By CONOR NICHOLL
A look at softball and baseball results/top performers through the first full week of the spring sports season. A high majority of teams opened last Tuesday or Thursday. In particular, there was a number of key softball results early:
Topeka High, Bishop Carroll keeps winning streaks intact – Last season, Topeka High won the Class 6A state title with a 25-0 mark. Bishop Carroll finished 23-0 to win 5A. They were the only undefeated softball squads in Kansas last spring. Both entered this spring top-14 nationally in current winning streaks, per MaxPreps.
Both squads have superb players. Topeka returns 6A Player of the Year with senior pitcher NiJa Canady, a Stanford signee and among the country’s top players. Plus, junior Adisyn Caryl has committed to Illinois. Bishop Carroll has its duo of Kadence and Kiley Brewster and Kendall Forbes. Kadence Brewster is the reigning 5A player of the year.
Topeka High won its first three games with a doubleheader sweep against K.C. Harmon, both by 15-0 margins, and a 6-1 win versus Topeka West. Carroll has routinely rolled through the City League. BC won two non-league games against Maize South (16-11) and Maize (16-5). In league play, Carroll beat Wichita North (10-1, 24-0). Kadence Brewster is hitting .769 with seven extra base hits. Senior Eve Morris carries a .643 average.
Hoisington/Central Plains opens with two shutouts; first against Lyons since 2012 – This is a high-expectation season for Hoisington/Central Plains, which finished in the top-4 in 3A last spring and returned basically its entire team. Senior Kassidy Nixon, one of Kansas’ all-time most accomplished athletes, has won player of the year in volleyball and basketball. She has five state titles. Nixon has inked with Barton County Community College volleyball. Nixon is also Hoisington’s superb softball player.
Hoisington/CP beat Lyons by a pair of 10-0 scores. In the first game, Nixon worked a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts. Jordyn Boxberger threw a one-hitter in the second contest. Lyons has historically been very solid with multiple state appearances under longtime coach Marlin Clark.
Last season, Lyons split with Hoisington with a 14-6 Cardinal win and a 7-6 Lyons victory. Before this year, Lyons had won 10 of its last 15 versus Hoisington. This marked the first time Hoisington/CP swept Lyons since April 20, 2012. It marked the first time Hoisington has shutout Lyons in more than 12 seasons.
Defending 4A champion Wamego opens 5-0 with key victories – Wamego won the 4A state title with a 19-5 record and won its last eight contests. Last season, the Red Raiders beat Rock Creek, 7-6, in nine innings and earned a 10-5 victory. Like Topeka and Bishop Carroll, Wamego returned many top players. Junior Maya Gallagher hit .488 and delivered a 2.12 ERA in 18 appearances. Junior Ashten Pierson was first team all-state, along with senior Delaney Campbell. Gallagher has committed to Holy Cross softball.
Plus, junior Trista Hoobler returned after a big season. All four players hit at least .360. Plus, Wamego has many of its softball players who were key in the final four basketball season this winter.
Coach Luke Meyer has led Wamego to wins against Emporia (12-2, 12-2), Royal Valley (11-6), and a pair of wins versus Rock Creek.
Campbell carries a .588 average with a homer and eight RBI. Pierson has a .526 average with a team-best three doubles. Freshman Peyton Hardenburger has emerged with a .500 average. Seniors Ryann Alderson and Paige Donnelly (first team all-state basketball), Hoobler and Gallagher all have hit between .353 and .364. Gallagher has worked 21 innings with 34 strikeouts against just two walks.
Versus Royal Valley, Gallagher and Bailey Thornton each homered. Gallagher struck out nine batters.
Against Rock Creek, Gallagher struck out 13 with five hits in Game 1. In Game 2, Hardenburger threw a one-hitter and struck out 11.
Spring Hill opens 2-0 – On Tuesday, Spring Hill defeated Fort Scott (14-1) and Ottawa (16-0). That came after Ottawa defeated Chanute, 13-3. Ottawa hit a single-game school record with six homers versus Chanute.
Last season, Spring Hill finished 19-2 with a state loss to Goddard. SH split with Ottawa in the last regular season doubleheader with a 5-4 loss and 10-0 win. Plus, Spring Hill beat Ottawa, 11-0, on March 30. Spring Hill returned its two ace pitchers in seniors Maggie McNally and Vanessa Murray. Both had ERAs under 0.90.
Ottawa finished 16-6 last winter and returned four of its top-five hitters: seniors Emma Stottlemire, Alex Powell, and Kirsten Evans, along with junior Kennison Walters. Evans finished with more than 3,000 career assists for Ottawa volleyball, helped the Cyclone for a state runner-up showing and has signed with Fort Hays volleyball.
Against Chanute, Powell and Stottlemire both had two homers, while Evans and Hadl each had one homer.
The 16-0 win for Spring Hill marked the biggest margin of victory in the 17-game series for either squad since 2012. Against Ottawa, SH scored five runs in the first, three in the second and eight in the third. Jaleigh White went 2 of 4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Mya January went 3 of 3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Murray picked up the win with two innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
Council Grove with two early season victories – Council Grove defeated Marion, 6-0, and beat Richmond-Central Heights, 10-5. Last season, CG split with Marion with a 13-5 victory and an 18-15 loss. Marion enjoyed the best season in school history last season with a state trip.
