Another summer has gone by, but for our readers, it must remain a new feeling seeing new names attached to the stories of local sandlot and diamond heroes.
After Shaw Media's purchase of the Observer and Free Pass last fall, the majority of days have gone by in a blur as our sports staff based namely out of Creston has tried to become acclimated to the schedule of handling yet another primary program in addition to Creston and Clarke, Osceola (and nine other area high schools and Southwestern Community College).
Over that time Dan Dickinson and Steve Thompson have continued to operate like well-oiled machines, ensuring that whatever I and fellow sports reporter Carter Eckl can't do, is still accounted for.
Over that time and especially so this summer, we've had the assistance of bookkeepers, administrators, coaches and more in filling the paper with news that matters to you.
Whatever we may have missed, we appreciate your patience and encourage you to help us out by sharing relevant info in a timely matter and we will continue to try to do our best to meet the standard of excellence you deserve.
As always, to assist the sports staff in finding and sharing news, email email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But on to the good stuff.
For those of you who trekked out behind the high school to watch your Wolverines, the support did not go unnoticed.
With droves of fans lining the hill by the baseball and softball diamonds, the two Carters here in Creston — we know, having a Caleb Nelson, a Kaleb Carter and a Carter Eckl must get confusing — we have gotten to see some of the best of the community's passion for Wolverine athletics.
Let's think about softball for a moment.
The young Wolverines squad still trying to find its identity well into the season after the loss of several crucial seniors last season, finally found its groove around the middle of June.
While a 9-22 record wasn't enough to wow and awe many, to watch the Wolverines rip off a stretch of eight wins in 13 games and two three-game winning streaks was enough to breathe some obvious life into the squad.
It was thrilling to watch, and it makes pondering NV's future under coach Carol Baudler an exciting thing to think about.
Wolverine baseball might have produced the story of the summer in the area.
After entering the postseason with an 8-13 record, Nodaway Valley, led by its seniors as well as by the timely production of several younger budding stars, made a run to the Substate final where a hungry and driven St. Albert team ended the underdog's season with a cruel thud.
In district play, Nodaway Valley knocked off a Southwest Valley team it had split with in the regular season with each game being decided by a run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Wolverines then reeled off upset wins over Stanton and Lenox in which the pitching was dominant, the fielding was nearly impeccable and the bats came alive in a way that the Wolverines hadn't quite accomplished this summer.
But the perspective of those Wolverines afterward, acknowledging how important this run was for themselves as a group that had grinded together for years, was refreshing and touching to witness.
Through it all, the respect showed by the athletes, the camaraderie of those around the program and the support shown for both squads has been a privilege to cover.
Heading into the fall with cross country teams that will compete at a state level, a re-energized football program and a young and talented volleyball team, there's no reason not to be even more excited for what's coming in these next few weeks.
Hope you enjoy the ride like we do.
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