by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Led by first baseman Alex Phillips, Kansas City Kansas Community College placed five players on 2017 All-Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division baseball teams.
A sophomore from Van Alstyne, Texas, Phillips was the lone Blue Devil named to the first team. Second team selections included second baseman Easton Fortuna, outfielder Tyler Pittman and pitchers Shae Stephens and Corey Cowan.
In addition, five Blue Devils earned honorable mention – shortstop Albert Woodard, outfielders Josh Schumacher and Chase Redick and pitchers Jake Purl and Julian Rivera. All are sophomores with the exception of Pittman, Schumacher and Rivera.
A transfer from Northwestern Oklahoma State, Phillips finished fourth in the Jayhawk in both hitting (.418) and runs-batted-in (72). He also led the Blue Devils in home runs (10), hits (87), extra base hits (32) and slugging percentage (.683).
Pittman, a centerfielder from Blue Springs South, led the Jayhawk in stolen bases with 31. He also finished second in team hitting with a .386 average, led in sacrifices with 15 and drove in 36 runs. A graduate of Park Hill South, Fortuna batted .332 with 35 RBI.
A southpaw from Mill Valley, Stephens finished second in the Jayhawk Conference in strikeouts with 89 while compiling a 6-4 record and a 3.95 earned run average. Cowan, a righthander from Turner, had a 5-0 record and the lowest ERA among starters at 3.32.
Woodard, a two-year starter at shortstop from Nashville, Tenn., batted .372 and finished fifth in the Jayhawk in stolen bases with 25. A Shawnee Mission North grad, Redick finished second in runs-batted-in (42) and home runs (10) while hitting .312 while Schumacher, a freshman from Aurora, Colo., hit .365 with 32 RBI.
Purl, a righthander from Park Hill South with a 4.81 ERA, led the Blue Devils in wins (8-3) and was fifth in the conference in strikeouts with 87. Rivera, a freshman from Kissimme, Fla., led the Blue Devils in saves with four with compiling a 3-1 record with a 3.60 ERA.
Cowley College, which won the Region VI championship and a berth in the NJCAA World Series, dominated the first team with eight elections. Shortstop Jake Means was named the Division’s Most Valuable Player, second baseman Kea’Von Edwards was selected Freshman of the Year and Dave Burroughs Coach of the Year. Johnson County’s Brendan Stanek was chosen Pitcher of the year.