ANAMOSA - As one of the top pitchers in all of eastern Iowa, Anamosa senior Kalli Minger had options when it came to where she wanted to play her collegiate softball.

      But, when it came down to making a decision on where she’ll spend the next four years of her life, that was surprisingly easy.

      “I know a lot of people have a hard time making a decision of where to go to college, but for me in the end it was actually not too difficult,” said Minger, who guided the Raider softball program to their first conference championship since 2005 as a junior this past summer and decided Mount Mercy University would be the place for her this fall.

      “It was the facilities and the coaching staff that really sold me on Mount Mercy. “Everything there is top notch and I can’t wait to get there and start pushing myself to that level of competition.”

      Wartburg, Loras and the University of Dubuque were all in the running for Minger’s services as well, but the Raider senior, who has high hopes for her final season of high school softball this summer, thought Mount Mercy was where she could flourish most as a player and as a student.

      “The girls there are very competitive and I really liked that about the entire program,” she said. “Everyone there is going to do whatever they can to make sure Mount Mercy softball is as good as it can possibly be, and I just wanted to be a part of that kind of atmosphere. The coaches will push me to become the best player that I can and that’s what I want.”

      Minger wants that same work ethic to drive her Anamosa high school softball team to lofty heights this summer, too.

      “I want to win the conference title and make it to the state tournament before I’m all said and done here at Anamosa,” she said. “I honestly think we can do it, too. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t believe it. We have a lot of talented girls on our team this year and we have great coaches. We’re all going to push each other to get better and get Anamosa back to state.”

      It was that work ethic, among other things, that Mount Mercy softball coach Larry Yoder first spotted in Minger during the recruiting process.

      “We started taking a good look at Kalli last summer and really liked what we saw,” he said. “We’re mainly looking at her as a pitcher, but she’s got a great skill-set and we’re hoping that she might be able to hit for us, too. She’ll have the opportunity to showcase her skills with us and we feel she has the ability to do a lot of things to help our program be successful.”

      Yoder feels his program on one that’s on the rise, and wants players like Minger to take it to the next level.

      “Our goal is to win 100 games in the next three years and I feel we’re well on our way to accomplishing a big goal like that,” he said. “We lost one pitcher from Anamosa (Tawny Menster) to graduation, but add another in the spring of 2021 in Kalli. We’re excited about the future.”

      After signing her National Letter of Intent during a ceremony inside the Anamosa High School library Thursday, Dec. 19, Minger knew exactly who to thank.

      “My parents have pushed me to be the best player and person I can be and allowed me to get to this point of continuing my softball career at the college level,” Minger said. “I’m very thankful to have them, my teammates and coaches in my life. I couldn’t have done this without any of them.

      “Now, it’s time to get to work.”

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