Playing college softball has always been the goal for Peyton Maher. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic denied Maher of her freshman season of collegiate softball.
Maher, a 2019 Newton High School graduate, went to Simpson College in Indianola and was ready with the rest of her Storm teammates for the 2020 season. Opening day rolled around — March 14 — and there was no softball.
“We had practiced for two months straight. We were up at 5 a.m. in the morning already to get ready to leave and they canceled our whole season,” Maher said of Simpson softball.
Maher had gone to Simpson to compete for the NCAA Division III program. The Storm were coming off a 21-19 season from 2019 under head coach Brent Matthias.
Maher also was being coached by her former Newton High head coach Casey Price, who was in her second year as an assistant coach for the Storm.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play Division I softball since I was a little kid,” Maher said. “An opportunity presented itself so I decided to take it.”
The opportunity Maher is taking is as a preferred walk-on at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. Maher has left Simpson and will play for the Coyotes this next year, embarking on her dream of playing NCAA Division I softball.
South Dakota was 33-28 overall in 2019 and tied for second in The Summit League at 12-6. The Coyotes are coached by Robert Wagner, who has been the head coach the past four seasons.
The Coyotes did get to start their 2020 softball season in February. South Dakota was 11-18 when COVID-19 forced the shut down of college sports in March.
“I’m a very confident, strong player and I’m very knowledgeable of the game. I believe that will allow me to help the team,” Maher said. “And I like to hit.”
Maher finished her five-year career with Newton High holding pitching school records in strikeouts — 205 for a single season as a senior and 653 career strikeouts. Her career record for the Cardinals was 60-36, which included a 15-4 run in the circle when the Cardinals took third in the Class 4A state softball tournament in 2018.
As a junior, Maher had the lowest earned run average — .92 — in 4A and finished with a 1.11 ERA as a senior. Maher earned second-team 4A all-state honors as a junior and senior. She also earned second-team honors by Little Hawkeye Conference softball coaches her junior and senior seasons.
Maher had a .419 batting average for the 2019 season with 45 hits and 12 doubles. She drove in 27 runs and scored eight runs. As a junior, she batted .375 with 25 hits, 11 runs, nine doubles and 17 RBIs.
Maher also played club softball since the age of 11, playing for Iowa Elite and KC 18U Gold.
“Club ball pushed me to be better and always challenged me to play at a higher level,” Maher said of the experience.
Maher is at the daughter of Reagan Maher, Tricia Maher and Kirk Ringgenberg. She will be pursuing an elementary education degree at South Dakota.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535