Cobb returns home to Kansas Speedway

Jennifer Jo Cobb (File photo)

Kansas City, Kan., native Jennifer Jo Cobb, returns home for the first-ever night race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Friday, May 16.

Cobb will be driving the No.10 Mark One Electric Chevrolet Silverado, a model that has a new body style, for the 1.5 mile tracks.

Cobb starts the race on Friday currently 15th in points with primary and returning sponsor Mark One Electric on the hood. This race marks the ninth time Mark One Electric has sponsored her at the Kansas Speedway. She was recently in town to help Mark One celebrate its 40th anniversary by making an appearance at a private event held at its Kansas City, Mo., facility.

“What an honor to receive the support of a local, family owned business in Mark One Electric. We have the pleasure of hosting many of their employees and clients during the pre-race and race day activities,” Cobb said. “I’m looking forward to watching the first Sprint Cup Series night race in the Mark One suite Saturday night as well.”

And the hometown love doesn’t stop there. Other local Kansas City businesses supporting Cobb are Arrow Truck sales which sells pre-owned medium and heavy-duty trucks throughout North America, and Pizza Shoppe, Kansas City’s original neighborhood pizza place. Additional sponsors include Referral Leaders International, Candlewood Suites and, a Kansas City-based women-owned organization dedicated to helping female racers.

Cobb is a fixture in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. She has broken records for females in the series including the highest points finisher in 2010, the highest race finisher (6th at Daytona) in 2011 and in 2012 she finished the season as the female with the most series starts.

Cobb will be making several appearances this week and fans can meet her and obtain a free autographed picture both at the Sunfresh Legends of Speed presented by the U.S. Army, where numerous drivers will be signing autographs at the Legends Outlets near the Kansas Speedway on Thursday, May 8. Drivers will be signing in staggered time slots from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

–    Information from Tracey Passantino

Difficult playoff losses end KCKCC’s 32-win softball season

by Alan Hoskins

One of the best Kansas City Kansas Community College softball seasons in recent years came to a disappointing end Saturday but just like the Lady Blue Devil basketball season, it took a nationally ranked team to end it.
Ranked No. 8 in Division II, Highland (40-9) earned its fifth straight trip to the NJCAA national tournament by edging KCKCC 4-1 in the opening round and then defeated Independence 7-5 and 6-3 to win the double elimination tournament in Topeka.
“A very difficult way to end the season, not because of the loss but because we’re losing such a great group of sophomores,” said a tearful KCKCC coach Kacy Tillery, whose Blue Devils (32-15) rebounded from the opening loss with a 3-0 blanking of Cloud County only to be eliminated when Independence rallied for five runs in the seventh inning for a 6-3 win.
Despite the difficult season-ending losses, Tillery was especially proud of the Blue Devils’ effort, particularly defensively where the Blue Devils were errorless in two of the three games.

“Mierra Morrisette made one of the most incredible catches I’ve ever seen in leftfield, a somersaulting catch in which she came up with the ball behind her back,” Tillery said. “I was afraid she’d broken her arm.”

Offensively, KCKCC was led by sophomore catcher Megan Dike, who drove in five runs on two doubles and four singles in the three games, and Justice Scales, who had a double and four singles.

One bad inning was the difference in KCKCC’s opening round loss to Highland. Leading 1-0 in the fifth, the Scotties bunched four of their eight hits and a walk – all with two out – to score three times and lead 4-0.

KCKCC got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Amanda Holroyd, hit batsman and an RBI single by Dike but left the bases loaded on a line drive out after a single by Ashley Henington. The Blue Devils also had two runners on with one out in the seventh before a game-ending double play.

Leslie Ford bounced back after the opening loss to scatter five singles and only one after the third inning in the 3-0 win over Cloud. She struck out five, walked one. KCKCC took a 1-0 lead in the third on an error and singles by Scales and Morrisette and added two more in the fifth when Dike delivered a two-out, two-run double following a single by Scales, error and walk. Dike had three hits and Scales and Morrisette two each.

Trailing 1-0, KCKCC scored three times in the bottom of the sixth for a 3-1 lead against Independence only to have the Pirates tie the game in the seventh on a two-run home run with one out and then win it by scoring three runs on four straight hits, two doubles and two singles, all with two out. A sacrifice fly by Hanna Barnhart and Dike’s two-run single scored KCKCC’s three runs in the sixth after loading the bases on two errors and a hit batsman. KCKCC managed just four hits, two by Dike and only one after the second inning.

KCKCC wins regional; faces JCCC re-match in super-regional Friday

by Alan Hoskins

Kansas City Kansas Community College is headed for the NJCAA super-regional baseball tournament opening in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita Friday.
An 8-2 winner in the third and final game of a best-of-three regional series at Colby Sunday, the Blue Devils (36-20) will play the opener of the 8-team super-regional against 15th ranked and No. 1 seeded Johnson County (44-11) at 10 a.m. Friday. A double elimination tournament, games between first round winners and losers will be played starting Saturday.
“We wanted a chance at either Johnson or Neosho because we hadn’t got everything straightened out when we played earlier,” said KCKCC Coach Steve Burleson. Swept in four-game series by both Neosho and JCCC in mid-March, the Blue Devils rebounded to win 21 of their final 24 Jayhawk Conference games.
Geoff Birkemeier got the Blue Devils in front in the regional with a nifty 5-hitter in a 5-3 opening game win Friday only to have Colby take the second game 12-2 and force Sunday’s showdown finale.
Sophomore catcher Garrett McKinzie delivered the game’s biggest blow in the final game, a two-out, three-run home run that put KCKCC ahead to stay 4-1 in the fifth inning. “The home run was huge,” said Burleson. “It gave us the separation we were needing to allow us to survive a mistake in the field or on the mound.”
Scattering four hits including a second inning home run, E.J. Merlo took a 5-1 lead into the sixth only to load the bases on a walk, hit and hit batsman with one out. Derek Watkins came on and after getting one out, wild pitched a run home but slammed the door the rest of the way, allowing just one hit and walking two the final three innings. He was helped in the seventh when shortstop Zane Mapes’ throw to third baseman Daniel LaMunyon cut down a potential leadoff triple on a ball hit to leftfielder Alex Thrower. “That was a difference maker and very uncharacteristic of Colby’s team making the first out of an inning at third base,” said Burleson.
Mapes paced a 14-hit KCKCC attach with three singles while Luke Norton doubled and singled and Tanner Thibodeau, Christian Arnold and Tanner Foerschler singled twice.
Norton doubled and scored on a McGarrett’s ground ball for a1-0 lead in the first while hits by Mapes and Thibodeau set the stage for McGarrett’s 3-run homer in the fifth. A wild pitch after a hit batsman and a Norton single made it 5-1 in the sixth and the Blue Devils put the game out of reach in the ninth, scoring three times on hits by Foerschler, Mapes and Thibodeau and McGarrett’s sacrifice fly, his fifth RBI of the game.
Birchmeier allowed only one hit over the first six innings before Colby bunched its final four hits for a pair of runs in the seventh of KCKCC’s 5-3 opening win. The Blue Devils jumped in front 3-0 in the second, scoring twice on a double by LaMunyon, triple by Thibodeau and single by Thrower and then added a third run on a bunt single by Mapes and Norton’s squeeze bunt. Two-out run-scoring singles by Norton in the fourth and Mapes in the sixth scored the final two runs.
Pounding out 16 hits, Colby never trailed in the 12-2 win, scoring twice in both the first and third innings and six times in the eighth. LaMunyon doubled and singled, Arnold singled twice and Sam Baxter doubled for KCKCC.