By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Morgan Rathmann, a four-year standout in softball at Neosho High School, has signed with NCAA Division II Missouri Western State University of the MIAA.
Jen Bagley is entering her 12th season as head coach of the St. Joseph-based Griffons.
Neosho coach Melissa Clark said center fielder Rathmann, who bats left and throws right, was a unanimous selection in the Central Ozark Conference Large Division as a senior, a member of the All-Ozarks Team selected by the Springfield News-Leader with the help of coaches and a Class 4 all-region choice.
Rathmann, a four-time all-district selection, has been named Academic All-State for three years and is a senior nominee.
“It came down to Coach Bagley and her staff, the tradition and the competitiveness (strength of the program),” Rathmann said of selecting the Griffons.
Said Clark: “Morgan can bunt, slap and hit for power. “She began focusing on improving her power from the left side after her junior season. As a center fielder, she has an accurate arm and reads the ball off the bat.”
Leadoff hitter Rathmann, as a senior, averaged .482 with 40 hits, 28 runs scored, 18 RBI, 21 stolen bases, 6 doubles, 3 triples and 5 home runs.
Added Clark: “I perceive her as being very successful in academics as well as on the softball field. She has that mindset.”
Rathmann said her hitting needs to be “polished.” She made the decision to bat left as a freshman.
Rathmann plans to play next summer for the “fourth or fifth year” with Brandi Arthur’s MC Outlaws.
Morgan is the daughter of Connie and John Rathmann. Their son Tyler plays baseball at North Central Missouri College of Trenton after earning letters in three sports for the Wildcats.
Webb City had two players — junior right-handed pitcher Kaitlin Beason and sophomore infielder Desirea Buerge — join Morgan Rathmann on the first News-Leader elite.
Second-teamers include freshman utility Kenzie Goswick of Joplin, senior right-handed pitcher Christian Novak of Nevada, sophomore infielder Coley Ickes of Southwest, junior infielder Kelsey Wiseman of Monett, junior outfielder Lacy Resa of Webb City and junior outfielder Courtni Smith of McDonald County.