David City Dynamite coach Greg Jahde described the 2021 season as a rollercoaster. He balanced a deep roster by splitting the team in two group that took turns in each half of doubleheaders.
However, when it came to tournaments, Jahde said he zeroed in on nine to 10 players to make the roster. While that meant that some had to sacrifice playing time, everyone came together for what was best. At the end of the season that meant an SLS League Tournament championship.
"Depending on the night, depending on how the lineup set up, sometimes it would look really good and sometimes it wouldn't go as planned," Jahde said. "But when it came to tournaments, I thought we did really well."
The Dynamite won a tournament in Wisner early in the season and finished second in the Crete Spring Bling on May 21-22.
Those experiences prepared the team for the SLS League Tournament July 1-3 in Crete.
David City opened the tournament with a 5-1 win against the Blue Springs Lightning on July 1. Later that night, the Dynamite defeated the Fullerton Warriors 10-4 to advance to the semifinals.
The next day, David City defeated the Hebron Rebels 14-2 to advance to the championship series. St. Paul, which emerged out of the loser's bracket, forced a winner-take-all game that night after taking the first game 10-2.
The Dynamite, who rested their ace pitcher Aspyn Harrison in the defeat, shut out the Wildcats 4-0 for the tournament crown
Harrison, who just completed her first year of college, was age-eligible for the David City Dynamite 18 and under team. Jahde coached Harrison during her varsity career and knew he could rely on her in the biggest moments.
"I brought her back not only because of how good of a player she was, but I knew she would be a tremendous mentor for the younger girls," Jahde said.
While the pitching was key in David City's success, Jahde acknowledged the production throughout the entire lineup during the tournament.
The Dynamite outscored their opponents 35-17 in the tournament and posted at least four runs in the five wins. Consistent hitting, Jahde said, was a strength.
"I think our ability to run a solid offensive lineup out there, especially in tournament situations where there really wasn't an easy out for our opponent was big. One through nine, our girls were able to hit," he said. "There was times when I was able to put a .300 hitter down in the No. 7 spot. If you can do that, you're going to be a tough team to beat."
Jahde said the familiarity between the players made the group special. He estimated 90 percent of the team also played for Blue River during the fall high school season.
"Even the girls that didn't necessarily play with us in the fall, a lot of them are still really good friends with these girls that do play during the fall," he said. "I think that team chemistry really helped us along the way."
Along with the offense and pitching, Jahde said the defense was pristine. David City gloves committed only two errors during the tournament. Both errors occurred in the loss.
"If you're able to hit the ball and play solid defense, you're going to win a lot of ballgames," Jahde said.
Sam Ficarro is a sports reporter with The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.