by Alan Hoskins
Five Kansas City Kansas Community College players have been named to the All-Jayhawk Conference softball team for 2014.
Sophomores Hanna Barnhart of Bishop Ward and Mierra Morrisette of Olathe were selected to the first team and Lacey Santiago to the second team while freshmen Leslie Ford of Garden City and Justice Scales of Shawnee Mission South earned honorable mention.
“I’m really proud of our Kansas kids, four of the five all-conference picks are from Kansas,” said KCKCC coach Kacy Tillery. “In fact, Lacey Santiago, our Flyin’ Hawaiian, is the only player on the squad not from Kansas and she’s been a great representative of our team in her two years.”
An outfielder who played at Notre Dame de Sion, Morrisette hit a torrid .500, led the Lady Blue Devils in runs batted in (49) and doubles (19) and for the second straight year, played the entire season without an error.
“She has incredible hand-eye coordination and hit better than .450 for the second straight year,” Tillery said.
A shortstop who anchored the infield, Barnhart batted .421 with 17 doubles and 25 RBI.
“I think it’s great to see a local athlete from Bishop Ward get recognized when so many all-conference players are from out of state,” Tillery said.
Santiago, a third baseman from Molokai, Hawaii, repeated as a second team selection after hitting .494 and stealing 14 bases from the leadoff spot. Batting second, Scales was second in hitting (.497), RBI (41) and doubles (18).
“I don’t think there’s a better one-two leadoff combination anywhere,” Tillery said. “Lacey is an incredible leadoff hitter with great game knowledge and no better third baseman anywhere; Justice Scales is perfect for the No. 2 spot because she can bunt, slap hit and hit for power along with being a flawless centerfielder.”
A righthander, Ford was the workhorse of the Blue Devil pitching staff with 172 innings, third most in the nation. Completing all of her 27 starts, she finished with a 21-6 record and 1.76 earned run average. Her seven shutouts included three no-hitters.
“I’m not sure any other pitcher in the conference had three no-hitters and statistically she was ranked nationally all season,” Tillery said. “It’s exciting that we’ll have Leslie and Justice back next season.”
Seventh in the Jayhawk this season with a 17-13 record, the Lady Blue Devils were 14-0 against non-conference opposition in taking a 31-13 record into the Region VI semifinals.
Emma Hill of No. 8 ranked Highland was selected as Most Valuable Player and Independence’s Tori Hawk Freshman of the Year.