Freshman of year first to accomplish triple crown and also lead in pitching wins here
by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information
Bradi Basler set a Jayhawk Conference standard in softball that may never be reached again.
Offensively, the Kansas City Kansas Community College freshman from Lansing led the Jayhawk Conference in hitting (.503), home runs (20) and runs-batted-in (80) – better known as the Triple Crown, a feat reached only one other time in the Jayhawk. But nobody has also led the conference in pitching wins (20), an almost unprecedented feat at any level.
The elite season earned Basler Freshman of the Year honors but only second team recognition on the All-Jayhawk East team.
“It is what it is,” said the soft-spoken Basler, a righthander on the mound but a southpaw at the plate. “I had no idea, I never thought about it,” she said of her rarefied “grand slam.”
Speaking of grand slams, the one she unloaded against Cowley College in the playoffs is regarded as one of the longest ever.
“And she drove in all five runs in our 5-4 win,” remembered KCKCC head coach Lana Ross. “She also hit one at Hesston that went over the 225-foot fence and another fence 20 feet behind the outfield fence and ended up in the school parking lot.”
The best news is that Basler will be back for a third season, Because of the COVID pandemic, all athletes were given an extra year of eligibility. In last year’s shortened season, Basler hit .385 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 14 games. In addition, she was 4-4 on the mound.
Ross first spotted Basler in a KCKCC summer camp less than a week after being hired at the college.
“I told coach (Jenn) Strohman we’ll never get this kid but I’m sure going to try,” remembered Ross. “That was before we knew of the family connections with KCKCC. She agreed to come for a visit and we offered right away and not long after that she accepted.
“Of course, I’m very happy she’s coming back. I’m looking forward to seeing what else she can accomplish. Obviously, her offensive game is superb and she’s equally good in the circle and that’s not by accident. She’s been a great student over the past two years and really bought in to the system. She’s just not good in softball, she’s very good in other sports. Always one of the best, she’s really embraced taking care of her teammates and is one of the best.”
While she had other offers including Ottawa University, she said her choice of KCKCC “was probably the best decision ever. I came because of coach Ross and the program. It’s been so much fun; I’ve really grown to love it.”
A scholar athlete, she was on the President’s Honor Roll this past spring with a 3.89 grade point.
Basler comes from an athletic family. Her father, Mike, played baseball at Ottawa University and was an assistant coach at KCKCC in both baseball and women’s basketball. He’s currently head baseball coach at Lansing High School. Basler’s mother, Tresia, played volleyball at Ottawa while her older brother, Peyton, is a member of the baseball team at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina.
A standout athlete at Lansing, Basler played both softball and volleyball all four years there. She plans to continue playing softball after leaving KCKCC and undoubtedly will get a load of recruiting offers.
Johnson County’s Kelly Gartner was the first to record the Triple Crown, hitting .516 with 12 homers and 91 RBI in 2002. But no pitching wins.