2019-2020 Softball News
Blue Devils come back from 12-5 deficit to sweep State FairMarch 05, 2020If Lana Ross learned anything about her 2020 Kansas City Kansas Community College softball team Tuesday, it was that the Blue Devils have a lot of fight. Trailing State Fair 12-5 after five innings, the Blue Devils rallied in both the seventh and eighth innings for a wild 14-13 opening game and then posted a 9-1 5-inning win in the night cap. The wins boosted the Blue Devils’ record to 5-1 heading into some early season showdowns. At Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., Thursday, KCKCC hosts No. 9 ranked Kirkwood Friday at 1 and 3 p.m. and then goes to Northeast Oklahoma A&M in Miami on Sunday. The Blue Devils won Tuesday’s 14-13 on three straight doubles with none oute in the eighth inning. State Fair had taken a 13-12 lead in the top of the inning on a two-out fly ball that was inches fair but Hannah Redick and Alexis Rymer rapped doubles to left to tie the game and Alaina Howe won it with a high drive to the fence in centerfield. Down 12-9 in the seventh, the Blue Devils pulled even on Bradi Basler’s ground ball to leftfield that scored two runs. Singles by Lisa Seichepine, Devin Purcell and Abby Henson set up the game-tying hit. KCKCC started its comeback from the 12-5 deficit with four runs in the sixth, the big blow a bases-clearing double by Redick. Redick finished the day with a solo home run in the fifth, two doubles, a single and five runs-batted-in. Purcell and Leah Seichepine also had four hits and Henson, Basler, Rymer and Howe two each and Jennica Messer deliver a double that ignited the four-run sixth. The pitching winner in both games, Basler (3-1) got the win in the opener with two innings of one run, one hit relief. Shay Grosstephan worked the first 5.1 innings, giving up nine runs on 14 hits. Freshman Nerida Elson finished the 4-run sixth inning, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks. The Blue Devils made the nightcap easy for Basler, getting two-run home runs from Rymer and Grosstephan and scoring five runs in the first inning on the way to the 9-1 win. Grosstephan and Howe each doubled in a pair of runs in the first inning; Rymer homered after a Redick single in the third; and Grosstephan followed a walk with a 2-run shot in the fourth. Rymer finished with three hits and three RBI; Purcell and Henson each singled and doubled; and Grosstephan drove in four. Basler faced just 21 hitters in five innings, allowing one run on four hits. She struck out seven and walked two. Fielding-wise, the Blue Devils were errorless in both wins. “I wasn’t really happy about how we gave up runs in the first game but very pleased the way we battled back in the first game and then settled down in the second,” said Ross.
KCKCC Ranked 18th in NJCAA Pre-Season Softball PollJanuary 27, 2020Kansas City Kansas Community College will open the 2020 softball season ranked No. 18 in the NJCAA DII pre-season national rankings. It is the first time the Blue Devils have been ranked in the pre-season poll and the first time in any national rankings since the 2004 team reached the NJCAA national tournament. KCKCC is one of three Jayhawk Conference teams ranked in the opening poll. Highland is ranked No. 5 and Johnson County No. 8. “A nice compliment, a little credit to the program after the season (38-20) we had last year,” said second year head coach Lana Ross. “It’s a great recruiting tool and lets our recruits know we working to get better. But as far as this team goes, we’re really not looking at the polls. We’re just looking at what we need to do to get better every single day.” Despite the worst spring weather in a couple of decades, the Blue Devils’ 38 wins last season equaled the second most wins in a season. The Blue Devils also divided regular season series with each of the three co-championship teams and reached the NJCAA Region VI district championship game. In her 16th season of coaching, Ross is no stranger to being ranked. In her 13 seasons at Iowa Western, her teams were ranked 11 times. Seven veterans return from last year’s squad, all starters. They include pitchers Shaylun Grosstephan and Mackenzie Pinkerton, catcher Jennica Messer, infielders Hannah Redick and Alaina Howe and outfielders Devin Purcell and Alexis Rymer. They are joined by an outstanding freshman class of 10. “This team has some talent; we just need to put it together,” says Ross. “Right now, we’re at about 40 percent of what we need to be. We’re four weeks away from our season opener so we have four weeks to go from 40 percent to 80 percent. The work ethic is there but I’m not seeing that inner drive of coming to practice and wanting to get better – part of which probably can be attributed to having to practicing inside. Hopefully we’ll be able to get outside Sunday and Monday.” The Blue Devils will open the season Tuesday, Feb. 25, when they host the No. 5 ranked team in the nation, Kirkwood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Metropolitan Community College follows Feb. 27 and State Fair March 3 before KCKCC goes on the road for the first time. PHOTO IDENT Head coach Lana Ross keeps a watchful eye on indoor batting practice as she readies her No. 18 ranked KCKCC softball team for the start of the 2020 season Feb. 25. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)