Libby Bemis hasn't exactly up and left South Central Iowa. She was an assistant coach on Interstate 35's state place-winning (5th) place softball team this past summer.
But after a career as a Division II national championship winner on the powerful Minnesota State softball team, Bemis has decided to forgo her final spring in Mankato, and return to the area as a Graceland University Yellowjacket.
"I wanted to move back home closer to everyone," Bemis said. "I wanted to move back closer to my family and friends. I am anxious for softball season though as well."
The former Clarke Indian state championship-winning pitcher will be home for her senior season, ready to show off for the South Central Iowa faithful.
Bemis posted a 23-4 record in 153 innings of work for MSU last year. She struck out 152 batters and owned a 1.69 E.R.A.
Her impact upon the NAIA program will be immediate.
"She definitely solidifies our pitching staff. Definitely a one or two starter in the circle," Graceland coach Todd Verwers said. "She also swings the bat very well. She didn't get to hit at MSU but she will at GU. "She was a No. 3 hitter in high school. I also look for her to fill a DH role for us as well as some first base in certain situations. A great person, state champion, and national champion."
Bemis decided to transfer at the most recent semester break as a result of the different standards required for certified teachers in Minnesota and Iowa.
"There were more requirements in Minnesota for teaching that didn't match up to Iowa's teaching requirements," Bemis said.
Her goal is to teach in Iowa after school.
She reached out to Yellowjacket players, asking questions to figure out what direction the program was going. After some discussion between Verwers and Bemis' family, Bemis was granted a release from MSU to speak with Verwers. Bemis applied for admission, and signed with the program.
Verwers said it all happened over seven days on winter break.
"I plan to be a go-to pitcher and play some defense when I'm not throwing and finally use my bat for the first time since high school," Bemis said.
Bemis is already making preparations for the rapidly approaching season. Graceland's first games are set for Feb. 16 in Springfield, Missouri.
Graceland also welcomes six player transfers from NJCAA Division III four-time defending JUCO champs Rock Valley College, making Bemis one of seven championship-winning transfer players to land on the Yellowjacket roster this spring.
The Yellowjackets' first home game is scheduled to be played on March 14 against William Penn.
"It was an awesome experience being a national champion and I enjoyed my opportunity to play at a DII level," Bemis said.
"I am happy to come closer to home for some hometown fans to come and watch again," She added.