so., OF
Kiki Connell, Charles City, sr., OF
Lydia Staudt, Charles City, jr., OF
Ashlyn Hoeft, Charles City, jr., Utility
Kennedy Lape, Oelwein, sr., Utility
Second team (locals only)
Dani Reetz, Charles City, sr., P
Allie Cross, Charles City, sr., IF
Alex Wohlers, Charles City, fr., IF
Delaney Ruzicka, Charles City, so., OF
Honorable mention (locals only)
Sadie Gebel, Charles City, sr.
Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.