Archive for Sports

Pro fastpitch softball to return to KCK this summer

Professional fastpitch softball is returning to Kansas City, Kansas, in 2017 with a three-game series in July.

The Kansas City T-Bones will serve as the host stadium to the series in CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas.

The USSSA Pride and the Texas Charge will play the series at 7:05 p.m. July 10, 11 and 12.

“This is a fun event to bring to Kansas City and showcase at CommunityAmerica Ballpark,” said T-Bones vice president and general manager Chris Browne. “We’re glad to partner with USSSA and National Pro Fastpitch for the third year in a row. We’re thrilled to showcase women’s pro softball at our park.”

The USSSA Pride, out of Florida, has played each of the last three seasons at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

The Pride features NCAA softball career home run record holder Lauren Chamberlain plus the 2016 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, Sierra Romero, who was the first player in NCAA softball history to record 300 runs, 300 hits and 300 RBIs in her career.

The Texas Charge, a team from the Austin area, features Lauren Heager, who was the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. She was the first player in NCAA history to hit at least 60 career home runs and notch at least 60 career wins.

The NPF games at CommunityAmerica Ballpark will coincide with the World Fastpitch Championship, which is scheduled to feature 64 of the top 12U/14U/16U/18U amateur fastpitch teams from more than 25 states. Those games will be played throughout greater Kansas City during July 11-16.

“We are very excited to return to the Kansas City metro area and play in front of the electric crowds at CommunityAmerica Ballpark,” said Jami Lobpries, the vice president of USSSA Fastpitch. “It’s been a great experience the past two years working with the T-Bones to create a dynamic week of fastpitch action. This NPF series during our World Fastpitch Championship is a great opportunity for us to combine the best players in the professional game with the top amateur fastpitch players, all in one location.”

Tickets for this summer’s NPF games will go on sale to the public on Monday, March 20, at the Providence Medical Center Box Office at CommunityAmerica Ballpark or by calling 913-328-5618.

Story from Matt Fulks, T-Bones senior director of media relations

Besler, Zusi to join U.S. Men’s Team for World Cup qualifiers

Matt Besler

Graham Zusi

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of crucial World Cup qualifying matches against Honduras on March 24 and Panama on March 28.

Besler is added to head coach Bruce Arena’s 25-player roster alongside New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who is a replacement for the injured Bobby Wood.

Besler will be joined on the U.S. MNT squad by Sporting KC teammate Graham Zusi, who replaced the injured Fabian Johnson in a roster change.

The United States will now prepare for an all-important World Cup qualifier versus Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza and Honduras on Friday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. The contest will kick off at 9:30 p.m. on FS1, UniMas and UDN. Four days later, the Americans will travel to face Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live at 9 p.m. on beIN SPORTS, Telemundo and NBC Universo.

The U.S. MNT is off to an 0-2-0 start in the Hexagonal, which serves as CONCACAF’s final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Eight games still remain for all six teams in the Hex, with the top three finishers automatically advancing to the World Cup and the fourth-place finisher meeting an Asian country in a two-legged playoff in November.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica at the end of 2016 have given Arena’s men extra impetus to #Get3 against fourth-place Honduras, which enters Friday with one win and one loss.

Besler, 30, has 39 career caps for the United States, including 10 international appearances in 2016. He earned two starts at the Copa America last summer before scoring his first U.S. goal in a World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines in September.

A native of Overland Park and the first Kansan to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Besler has featured regularly along the Americans’ backline since debuting in 2013. The center back helped lead the U.S. to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and started all four matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as the MNT reached the Round of 16.

Besler joined Sporting Kansas City in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Notre Dame and has since become one of the club’s most decorated players. In addition to winning the 2013 MLS Cup and the 2012 and 2015 U.S. Open Cups, Besler has garnered MLS Best XI (2012-13), MLS All-Star (2011, 2013-16) and 2012 MLS Defender of the Year honors during a successful professional career.

Now in his ninth MLS season, Besler has made 242 appearances for his hometown club in all competitions – fifth most on Sporting Kansas City’s all-time charts. Since 2011, no MLS player has contributed to more shutouts in the regular season than Besler’s 56. During the same timeframe, he also leads MLS in clearances and ranks second in interceptions.

Zusi, 30, has earned 44 caps for the U.S. since 2012, recording five goals and six assists. He most recently captained the side in a 1-0 friendly win over Jamaica last month, and also played five matches at the 2016 Copa America last summer. The Longwood, Florida, native tallied two assists in four appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and also competed at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

An eight-year veteran of MLS, Zusi joined Sporting Kansas City in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. He has amassed 29 goals and 60 assists in 229 competitive appearances for the club, ranking second on Kansas City’s all-time assist chart. He has started the first two MLS matches of 2017 at right back, helping Sporting KC to a pair of clean sheets.

In addition to winning the 2013 MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cups, Zusi has landed numerous individual accolades during his professional career. He notably received MLS Best XI (2012-13) and 2011 MLS Breakout Player of the Year honors and was the only player to appear in every MLS All-Star Game from 2012-2015.

– Information from Sporting KC

Stephens’ one-hit shutout lets Blue Devils split at Independence

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Lefthander Shae Stevens hurled a one-hit 8-0 gem to extend Kansas City Kansas Community College’s winning streak to five in a row at Independence Saturday but the Blue Devils could not overcome three Pirate home runs in a 6-5 nightcap loss..

The split kept the Blue Devils (15-10) tied for fourth with Johnson County in the Jayhawk Conference at 7-5. Allen County and Fort Scott share the conference lead at 10-2 with Cowley third at 8-4.

The Blue Devils are home to Longview Tuesday for a single 9-inning game at 2 p.m. before playing host to Labette in a Jayhawk twin bill Thursday at 1 p.m.

A sophomore from Mill Valley, Stephens retired the first 13 hitters he faced before Indy’s most serious threat. Two walks and a single by Jacob Moyer loaded the bases before an inning-ending strikeout. Stephens struck six, walked four,

The Blue Devils backed him with 11 hits including three by Tyler Pittman and two each by Alex Phillips, Brandon Green and Josh Schumacher.

KCKCC jumped in front 1-0 in the first on a triple by Pittman and a single by Phillips and added two more in the second on a walk, error, a run-scoring single by Schumacher and Albert Woodard’s squeeze bunt.

KCKCC put the game away with three runs in the fourth. The first four hitters in the lineup, Woodard, Pittman, Phillips and Green all singled for two runs and Easton Fortuna singled in the third.

The Blue Devils couldn’t make a 5-3 lead hold up in the second game.

Trailing 3-2 going into the eighth inning, Chase Redick tied the game with his fourth home run of the season and the Blue Devils took a two-run lead on singles sandwiched around by an error by Fortuna and Drew Holtgrieve.

But the Pirates came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring one run on a single and a pair of walks and then won it on Jacob Mueller’s two-run home run.

Tyler Benge accounted for Indy’s first three runs with a solo home run in the second and a two-run home run in the fifth that erased a 2-1 KCKCC lead. The Blue Devils had gone ahead 3-2 in the fourth on a double by Holtgrieve, walk, wild pitch and a single by Phillips.

The Blue Devils collected nine hits including two doubles by Woodard and a pair of hits each by Redick, Fortuna and Holtgrieve.

Corey Cowan allowed just three hits and one run over the first five innings before Julian Rivera and Luke Ostenson surrendered the two-run home runs.