SIX STARTERS TO RETURN; KCKCC SOFTBALL FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Time ran out on Kansas City Kansas Community College's 2013 softball season but not without prospects for better things to come.
No. 1, Coach Kacy Tillery will a half-dozen seven starters from this year's 13-22 team, and No. 2, the weather can't be as bad next spring as it was the past season.
"We lost 32 games – 16 doubleheaders – to weather," said Tillery, who was able to get in only two non-conference twin bills. "While other teams were playing 50 or 60 games, we were playing 35 during the regular season. That really hurt because every game we played we got better. Other coaches at the regional tournament told me they were glad they didn't have to play us because they knew once we started playing, we'd be tough to beat."
That team's progress was particularly evident in the Region VI playoffs. Beaten 9-0 and 9-2 by Johnson County April 3, the Lady Blue Devils beat the nationally ranked Cavaliers 3-1 in the first game of a best-of-three series and then after a second game loss, took JCCC to the wire in a 5-3 loss. "MoNica Lee pitched the best game of the season in the first game but errors killed us in the final game," said Tillery. Only one of JCCC's five runs was earned.
Key losses will be the battery of sisters MoNica Lee and Alyssa Lee, both of SM North; pitcher Myrian Cisneros of William Chrisman; and designated hitter Emily Lappert of Truman. The workhorse of the pitching staff, MoNica Lee was 6-10 on the mound while hitting .418 as the starting centerfielder when not on the mound.
As the starting catcher, Alyssa Lee hit .368 and led the team in runs-batted-in with 32. Lappert hit .324 as the DH while Cisneros was 1-8 on the mound. Other sophs who will be lost are Cassie Morrison of Eudora, Hayla Demel of Claflin, Chelsea Brewer of Clinton, Maite Urena and Tayler Sherrill of SM North and Stephanie Blazek of Las Vegas.
The Blue Devils will return their entire stating infield of Sydnee Wilkinson (.296) at first, Amanda Holroyd (.340) of Tonganoxie at second, Hanna Barnhart (.375) at shortstop and all-conference third baseman Lacy Santiago (.426) of Maunaloa, Hawaii. Barnhart and Holyfield led the Blue Devils in home runs with five each with Baarnhart second in RBI with 29.
Southpaw Myranda Ybarra of Washington will return to the mound after compiling a 6-6 record with a 4.10 earned run average. "Myranda pitched well against the top seven teams she pitched against and was one our most improved players," said Tillery.
"I'm excited about next year," added Tillery, who was assisted by Cody Schierbaum. "We've got a good class coming in, all from the state of Kansas."