Virus ends a most promising KCKCC baseball season

Sophomores may be granted an extra year of eligibility

Head coach Matt Goldbeck, third from left, and assistants, from left, Dean Long, Bill Sharp and Pedro Leon had the 2020 KCKCC baseball season off to a 14-6 start including a 3-1 record against national ranked and Jayhawk favorite Cowley College before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Not all of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s nine sophomores may have played their final baseball game for the Blue Devils.

While the NJCAA has announced no decision, “I believe all of our players will get a chance to get a year of eligibility back,” Blue Devil head coach Matt Goldbeck said. “Several of our players have signed at four-year schools and won’t be back. But for various reasons, another year here might be the best option for some.”

Off to a 14-6 start, the Blue Devils lost two thirds of a promising 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. With three wins in four games against perennial power Cowley College, KCKCC was 4-2 in the conference and 9-1 at home.

“We obviously realize the severity of the situation and understand the decision to end the season,” said Goldbeck, who again was aided by assistant coaches Bill Sharp, Dean Long and Pedro Leon. “Nevertheless, it still is devastating to lose the season. They’ll never get the season back, the hard work that started in the fall, going through our fall struggles. I think we lost 13 straight games, which goes to show how the hard work during the fall and winter paid off.

“We had some question marks but were starting to get some answers and looked forward to seeing them play out – a special group of players who worked hard and loved playing for each other. Unfortunately, they will not get to see where their hard work and commitment would have taken them.”

Graduation will take at least a half-dozen full-time starters and the No. 1 pitcher. The sophomores with Goldbeck’s comments:

Griffin Everitt, Lincoln, Nebraska – Two-year starting catcher, led Blue Devils in hitting (.484), hits (30), home runs (6), extra base hits (12) and slugging (.887) and second in RBI (26), Signed with University of Nebraska. “All-America type year,” Goldbeck said. “Great model for our program, worked hard on and off the field, he was really locked in.”

Osvaldo Mendez, Carolina, Puerto Rico – Lefthanded pitching ace with 4-1 record and 2.89 ERA in five starts. Struck out 25, walked eight. Gold Glove winner as a freshman. “Great competitor, always working to get better, wants to be great.” Signed with Alabama A&M.

Seth Kenagy, East Buchanan, Missouri – At .429, one of two Blue Devils to hit .400. Had team highs of 30 hits, three triples and 19 stolen bases in 20 games. “Great improvements and super athletic. His hard work during the off-season really paid off.” Redshirt freshman second baseman, signed with Central Missouri.

Eduardo Acosta, Montverde, Puerto Rico – Batted .361 with 25 RBI and 26 hits at shortstop after starting in centerfield as a freshman. “Very versatile, worked very hard at his craft. Probably our best pure hitter Has great future.” Signed with Lubbock Christian University.

Jose Sosa, Hialeah, Florida – Power-hitting first baseman, led team in RBI with 31. Slugged .653 with 11 extra base hits including five home runs. “A great hitter and a great kid. Could really be counted on; did everything we asked of him.” Signed with Texas Wesleyan University.

Tyler Henry, Gardner – Two-year starting outfielder who hit .299 with three homers and 15 RBI. “What we want Blue Devil baseball to be. Got the most out of his talent. Took extra hitting every day and another great student.” Signed with Pittsburg State University.

Trey Hoover, Maryville, Missouri – Outfielder/designated hitter who shared team lead in home runs with six. Second in slugging (.694), nine of 13 hits went for extra bases. Hit .265. “Put together a really good year, settling in as an outfielder with a real presence on the team.”

Michael Edgar, Lee’s Summit, Missouri – Hit .231 in 13 games as back-up catcher. “Quality back-up catcher to Griffin Everitt. Played hard and bought into KCKCC baseball.”

Josiah Crowley, Bonner Springs – Righthanded pitcher who made three starts among five appearances. Struck out 10, walked 3 in 11 2/3 innings. “Local player who walked on and worked hard to put himself in position to help us on the mound.”

Just three position starters return, outfielders Raymond Paniagua of Blue Springs and Caleb Adams of Lansing and third baseman Palmer Hutchinson of Hays. Paniagua hit .381 with 24 hits with just one error in centerfield; Hutchinson batted .255 with three home runs; and Adams batted .227 in 20 games. Other returnees include Kade Chastain of Frontenac, Missouri, while hit .357 in 11 games; Sam Juarez of Topeka Seaman, .286 in 10 games; and Cole Silbowski of St. Joseph Lafayette. .273 in 12 games.

There’s an abundance of returning pitchers but only two with much starting experience. Gaby Ramos had a 4-0 record on five starters, striking out 17 and walking 10 in 26 innings; Joseph Reyes was 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA.

Busiest relievers were Parker Weddle of Oak Park, Chase Terrell of Bonner Springs and Hunter Cashero of St. James Academy. Weddle had a 3.0 earned run average in seven appearances, Terrell was 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in eight games; and Cashero 8.38 in eight appearances.

Also returning are Steven Santiago (1-0) of Guayama, Missouri; Tre Simmons (1-0) of Olathe West, Logan Barnard of Lansing and Mathis Mauldin of Grain Valley, neither of whom had a decision; and Tyler Kapraun of Peoria, Illinois, and Nao Fakuda of New Zealand, both 0-1.

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