Lovell Named MVP; Reid Voted Mike Haen Hustle Award Winner

Lovell Named MVP; Reid Voted Mike Haen Hustle Award Winner

Brandon Reid pitched only three innings last year at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Eli Lovell did not hit a home run.

            Today, Reid is the recipient of the annual Mike Haen Hustle Award and Lovell the Blue Devils' Most Valuable Player for 2016 as chosen by a vote of their fellow players.

            Given each year in honor of the late Mike Haen, who was shot and killed while serving as a reserve police officer only weeks after being named KCKCC head baseball coach in 1978, the Mike Haen Hustle Award is given to the player who best demonstrates the character and qualities of the late coach.

            "It's great, I'm very happy," said Reid. "I hope this will teach all the freshmen what a lot of hard work can do for you." A sophomore righthander, Reid was spectacular down the stretch with a pair of shutouts and two 2-hitters in his last four starts. He finished the year with a 6-2 record with 4.54 earned run average.

            "Off the field, pretty close to a straight A student with great character," said KCKCC Coach Matt Goldbeck said of Reid. "Just a great work ethic on and off the field. The best example one Saturday before a home game he was in the Wellness Center working out. He wasn't pitching but he didn't have to. To have him throw only three innings last year and then come on the way he did, working his way through some early season struggles and dominating at the end of the year was very special."

            A .358 hitter with no home runs and 38 RBI as a freshman, Lovell blasted 15 home runs this season while leading the Blue Devils in hitting (.451), runs-batted-in (82), hits (96), extra base hits (41) and stolen bases (16).

            "Eli put up tremendous numbers because of how hard he worked," said Goldbeck. "He worked extra hard on his craft, coming in on Sundays and hitting before and after practice. He wanted to be a centerfielder and made himself into a good one after playing the corner positions last year."

Ironically, both Reid and Lovell came to KCKCC on recommendations of former players. "Alex Thrower was a centerfielder here and recommended me to the coaches," said Reid, a sophomore from Toronto, Ontario. "I came down and tried out and they liked what they saw. It was my only D1 offer."

From three innings as a freshman, Reid threw 78.1 innings this year. "I worked my tail off last year and over the summer, working with my pitching coach and my personal trainer back home." His only two losses came early in the season. "Halfway through the season everything started to click and I started shutting teams down. Coach Goldbeck recommended that I go to a two-seam fastball and I started seeing a lot more ground balls."

In his final four starts, Reid blanked Fort Scott 3-0 on four hits; held conference champion Neosho without a hit for five innings before finishing with a 2-hitter in an 11-1 win; blanked Barton County 13-0 on two hits in the opening round of playoffs; and then scattered six hits in 7.1 innings in a 4-2 win over offensive juggernaut Hutchinson in the super-regional opener.

Reid has yet to decide where he'll pitch next season but has narrowed his choices to three NCAA Division II powers, North Alabama, Missouri Western and Central Missouri, where he would rejoin one of the coaches who recruited him to KCKCC, Mules' assistant Damian Stambersky.

Lovell's decision to come to KCKCC was influenced by Easton Edmond who was a year ahead of him at Lincoln Southwest High School. "He knew me from high school and told the coaches about me and I was recruited in the fall of my senior year," said Lovell.

After his .358 freshman season without a home run, Lovell spent last summer playing for the Midwest A's in the Mid-Plains League in Kansas City. "I worked my tail off during the summer, lifting and hitting every day," he said. The result 15 homeruns, 82 RBI and team leading .451 batting average.

 

PHOTO IDENT

 

Eli Lovell (left) has been voted the Most Valuable Player on the 2016 KCKCC baseball team and Brandon Reid the recipient of the annual Mike Haen Hustle Award for the player who best demonstrated the qualities of Haen, who was shot and killed while a reserve police officer shortly after being named head KCKCC baseball coach in 1978. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)