Karlin, KCKCC baseball defeat Cloud County in first game of district playoffs

Camden Karlin allowed only three hits and one run in KCKCC’s 5-1 victory over Cloud County Community College. KCKCC continues in the district tournament on Wednesday. (KCKCC photo)

by Tyler Scott, KCKCC sports information director

Camden Karlin had a strong pitching performance as the No. 3 seed KCKCC baseball team took care of No. 6 seed Cloud County Community College 5-1 in the first game of the Plains District Tournament at Tointon Family Stadium, on the campus of Kansas State University.

The Blue Devils are now 48-10 overall and advance to Wednesday’s second-round game at 4 p.m.

After Karlin started the game by retiring the Thunderbirds, the Blue Devils offense struck in the first inning.

Cole Dawson led off with a single before stealing second base and advancing on a wild pitch to third.

Brendyn Bard stepped up to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field to bring Dawson in to score.

In the second inning, two Blue Devils reached base with one out. Pablo Sanchez, who was standing at third base, stole home to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.

Karlin threw another scoreless frame in the third inning, which led to another scoring frame for the Blue Devils. Palmer Hutchison hit his sixth home run of the season to lead off the inning and put the Blue Devils up 3-0.

KCKCC added its fourth run the next inning when Dawson hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field, scoring Payton McHarg.

Cloud County Community College was hitless through the first six innings before it was able to muster two hits and one run in the seventh.

The Blue Devils escaped the jam that inning before adding a final run in the bottom half on a single by Darius Freeman. Karlin’s pitching performance lasted the entire game as KCKCC held on easily to advance in the next round.

Sanchez and Freeman each had two hits in the game. Karlin pitched nine innings, allowing just three hits and one run, while fanning eight batters.

KCKCC advances to Wednesday with a match against the winner of No. 2 Barton – No. 10 seed Hutchinson Community College at 4 p.m.

Back-to-back shutouts earn KCKCC trip to softball national

Basler hurls 18 straight scoreless innings in wins over Highland, Hesston

Ranked No. 16 nationally, KCKCC will be making its third trip to the national softball tournament. Team members are, front row, from left, Lauren Salpas, Ruby Nola, McKenzie Ogden, Madison Pope, Lindsey Gettle, Kaitlyn Bradbury, Trinity Tauer, Emily Ashford and BreAnna Droge; second row, head coach Lana Ross, Raine Hester, Maya Sheldon, Stella Harber, Reagan Marsh, Savannah Maynard, Bradi Basler, McKenna Lester, Emma DeBrouwer, Sam Reynolds and assistant coach Jenn Strohman. (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins

Riding the right arm of sophomore Bradi Basler, Kansas City Kansas Community College is headed for the NJCAA Division II national softball tournament.

The third national appearance for the Blue Devils, the tournament will be played in Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama, May 24-28. Ranked No. 16 nationally, KCKCC will take a 43-14 record into the national.

A first team All-American last season, Basler pitched the Blue Devils to three straight wins in the Great Plains District Tournament in Topeka. The last two wins were shutouts, 1-0 in eight innings over Jayhawk Conference champion Highland Saturday and 7-0 over Hesston in the championship game Monday. Basler finished the tourney with 18 scoreless innings.

The drive to the national was made especially memorable as Lana Ross got her 700th coaching win in an 11-5 win over Johnson County in the tourney opener; Basler got two pitching wins on her 21st birthday on Saturday, and the game’s biggest play in the 1-0 win over Highland was turned in by leftfielder McKenna Ogden, who transferred from Highland to KCKCC this season.

In the top of the sixth in the 0-0 clash, Ogden threw out what would have been the winning run at the plate. It was the only real scoring threat the Scotties mounted against Basler, who struck out seven and walked three.

Limited to just two hits – both by freshman McKenna Lester – the bottom of the Blue Devils lineup abruptly exploded in the bottom of the eighth.

Sophomore Madison Pope, the No. 8 hitter, rifled a double to left to start the inning, took third on Kaitlyn Bradbury’s bunt single and scored on Savannah Maynard’s fly ball, just beating the throw home in what would have been a bang-bang play had Highland catcher Ellie Kliethermes been able to handle the throw.

“I told Pope to open her hips and her double was just what we needed,” Ross said.

