by Alan Hoskins
Eight Kansas City Kansas Community College Blue Devils have earned recognition on the All-Jayhawk Conference baseball team for 2014.
Catcher Garrett McKinzie was named to the first team while third baseman Daniel LaMunyon, outfielder Lucas Norton and pitchers Geoffrey Birkemeier and E.J. Merlo were selected to the second team. Earning honorable mention recognition were shortstop Zane Mapes, outfielder Christian Arnold and pitcher Hunter Phillips.
A two-year starter from Raymore-Peculiar, McKinzie hit. 315 with eight home runs and 48 runs batted in. He also led in walks with 30 and tied for the team lead in slugging percentage (.525). A second team All-Jayhawk selection last year, he was second in hitting with a 331 average and drove in 34 runs as a freshman.
A sophomore from Liberty, Mo., Norton lashed out 82 hits to lead the Blue Devils in batting with a .366 average and in stolen bases with 29. Hitting from the leadoff spot, Norton was especially effective with runners in scoring position with a .441 batting average.
LaMunyon, a freshman from Blue Valley, was selected to the second team behind Jayhawk Player of the Year Chase Rader of Coffeyville. Second in hitting at .340, LaMunyon led in doubles with 20, was second in stolen bases with 14 and third in RBI with 43.
Birkemeier, a freshman from Papillion, Neb., led the Blue Devils pitching staff with an 8-4 record and 2.26 earned run average. His 11 complete games and two shutouts were also a team high. A sophomore from Blue Springs, Merlo compiled a 6-3 record with four complete games, 46 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.46.
One of three all-conference selections from Raymore-Peculiar, Arnold led the team in home runs (10), runs batted in (52) and slugging (.525) while hitting .305. A sophomore from Lincoln, Neb., Mapes hit .316 with 19 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a team high 21 sacrifices. Phillips, a freshman lefthander from Ray-Pec, led the Blue Devils in wins (9-7) and strikeouts (60) while compiling a 4.28 ERA.