Mount Ayr Raiders NEW logo

(Mount Ayr) -- Coming off a state tournament appearance in 2022, the Mount Ayr softball team has taken the diamond for its 2023 campaign, but this time under new leadership.

Morgan Quick and Sara Winemiller have taken over the program for former head coach Bret Ruggles.

The new co-head coach duo is taking a somewhat experimental approach to the early part of this season.

“Coach Winemiller and I came in with a lot of goals for the season, and one of the goals was to have all our players be kind of utility players,” Quick said. “We’ve been working through a lot of our starting lineups, just going through and getting as many reps in as many different places as we can so we can find out where their home is gonna be for the season.”

The Raiders kicked off their season with a 13-2 win over Clarke Tuesday.

Mount Ayr’s strength as a team comes in the form of experience, as the vast majority of its starting lineup saw the field in 2022.

“[I think we’re really good at] making plays,” Quick said. “We have a lot of girls that come with a lot of experience, and even the first time starters on the team, they got a lot of playing time last season, so I think we have a lot of experience, a lot of confidence and communication that’s gonna roll over to the rest of the players.”

Zoey Larsen is the top returner for the Raiders. Now a senior, Larsen batted .262 with 22 RBI while going 4-4 in the circle with a 5.17 ERA.

“Zoey is a great leader for us,” Quick said. “When it comes to pitching experience, she’s the most experienced at the varsity level. When it comes to hitting, she has a lot of confidence going through pitch selection as that comes. I think for the season, no matter if she’s pitching or playing back in the field, she’s definitely one of the key leaders on our team.”

As the summer progresses, Mount Ayr hopes to ramp up its aggression.

“Looking forward to our season, we’re just going each game at a time and kind of learning what [our opponents] have to offer when we’re prepping for them,” Quick said. “I think the big thing is each game we’re gonna try to go out there and be aggressive for every team we show up and play against.”

The Raiders finished fourth in the Pride of Iowa Conference last season before making a Cinderella run of sorts to the state tournament.

This year, Mount Ayr will have its hands full again within the POI, as the league boasts the top two teams in the Class 1A state rankings: Southeast Warren and Martensdale St. Mary’s.

In spite of the high-level competition in their conference, the Raiders look to focus on their quality of play from game to game.

“I think when we’re going through goals, it’s not necessarily just winning games and stuff like that,” Quick said. “[We want to make sure] we’re being aggressive, baserunners are being aggressive, taking those selective pitches and not just relying on the long-ball game, but hopefully we have our small-ball game going so we’re a well-rounded softball team.”

Mount Ayr will hit the field again for a road matchup with East Union Thursday at 7 P.M.

Click below to hear the full interview with Quick from Thursday’s KMA Sports Feature.

Thank you for reading

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing