While the 2013 Kansas City Kansas Community College softball team will be built around a veteran battery, much of the Lady Blue Devil success may depend on the impact of a promising freshmen contingent.
“Potentially, we could start six freshmen including the entire infield,” says head coach Kacy Tillery. “We’ve got a lot of versatility with several players capable of playing different positions. It’s a good group that’s worked hard. Last fall, the fact that we’re young showed up at times; at other times we played very well.”
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to open the season against North Central in Trenton, Mo., on Thursday, Feb. 21, and then open the home and conference season against Allen County Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Pitching, as usual, will be the key and often as not, the Blue Devils will have a sister-sister battery. Alyssa Lee, an All-Region VI catcher from Shawnee Mission North, returns behind the plate where she hit .428 with three home runs and 30 RBI although she’s currently sidelined by a concussion.
The top pitching candidates are her sister, MoNica Lee, and Myrian Cisneros of William Chrisman. Working behind graduated Jenny Schneider and Katie Cothran, MoNica Lee was 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA in 40 innings and Cisneros 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in 28 innings. They’ll be joined on the pitching staff by Kaitie Brown, a freshman from Las Vegas who just joined the team the spring semester; Myranda Ybarra, a freshman lefthander from Washington High School, and Cassie Morrison, a sophomore from Eudora did not pitch but who hit .223 last year.
Some fierce battles are shaping up on the infield, particularly at second base where sophomore Emily Lappert of Truman is being challenged by freshmen Amanda Holroyd of Tonganoxie, Sheyenne Espy of Olathe Northwest and Alayna Hernandez of Piper. Lappert, however, could be the No. 1 catcher pending Alyssa Lee’s recovery from her concussion.
Freshmen Sydnee Wilkinson of Omaha Millard West and Amelia Hernandez are locked in a battle for first base while Hanna Barnhart of Bishop Ward and Lacey Santiago of Maualoa, Hawaii, have the inside track at shortstop and third, respectively, with backing from Holroyd, Espy and Kaitie Brown.
Emily Walsh, a freshman from McLouth, and depending on whose pitching, MoNica Lee or Cisneros, will occupy two of the outfield positions, with freshmen Alayna Hernandez of Piper, Mierra Morrisette from Notre Dame de Sion, Logan Keck of Republic, Mo., and Dallas Partch of Las Vegas vying for the third starting job.
Other candidates include five sophomores, outfielders Stephanie Blazek of Las Vegas who hit .385 in limited playing time; and Tayler Sherrill of SM Northwest, who hit .204; first baseman Maaite Urena of SM North; catcher Hayla Demel of Claflin; and infielder Chelsea Brewer, a transfer from Mineral Area Community College.
Not only will the sisters Lee form one of the pitching batteries, they’re expected to lead the offense. In addition to Alyssa’s .428 mark, MoNica hit .318 with 16 RBI.
For the first time in Tillery’s 12 years at the KCKCC helm, the Blue Devils will be without assistant coach Justin Cothran, who died last summer. A former Blue Devil player, Codi Schierbaum, has succeeded Cothran as assistant while two standouts from last year’s squad, Jenny Schneider and Mercedes Overstreet, are team managers.
Kansas City Kansas Community College
2013 Softball Schedule
Feb. 21 – North Central, Away, 2-4 p.m.
Feb. 26 – Allen County*, Home, 1-3 p.m.
March 1 – Hesston, Home, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
March 2 – Missouri Valley, Home, 1-3 p.m.
March 5 – Neosho County*, Away 2-4 p.m.
March 7 – Johnson County*, Away, 1-3 p.m.
March 9 – University of Kansas Club, Home, 12-2 p.m.
March 12 – Coffeyville*, Away, 1-3 p.m.
March 16 – Hutchinson, Home, 1-3 p.m.
March 19 – Cottey College, Away, 2-4 p.m.
March 22 – Pratt, Away, 3-5 p.m.
March 23 – Dodge City, Away, 12-2 p.m.
March 26 – Highland*, Home, 2-4 p.m.
March 27 – Cottey College, Home, 2-4 p.m.
March 28 – Haskell, Away, 2-4 p.m.
Aapril 2 – Fort Scott*, Away, 2-4 p.m.
April 3 – Missouri Valley, Away, 1-3 p.m.
April 6 – Independence*,Home, 12-2 p.m.
April 9 – Wentworth, Home, 2-4 p.m.
April 10 – North Central, Home, 2-4 p.m.
April 12 – Cloud County, Away, 2-4 p.m.
April 13 – Brown Mackie, Away, 12-2 p.m.
April 16 – Labette*, Home, 2-4 p.m.
April 17 – Wentworth, Away, 3-5 p.m.
April 19 – Cowley College*, Home, 2-4 p.m.
April 20 – Maple Woods, Home, 12-2 p.m.
April 22 – Haskell, Home, 3-5 p.m.
April 27-28 – First round regional tournament (at top seed)
May 3-4 – Second round of regionals (Topeka)
• - Jayhawk Conference games,