by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Hutchinson scored 16 runs in taking two-of-three games from Kansas City Kansas Community College in the NJCAA Region VI softball plays, Thirteen of the 16 runs were scored in two innings,
“That was our downfall,” said KCKCC coach Kacy Tillery. “Just about every game we lost it was because of one big inning we could not get a stop.”
On the plus side of a 23-22 season, the Lady Blue Devils were the best hitting team in KCKCC history with a combined batting average of .392, five hitters with averages of over .400 and the first Blue Devil to hit .500.
Alison Kassick, the Blue Devils’ freshman designated hitter from Basehor-Linwood, batted a robust .504 – the second highest average in the Jayhawk Conference. Kasick also led the Blue Devils in home runs (10), doubles (15), runs-batted-in (59) and slugging (.882).
Kaylynn Stratton, sophomore leftfielder from Turner, headed the list of .400 hitters with a .472 mark that was fifth best in the Jayhawk. She was joined in the .400 club by centerfielder Hannah Bishop of Van Horn, .441; rightfielder LaTisha Thomas of Highland Park, .434; and shortstop Candice Jennings of Basehor-Linwood, .412. All are sophomores.
Freshman first baseman Mikaela Hoffart of Salina, who was runnerup in RBI’s with 35, headed the rest of the regulars with a .365 average followed by third baseman Katherine Stringer of Coffeyville, .341; second baseman Sam Sudac of Shawnee Mission South, .337; and catcher Amy-Grace Wilson of Ottawa, .298.
Backup catcher Grace Grosvenor of Lee’s Summit hit .391 in 15 games; pitchers Shannon Greene of McLouth, .375; Megan Sumonja of Lawrence, .235; and Cheyenna Owens of Pleasant Ridge, who had four hits in seven times at bat for a .571 average.
Pitching-wise, Sumonja led with 10 wins while compiling a 3.46 earned run average. Greene won nine games with a 4.44 ERA while Megan Mason had a 3.45 ERA in 18 appearances.
Graduation will take 10 sophomores, leaving Kasick, Hoffart, Greene, Grosevnor and Owens as the only returnees who saw considerable action.
“We had some others who got some playing time, several who can step right in and play well next year as we did with last year’s freshmen who stepped into starting roles this year,” Tillery said. “With the players coming back and the 14 recruits we’ve signed for next year, we’re excited.”
The one thing KCKCC batted 1.000 on this season was the new all-weather softball complex.
“Region 16 from Missouri brought its NJCAA Division I district tournament here last Wednesday and Thursday,” Tillery said. In addition, Johnson County and Fort Scott played a doubleheader at KCKCC as did Maple Woods because their fields were not playable.
“Others couldn’t say enough good things about the new field and how it was done the right way,” Tillery said. “They said they were jealous. We’re the envy of the conference.”