This season has looked a lot different for the Camanche softball team.
The Indians have spent the last couple of years dominating the River Valley Conference and often sitting in the Class 3A state rankings. After losing a handful of crucial seniors, they’re in a turnaround season with a roster saturated with underclassmen.
The lone senior on the squad, however, is still dominating even when the win column isn’t checked.
Tarah Wehde, an All-State softball player headed for Wartburg College next year, has taken on a huge role for the Indians this year.
“I’m used to have at least four or five seniors leading the team,” Wehde said. “It’s weird being the only one and our team is really young. I feel like I have to pick up my leadership and it will help to lead me into college.”
Wehde is used to having a large playing role, but the Camanche senior is fairly quiet in demeanor. But the entire roster besides Wehde is made up of sophomores and younger, so leadership is something they’ve looked to her for.
“I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more this year,” Wehde said. “I’ve been trying to help the girls, like the upcoming eighth graders, they’re nervous.”
It’s not necessarily always vocal, though. Head coach Andrew Carbajal knows he can count on Wehde to be a role model. When Wehde had an injury to deal with before a game against North Cedar, it didn’t phase her determination to win.
“She looked at me and said, Coach, I want this,” Carbajal said. “It’s a quiet leadership. She knew let’s go in there, let’s battle.”
Plus, her stats speak for themselves. In a loaded River Valley Conference with four different state-ranked teams, she’s dominated from the pitcher’s circle. She is eighth in Class 3A in strikeouts, leading the entire River Valley North by nearly 10 Ks.
Although she’s shared pitching duties in the past, she’s performed every single inning this year for the Indians by herself.
“It’s good for me,” Wehde said. “I like being in control so I like pitching, I could do it every game. The game is in my hands.”
Wehde is known around the state for the power at the plate, staying with the state leader in home runs throughout her entire softball career. At this point, pitchers know not to give Tarah Wehde anything that she can hit.
She has four homers this year, but that hasn’t bothered her. She’s worried about making offense for the team, and certainly has been. She’s batting .545, once again in the top three in the conference in that category.
“Not as many games, no double headers, so I’m just focused on making contact,” Wehde said. “Getting on base, getting people behind me to hit me in, I’m not shooting for the fence.”
“She is a work horse,” Coach Carbajal said. “It’s not about talent with her. She works harder than any girl here. First one here, last one to go, and she puts a lot on her shoulders.”
Carbajal is keeping next year in his mind as Wehde gets ready to start her collegiate career, planning to pass the pitching duties to eighth grader Kennady Bigwood. She certainly has a good example to follow after the performances Wehde has put up this season alone.
But the one thing Carbajal wants her to take from Wehde is the resilience.
“Hold your head high,” Carbajal said. “Even if that score shows 17-0 ... keep pitching.”
It’s been a different year, that’s for sure. But Wehde is as dominant as ever and has learned some lessons that she’s ready to take into college.
“Every at-bat counts,” Wehde said. “Every hit is important. It’s just getting on base, not always trying to hit a home run. It will help me having that perspective of just getting on base, not focusing on being any home run leader.”