Clarke senior Libby Bemis has the stressful part done with, and now she can concentrate on the rest of her senior year.
Bemis signed a National Letter of Intent on Friday to continue her softball career at the next level with Division II Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn.
“It feels a lot less stressful,” Bemis said about having made a decision. “I’m just glad I already know where I’m going and have my plans figured out. I can’t wait to go and start my new year, but I’m ready to finish off this year and see what happens before I get there.”
With Bemis inking her name to go play for the Mavericks next year, it was a bittersweet day for Clarke head coach Lindsay Diehl.
“This is a sad day and a super exciting day,” Diehl said. “It’s a sad day because it means I only have her for one more season, but a really exciting day because she’s preparing for the next level she’s going to go play at.”
Diehl said Bemis deserves the opportunity to go play at the next level with the amount of work she’s put in over the years.
“I remember I was back here coaching the first time before I left to go to Iowa Central, she was a third grader out in the bullpen — this tiny, little, chubby blonde girl out there throwing balls to her dad sitting on a bucket,” Diehl said. “So she’s been working hard at this for a long time. She deserves every bit of it.”
The decision to go to Minnesota State came easily for the reigning Class 3A Pitcher of the Year.
After attending a camp at the college, Bemis decided to go back for an official visit.
“I just liked the atmosphere of it,” she said. “It wasn’t too small and it wasn’t too big. The girls on the team were really friendly. I fit in really well, so right when I got to the parking lot, I was like, ‘this is the one, this is where I’m going.”
Bemis had also considered Truman State, Western Illinois and DMACC, where fellow Clarke teammates Kennedy Crees and Carley Robins will play next year. They are expected to sign their National Letters of Intent at a later time.
Diehl said Bemis would be a good fit for any college team based on her knowledge of the game.
“She just has so much passion for the game and she’s been a student of the game,” Diehl said. “She’s one of the most knowledgeable kids of the game of softball that I’ve had the opportunity to coach. It’s like having another coach on the staff.
“I kept telling coaches that - she’s not just a player, she’s a player-coach. She’s intelligent. You want the ball in her hand at the very end of the game, because she’s going to make the right choices.”
Bemis said it will be a little different for her playing at Minnesota State, since there are only a couple of players from Iowa on the team. But, she said, her playing style meshes well with the team’s style, so she feels she’ll be a good fit.
She plans to major in elementary education at Minnesota State.
But before Bemis can go don the purple and yellow of the Mavericks, she still has one final season with the Clarke Lady Indians.
She has lofty goals for this year after helping lead the team to a second-place finish at the state tournament last year.
“Definitely to win conference again,” she said. “And hopefully, and I think we can do it, go back to state and not get the runner-up trophy, but the state championship.”
Diehl also has high hopes for the upcoming season, but knows nothing will come easy for the Lady indians.
“I really do look forward to this season that’s upcoming,” she said. “I talked about that we’re not coming to work to go get a second-place trophy again. We’re going to have to work twice as hard as we ever have for them to get back there and be successful again this season.”