Banner KCKCC softball season with all but one Kansas players

Third baseman Lacey Santiago (left) and leftfielder Mierra Morisette were selected the most valuable players on the 2014 KCKCC softball team. Morisette batted .494 and did not have an error in her two seasons while Santiago hit .464 and was named to Who’s Who. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins
Over her 14 years as head softball coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Kacy Tillery has always given special emphasis to the word community and the successful 2014 season was no different.
“Nine of our 10 starters were from Kansas, four of our five all-conference players were from Kansas and six of our seven all-district selections, something I’m very proud of,” Tillery said. “That’s the most in-staters of any team on the conference.”
In fact, only one non-Kansas player made a Lady Blue Devil squad that finished 32-15, hosted a first round playoff for the first time and advanced to the regional tourney in Topeka.

“We also swept Cowley County which has since advanced to the national tournament,” said Tillery, whose Blue Devils made quick work of the first round playoff by sweeping Neosho County in two games.
An all-time best team batting average of .386 and the strong pitching of freshman Leslie Ford carried the Blue Devils to their 32 wins. “A great hitting team and one of our better defensive teams,” Tillery said.
Leading the way were the co-most valuable players, third baseman Lacey Santiago and leftfielder Mierra Morrisette. A sophomore from Olathe who played high school softball at Notre Dame de Sion, Morrisette led the team in hitting (.494), runs batted in (50) and slugging percentage (.734)  to earn first team All-Jayhawk and all-district honors . A two-year starter who did not have an error either season, Morrisette also led the KCKCC hitting last year with a .459 average.

“Probably the most unconventional athlete I’ve ever coached but with the best hand and eye coordination,”  Tillery said. “She hit everything.”
The lone non-Kansas player from Molokai, Hawaii, Santiago hit. 464 with 14 stolen bases and 23 RBI from the leadoff position. A .426 hitter as a freshman, Santiago earned first team all-district honors this year and second team last year and second team All-Jayhawk both seasons. “The anchor of our infield, she had just six errors in 47 games,” Tillery said. Santiago was also one of three Blue Devils named to Who’s Who in American Community Colleges. The others were redshirts Sydnee Wilkinson and Sheyenne Espy.
Three other starters who earned either all-conference or all-district honors will also be lost, Hanna Barnhart, an All-Jayhawk first team shortstop from Bishop Ward who hit .400 with 26 RBI; second baseman Amanda Holroyd of Tonganoxie, who hit. .391 and was second in RBI with 45; and catcher Megan Dike of Lansing, who batted .388 with 21 runs batted in. Rightfielder Ashley Henington of Blue Valley Southwest, who hit .311 with 19 RBI, will also be lost.
“They are going to be very hard to replace on the field and the way they represented the college as athletes,” said Tillery, who admittedly shed a few tears when the Blue Devils were eliminated from the district tournament.
Two first team All-Region picks head the list of returnees, Ford, who was 22-8 with a 1.91 ERA, and centerfielder Justice Scales. A righthander from Garden City, Ford’s 186.2 innings were fourth most in the nation. She had eight shutouts and three no-hitters. A graduate of SM South, Scales was second in hitting with a .491 average. She also led in extra base hits (29) was third in RBI (41) and played errorlessly in anchoring the outfield.

The other top returnees are first baseman Laura Vanderheiden of Blue Valley Southwest, who .262 with 17 RBI; and pitcher Elizabeth Seimears of Ottawa, who had a 7-7 record with a .420 ERA.

To this group Tillery has already signed 10 recruits for 2014-15.

“It’s a good start and we have others coming in for visits in the next couple of weeks,” she said.

Drive-in theater becomes a bike-in May 15

Rosedale Development Association will offer the fourth annual Bike-In Movie on Thursday, May 15 at the Boulevard Drive-In.

Two wheels will replace four under the stars as bicyclists gather to watch the movie “Ride the Divide” as part of the Greater Kansas City Bike Week 2014. Bike week began to promote bicycling in the region and will include dozens of events throughout the metro area.

The gates to the Bike-In will open at 7:30 p.m., and the show will start at sundown. Before the show, bicyclists of all ages and skill levels can participate in a community bike ride and fun family activities.

