Hannah Belt had just returned from a basketball team camp at Okoboji, so softball may not have been foremost on her mind.

But then the Thomas Jefferson sophomore saw online that she’d made the All-City team, and she felt compelled to text her softball coaches. In part, the text said, “I just want to thank you guys for everything you did for me this summer.’’

Said Belt: “I just felt like I needed to do it.’’

The girls coaches at T.J. appreciate the efforts of Belt, a five-sport athlete. Her softball achievements this summer have earned her The Daily Nonpareil’s nod as its Council Bluffs Softball Player of the Year for the 2019 season.

Belt led the city in RBIs with 28, and her .471 batting average ranked behind only teammate Caitlyn Jones (.494) among Council Bluffs players. Her .632 slugging percentage also was second in the city.

Belt is at the plate to hit. She walked four times and struck out three times in 29 games.

“She doesn’t think about the situation,’’ T.J. coach Amy Anderson said. “She just thinks about getting up there, looking for her pitch and attacking the ball.’’

Belt played a stellar center field for the 7-22 Jackets, making only two errors to go with five assists for a .962 fielding percentage.

“We really preach to our outfield that if we have a fly ball in the air, we’ve got to catch it no matter where it’s at,’’ Anderson said. “She just lives that, every single pitch. It’s just really fun watching her. You know that she’s going to go through a brick wall for her team and her pitcher to get there and try to catch it.’’

Belt said her mother, Melea Maddox, passed on her love of sports to her. Maddox participated in basketball, track and softball at Thomas Jefferson.

“She has always been my big motivation,’’ Belt said. “She has pushed me to keep going with (my sports), even though it’s hard on my body. She makes sure I get to them on time. And she loves watching me. She’s a big role model.’’

Belt is a varsity cross country runner. She hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer last December against Abraham Lincoln, ending the program’s 21-game losing streak to the Lynx. She was the track team’s top 1,500- and 3,000-meter runner in the spring, while finishing second on the soccer team in scoring with 12 goals.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to sit still,’’ Belt said. “I love playing them all.’’

Belt was difficult to keep off the basepaths, finishing with a .495 on-base percentage. She had seven doubles, two triples and a homer.

Anderson, who was the city player of the year in 1989 as Amy Midkiff, said Belt sets a strong example for the other T.J. athletes.

“She’s one of those kids where if she plays something, she’s going to give it everything she’s got,’’ she said. “She cares about her team. She cares about whatever sport she’s going to play.’’

Belt said she welcomes the next two years, when she’ll be one of the older team members and can impart her wisdom on others.

“I want to step up and be a bigger leader and help out the younger kids,’’ she said.

In addition to her mother, her grandmother, Barb Belt, and her sister, Taylor Maddox, are also mainstays at all of her Yellow Jacket games. Taylor will be a sophomore at T.J. this fall.

“They work around my schedule,’’ Hannah Belt said. “It’s hard to plan a vacation. They’re always supporting me through everything and always cheering me on at my games.’’

Council Bluffs Softball Players of the Year

2019 – Hannah Belt, Thomas Jefferson

2018 – Ashtyn Miller, Lewis Central

2017 – Josie Shudak, Lewis Central

2016 – McKena Duffek, Lewis Central

2015 – Lauren Nahnsen, Abraham Lincoln

2014 – Lauren Nahnsen, Abraham Lincoln

2013 – Lauren Meeker, Abraham Lincoln

2012 – Allie Martinez, Lewis Central

2011 – Taylor Powers, Abraham Lincoln

2010 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central

2009 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central

2008 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central

2007 – Brittnie Kreiser, Lewis Central

2006 – Kimber Markley, Abraham Lincoln

2005 – Kimber Markley, Abraham Lincoln

2004 – Sarah Walck, Thomas Jefferson

2003 – Kellie Price, Abraham Lincoln

2002 – Angie Bergantzel, Thomas Jefferson

2001 – Melissa Respeliers, St. Albert

2000 – Kristen Kinsel, Lewis Central

1999 – Anna Petersen, Abraham Lincoln

1998 – Molly Parrott, Lewis Central

1997 – Heidi Livingston, Abraham Lincoln

1996 – Keri Feilen, Abraham Lincoln

1995 – Anne Howsare, Lewis Central

1994 – Mandi Phillips, Abraham Lincoln

1993 – Tracy Cochran, Thomas Jefferson

1992 – Kristi Blachford, Lewis Central

1991 – Suzanne Riche, Lewis Central

1990 – Kristine Heller, Lewis Central

1989 – Amy Midkiff, Thomas Jefferson

1988 – Michelle Koch, Thomas Jefferson

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