KCKCC’s Gacke, Combs named to all-Jayhawk second team

Cole Gacke (KCKCC photo)

Rorey Combs (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Pitcher Cole Gacke and outfielder Rorey Combs headline Kansas City Kansas Community College’s post-season baseball honors.

Both Gacke and Combs were named to the East All-Jayhawk Conference second team. In addition, outfielder Josh Shumacher, first baseman Brandon Still and shortstop Kevin Santiago earned honorable mention. All are sophomores with the exception of Santiago.

The selections were made by a vote of conference coaches, who could not vote on their own players. KCKCC (17-19) finished in a tie for sixth and seventh in the Jayhawk East although the Blue Devils were only two games back of third place Neosho County and Johnson County, both 19-17. No Blue Devil was selected to the All-Region VI team.

A righthander from Liberty North, Gacke compiled a 10-2 record which tied him for second in pitching victories in the Jayhawk. Gacke made 14 starts and completed eight including a pair of shutouts, all team highs. He also led the Blue Devils in innings pitched with 83 2/3 and had an outstanding strike out to walk ratio, fanning 70 while walking 24. He had a 5.06 earned run average.

A lefthanded hitter from Truman High School in Independence, Combs finished second in runs-batted-in with 51 and third in home runs with seven while hitting .340 in 59 games. The team leader in slugging percentage at .613, Combs was also second in extra base hits (28) and stolen bases (16).

Schumacher, an outfielder from Aurora, Coloradp, led the Blue Devils in batting average (.387), hits (82), runs (74) and stolen bases (18) while driving in 34 runs and slugging .575 from the leadoff spot in the batting order. A two-year starter, Schumacher was flawless defensively, handling 68 chances without an error.

Still, who saw limited action as a freshman, was the Blue Devils most improved player. A first baseman from Springdale, Arkansas, he was third in hitting (.342) and RBI (46). He was also fourth in extra base hits (25) and fifth in slugging percentage (.532).

Santiago led the Blue Devils in RBI (63), slugging (.713), home runs (11) and extras base hits (35) while hitting .386. A freshman from Jayua, Puerto Rico, he was also second in hits (78) and runs scored (54).

Cowley College, which won the Jayhawk East with a 32-4 but was beaten in the finals of the Region VI championship by West Division winner Barton County, dominated the All-Jayhawk team with seven players on the 14-member first team including five freshmen.

Outfielder Alex Peterson was named Co-MVP and Freshman of the Year while another frosh, Andrew Roach, was named Pitcher of the Year. Peterson led the East in hitting (.447) and the region in RBI (88) while stealing 23 bases. Roach was 6-1 with a 3.88 earned run average.

Fort Scott’s Andrew Morrow shared MVP honors with Peterson after hitting .424 with 17 home runs, both second in the division.

In Independence’s final season of baseball, Beau Schultz was named the East Coach of the Year after guiding the Pirates to a sixth place tie and a return to the playoffs. Independence has announced it no longer will be offering baseball on a competitive basis.

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