The run set off a wild celebratory melee at the plate as the Blue Devils avenged 4-3 and 5-0 losses to the Scotties (40-9), who came into the tournament ranked No. 12 nationally and winner of 15 of their last 16 games.

“It’s the first time since 2004 that we’ve been to the nationals so I couldn’t be prouder,” Ross said. “These young ladies worked so hard and played their hearts out. And what can you say about Bradi? Eighteen scoreless innings, which is fantastic.”

Basler provided the only run she needed in the championship game against Hesston, belting her 17th home run in the top of the first.

The Blue Devils then put the game out of reach with four runs in the fourth, the big blow a 2-run triple by Ogden with two outs. Lindsey Gettle’s single ignited the rally and after a walk to Pope, Maynard’s sacrifice fly scored the first run and an error scored the fourth.

Hesston had seven hits off Basler (26-7) but only two runners got beyond second base. The first was cut down at the plate, again on a throw by Ogden to Gettle.

The Blue Devils cruised to the 11-5 win over Johnson County in the opener, pounding out 14 hits as they built a 9-1 lead through four innings. Maynard and Lester had three hits each while Trinity Tauer and Ogden had a pair of singles. The team’s RBI leader, Lester drove in three runs and Maya Sheldon, Tauer and Gettle two each.

KCKCC softball advances to championship game

The KCKCC softball team celebrated head coach Lana Ross’s 700th victory as a head softball coach on Saturday. KCKCC advanced to the championship match at 2 p.m. Monday in Topeka. (KCKCC photo)

by Tyler Scott, KCKCC sports information director

The KCKCC softball team entered the Plains District B Championship bracket as the No. 5 seed on Saturday.

Knowing they would have to win two games to make it to the championship match, the Lady Blue Devils were able to prevail by defeating No. 4 seed Johnson County Community College 11-5 before shocking No. 1 seed Highland Community College 1-0 in eight innings later that same evening.

The win over Johnson County earlier in the day also gave head coach Lana Ross her 700th career win as a head softball coach.

The Blue Devils are now 42-14 overall.

In the first game against Johnson County, the Blue Devils were the away team and came out of the gate fast.

The Cavaliers’ pitching struggled early as KCKCC was able to cash in three runs on a couple of walks from the opposing pitching staff. In the second frame, the Blue Devils got a hot bat from McKenna Lester as she hit a double to score another pair of runs – giving the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead.

Johnson County scored its first run in the third inning, but the Blue Devils continued to pile it on in the fourth frame. Lester and Lindsey Gettle each hit RBI singles, while Trinity De Tauer hit a pop fly ball that fell in to score another run. Madison Pope was later hit by a pitch and that sent another run across the plate for KCKCC.

Bradi Basler got the start in the circle and shutdown the Cavaliers through the first three innings despite allowing one run. Johnson County was able to find some life in the fourth as they cut the deficit to 9-5 at one point, but with KCKCC adding two more runs in the game, Basler settled down and didn’t allow another run the rest of the way.

Against Highland Community College neither team could find a run through the regulated seven innings. It was another strong pitching performance by Basler.

In the bottom of the eighth inning the Blue Devils were up and with a runner on second base, Kaitlyn Bradbury laid a bunt down the first base line – reaching safely just ahead of the throw. It was then runners on first and third with nobody out when Savannah Maynard hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field to score the winning run as Highland was unable to get the ball to home plate in time.

The win over Highland now puts KCKCC into the championship game with a 2-0 record in the tournament.

With forecasted bad weather on Sunday, the Blue Devils will wait to play the championship game on Monday at 2 p.m. at Lake Shawnee Softball Complex in Topeka. KCKCC will play the winner of Highland-Hesston Community College, which takes place Monday at noon.

Here’s a look at the remaining games in the District B bracket:
Lake Shawnee Softball Complex – Topeka, Kansas

May 16 – Game 5, Noon – (1) Highland (40-8) vs (21-29) (8) Hesston
May 16 – Game 6, 2 p.m. – (5) Kansas City, Kansas (42-14) vs Highland-Hesston Winner (District B Championship)
May 16 – Game 7, 4 p.m. – Game 6 (If Needed)

A District B Championship win would send the Blue Devils to the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship in Oxford, Alabama, May 24-28.