by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Lana Ross has gone near and far as she continues to build the softball program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, landing what has the makings of an outstanding freshmen class.
Limited in recruiting in her first season as head coach because of her late hiring last July, Ross’ first team nevertheless won 38 games and reached the Region VI championship game. This fall, she’ll have 10 promising newcomers to blend in with seven returning starters from this year’s 38-20 squad,
“I’m super excited for next year; it’s a team I think can make strides in the conference and put us back on the map in the Jayhawk,” Ross said. “We have a lot of freshmen who have played a lot of good softball and will make an impact not only athletically but in leadership roles as well. And all 10 have outstanding records in the classroom.”
Six of the newcomers come from Kansas and Missouri including five from the immediate Kansas City area. They’ll be joined by two pair of teammates, one duo from Oklahoma, the other from New Zealand.
Heading the list is a pair of Lansing High School standouts, right-handed pitcher Bradi Basler and infielder Haley Masisak.
“We are counting on Bradi making an immediate impact,” Ross said. “She throws hard, moves the ball around real well with good spin. An all-around athlete, she’s a good hitter and can also play first base. Masisak is a right-hand power hitter who plays on the KC Lightning Strike club team.”
They’ll be joined by two members of the PSA Messer club team, shortstop Madison Pope of McLouth and first baseman Madison Prough of Olathe South.
“Pope is a very good defensive shortstop while Prough is a left-handed power hitter,” Ross said.
Taylor Farr, an outfielder from Platte County High School, has the quickness and experience to be a defensive force in the outfield while Abby Henson of Pleasant Hope, Missouri, will provide right-hand power at third base. Henson plays on the Prospects Elite club team.
The Oklahoma prospects are catcher Alexandra Schafer of Purcell High in Lexington and first baseman Alexandra Martin of Norman North High School.
“Shafer is a good hitter, knows the game, is very vocal behind the plate and can be counted on as a leader from day one,” Ross said. “Martin was the defensive player of the two years in a row at Norman North and was 6A All-District honorable mention.”
Ross has yet to see the two prospects from New Zealand, lefthanded pitcher Nerida Elson and catcher Georgia Faunt. Both played on the same club team in New Zealand and were highly recommended by one of Ross’ former players.
Ross said as many as two more players may be signed by her and assistant Jenn Strohman. Returning sophomores will include pitchers Shay Grosstephan and Mackenzie Pinkerton, catcher Jennica Messer, shortstop Hannah Redick, third baseman Alaina Howe and outfielders Devin Purcell and Alexis Rymer.