Bicycle riders from around the region are expected to be present and organizers are expecting a turnout of 150+ cyclists. There will be limited room for cars. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring blankets for the show. Food and beverages can be purchased at the theater.

The Boulevard Drive-In is at 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kan. The suggested donation is $3 for motorists. For more information, call

Sporting KC beaten 2-1 by Philadelphia in first home defeat of 2014 season

Sporting Kansas City suffered its first home loss of the 2014 season on Wednesday, falling 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union at Sporting Park.

The defeat snapped an 11-game home unbeaten streak in all competition dating back to 2013, when the same Philadelphia side were 1-0 winners on Sept. 27.

After a scoreless first half, Danny Cruz opened the scoring in the 49th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Dom Dwyer scored his team-best seventh goal of the season in the 80th minute to level the score, however the Union’s Cristian Maidana scored the game-winning goal less than a minute later.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made a season-high five saves on Wednesday, including three in a back-and-forth first half. His first came with a routine stop on Leonardo Fernandes in the seventh minute, followed by a more challenging save in 19th minute on a well-taken attempt by Cruz. His final save of the first 45 minutes was recorded in the 29th minute on a long-range effort from Vincent Nogueira.

Manager Peter Vermes’ squad — playing its third of seven matches in the month of May — matched the visitors with three shots on target in the opening stanza and all came from winger Sal Zizzo. Returning after missing two matches with a groin strain, Zizzo was on the end of an exquisite pass from Graham Zusi in the 12th minute and rolled his shot on frame from the right side. The two connected again in the 33rd minute as Zusi’s cross from the left flank found Zizzo, whose header was saved on the goalline off the leg of MacMath from close range.

The Zusi-to-Zizzo combination continued to create chances and nearly gave Sporting KC the lead in the final minute of first-half stoppage time. Zizzo lined up a shot from 10 yards out that forced MacMath into a sprawling stop at the near post to deny Zizzo his first goal of the campaign.

The second half began with more of the same as MacMath, a fourth-year pro at age 22, was called into action again in the 48th minute. Seth Sinovic let loose a dipping half volley from outside the penalty area that was smothered by the Maryland product with a dive to his right.

The save proved crucial when 30 seconds later Philadelphia pulled ahead on the opposite end of the field. Kronberg made the initial save to turn away Maidana’s left-footed strike only to see Cruz pounce on the rebound with a sliding finish from inside the six-yard box for his first goal of the season and 10th of his MLS career.

The Union could have doubled the lead in the 59th minute if not for an important intervention by Kronberg to come off his line. Andrew Wenger, acquired in a trade last month, shrugged off a tackle by Aurelien Collin but couldn’t slip his shot past Kronberg.

Dwyer entered the match in the 71st minute, replacing Designated Player Claudio Bieler who had directed a header on target moments before his exit. The move paid off within 10 minutes via a give-and-go with Paulo Nagamura that setup Dwyer’s thunderous goal into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. The Generation adidas product now has goals in back-to-back games after scoring twice in a 2-0 victory at Montreal on the weekend and his seven goals are fourth most in MLS this season.

The momentum from the equalizer was ultimately short-lived as Philadelphia responded with a goal of its own from the ensuing kickoff. Cruz played an entry ball inside the area to Wenger and the former No. 1 overall draft pick held off challenges from Benny Feilhaber and Lawrence Olum before laying the ball off to Maidana. The Argentine placed his first-time shot past Kronberg from 12 yards out for his first career MLS goal, which proved to be the difference in the first of three meetings between the two teams this season despite a 90th minute red card to Union midfielder Corben Bone within a minute of entering the match.

Sporting Kansas City remains in first place in the Eastern Conference and will next travel to Chicago for a 2 p.m. match-up with the Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park.

Defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi will join the U.S. Men’s National Team on Thursday as part of the 30-player preliminary roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. While serving as a sendoff for those two, Wednesday’s match was also the debut for Igor Juliao as he became the youngest player in club history to start and play the full 90 minutes in an MLS match at 19 years of age.

– Story from Sporting KC