Holly Hoelting is a little more than four years removed from her senior softball season at Pleasant Valley. 

The 22-year-old is now taking over the reins of a tradition-filled Mississippi Athletic Conference program.

Hoelting was recently hired and approved by the school board as North Scott's softball coach for the 2018 season. 

"I hope to bring a positive, competitive environment for the girls," Hoelting said. "If you have those two components, usually wins will follow. 

"I think my age will help with that. I still got a little spunk in me, and I hope bringing that to practice and games will influence the girls."

Hoelting is not new to the program. She has served as the Lancers' junior varsity coach the past three summers under Lea Rains, who stepped down after this past season. 

"I know the girls, the school, the staff and I like how the community is so involved," she said. "It was the perfect time, a perfect job to go after."

After her standout career at PV, one in which she hit 14 home runs and drove in 61 runs as a senior, Hoelting continued to play at Western Illinois. 

Hoelting batted .293 with 8 home runs and 37 RBIs last spring in her final season with the Leathernecks.

Following her freshman college season, she helped out with PV's program. 

Then Kevin Welch, a former coach at Western Illinois and on the North Scott staff for a season with Rains, recommended Hoelting. 

"I never really thought about going into coaching, but after volunteering with PV that summer, I really fell in love being on the other side of the fence," she said. 

Hoelting is in the teachers education program at St. Ambrose, with hopes of becoming a middle school science teacher in the next 18 months. 

She'll be one of four new coaches in the MAC next summer, joining Clinton's Nate Herrig, Davenport North's Briana Williams (a teammate of Hoelting's for one year at Western) and Davenport West's Jake Schumann. 

Asked if she's ready to lead her own program, Hoelting said nobody ever knows when the time is exactly right. 

"I do know with the girls in the program, I'm excited about the talent and potential that they have to compete," she said. "With the girls we have, I feel it will make it easier."

North Scott hasn't been to the state tournament since 2010. The Lancers were 23-19 this past summer and reached the Class 4A regional semifinal.

They are expected to return a half-dozen position starters along with pitchers Kendal Newman, Ashlyn Shannon and Ryann Cheek. 

Hoelting believes her age makes this a good fit.

"A lot of people know the game and know how to coach, but they don't know how to relate to 14- or 15-year-old girls when they're dealing with certain issues," she said. "I was in their shoes just a few years ago. 

"That age is so important, so I'm excited as a 22-year-old to not only build each of them up as softball players but also as a person."

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.