April 15, 2024

Creston’s Randall signs with Grand View

Creston’s record-breaking softball power hitter will be following in the footsteps of her former infield teammate when she continues her career collegiately.

Nevaeh Randall was joined by family members and coaches when she signed a National Letter of Intent Monday afternoon to attend Grand View University and play softball. The Panther third baseman will join former Creston shortstop Gracie Hagle, a freshman at Grand View this year who has made the varsity squad of the program that made the NAIA Softball World Series last year.

Randall said she heard positive things about the Grand View experience from Hagle, who like Randall is pursuing a career in nursing in addition to extending her softball career.

“I want to get my BSN in nursing,” Randall said. “I had other (college) offers, but what it came down to was who could best balance the sports with what I wanted to do with my degree. They have what I want in the medical field and Gracie said she enjoys it and it’s a good atmosphere. I went on a campus tour last fall and the coaches were very welcoming. They said I would be a good fit for their program.”

Lou Yacinich is beginning his 21st season at the helm of Grand View University softball. The program has qualified for the NAIA national tournament nine times between 2006 and last season. His overall record at Grand View is 635-405. Coach Yacinich played baseball at Grand View from 1981-85.

Last year the Vikings went 46-12, finishing the season at the NAIA Softball World Series at Columbus, Georgia. Grand View reached a national ranking as high as 10th last season, and is currently ranked 11th with a season record of 13-3.

Randall could be reunited in the same infield as Hagle again in the future as a veteran varsity roster graduates. Teri Keeler, Creston assistant coach, attended Monday’s signing and is confident in Randall’s ability to play at the highest NAIA level.

“Offensively she’s probably one of the better ones we’ve had,” Keeler said. “I see her excelling in that area for sure. I could see her staying at third, or moving over to first base. She has good height for the first base position. She hits the ball, so they’ll find a spot for her.”

Keeler said Hagle made the varsity unit as a freshman and has been a frequent pinch-runner in early games this season.

Randall, a senior at Creston this year who was also a basketball starter in the post position, has already been named to the All-Hawkeye Ten first team twice in softball. As a sophomore she hit nine home runs with 40 RBIs while batting .423.

During the Panthers’ 25-5 team last summer that won the Hawkeye Ten at 19-1, Randall tied Haylee LaMasters’ single-season record of 10 home runs and passed LaMasters’ career record of 22 home runs during her junior season.

Randall has 26 career homers as a Panther going into her senior campaign, and has 131 career RBIs. She batted .456 last season overall and was in the top five of conference batting averages, hitting at a .486 clip in league games. She was named to the Iowa Girls Coaches Association third all-state team and was team co-MVP along with Hagle. She was unanimously selected to the first all-conference team last year and was named to the Class 4A All-District West team.

Larry Peterson

LARRY PETERSON

Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.