Council Grove returned its top-two and seven of its top-nine hitters. Senior Elle Dragone hit .568 with five triples, while senior Paisli Butler carried a .552 average. Dragone has signed with NCAA Division II Harding (Ark.) softball.
Council Grove finished 14-8 and is definitely a team to watch this spring.
Wellsville with key sweep against Osawatomie, Hull batting 1.000 – Wellsville opened with 12-3 and 12-5 wins against Osawatomie. Senior Jayden Hull is 6 of 6 with a double. Junior Grace Farrar and Ava Taylor are each hitting .571. Last season, Wellsville delivered a 10-10 record and split with Osawatomie with a 12-2 win and 14-13 loss.
In 2021, Hull hit .407, highest among Wellsville returners (at least four at-bats). Farrar hit .319 and Taylor .265.
Burlingame 3, West Franklin 2; Bearcats start 4-0 – Burlingame earned 2-1A state runner-up to Pittsburg-Colgan last spring. Burlingame is a high favorite for the 2-1A crown this spring. Burlingame picked up a key 3-2 win versus West Franklin on May 29 and also earned a 14-0 victory. Burlingame defeated West Franklin, 16-1 and 10-0, on March 30 last year.
WF senior pitcher Lena Walter has signed with Butler County Community College softball, a national junior college power. Alexandra Crook earned both victories against West Franklin with 22 combined strikeouts. Daelyn Winters – who has earned first team all-state in four sports – had a pair of doubles and a homer in the first game. Emma Tyson went 3 of 5, while Gracie and Joselyn Simmons both went 2 for 4.
On April, Burlingame swept Southern Lyon County, 11-0 and 13-0. Crook struck out 11 in five innings. Kenna Masters finished 5 of 5 with six RBI. Emma Tyson went 4 of 6 with a homer and four RBI. Daelyn Winters went 4 of 5 with five runs scored. Jocelyn Simmons, a freshman, delivered two homers in the first game and won the second contest in the circle.
Cheney 10, Hutchinson Trinity 0; no-hitter from Lies – Cheney is the defending 3A state champion with a 25-1 record. The Cardinals also brought back multiple top players, including Brooklyn Wewe and Korri Lies, the reigning 3A player of the year. The game lasted four innings. Lies struck out nine with no walks. Cheney made one error. Peyton McCormick had three hits, including a double and three RBIs. Elina Bartlett delivered a triple with a RBI.
Olathe Northwest ends two losing streaks; new era for Lawrence Free State; Shawnee Mission North with key win – It’s a new look for Lawrence Free State after Gatorade Player of the Year Tatum Clopton graduated and is now at Oklahoma State. Plus, FS has a new coach. Free State won titles in 2018 and ’19 and was a final four squad last year. Olathe Northwest had lost six in a row to Free State with all losses by at least three runs. ONW scored 10 runs in those six losses. ONW beat Lawrence Free State, 5-2, on March 29. Northwest also defeated Olathe South, 8-3, on March 31. ONW had lost three straight to Olathe South. Last season, ONW posted a 12-9 record.
Additionally, Shawnee Mission North beat Lawrence Free State, 10-0. North had lost 11 in a row to Free State dating back to May 3, 2012. Rilee Bell, Madison Bruson, Kelsry Hoekstra and Jessica Brown have enjoyed a nice start for SMN.
Holton 4, Topeka West 2 – Holton was a final four squad in 3A and brings back Sadie Walker, a Washburn commit, among other top Wildcats. She batted .660 with nine homers. Holton has routinely tested themselves against bigger schools and/or the Kansas City area and won many of those contests last spring. Holton got off to another strong start this spring. Holton, with longtime coach John Deitrich, has enjoyed a victory improvement for six straight seasons: 9-10, 12-10, 15-6, 19-6, 20-3, 23-2. Last season, Holton beat Topeka West in a pair of 12-2 wins to open the season. Holton earned wins against Olathe West, Olathe Northwest and Shawnee Mission South in 2021.
Basehor-Linwood 16, Shawnee Heights 12 – Basehor-Linwood is the defending 5A state runner-up to Bishop Carroll. B-L is loaded with talent. Junior pitcher Taylor Cruse has committed to Ohio State, while junior infielder Mila Seaton has committed to Wichita State. Other all-league picks include: catcher Sam Price, infielders Britney Hoffman and Grace Rose, and outfielders Audrey Spellman, Jessica Lutgen and Bella Rollo. Last season, B-L beat Shawnee Heights, 9-3.
Eudora 1, Bonner Springs 1 – In a strange result, Eudora and Bonner Springs delivered a 1-1 tie. Eudora qualified for the state tournament last year and returned its pair of standouts with Harper Schreiner (4A Basketball Player of the Year, Pittsburg State basketball) and pitcher Kira Baker (Baker University commit). Baker also had a great showing at Science Olympiad.
Bonner Springs was 0-3-1 against Eudora. This is the first tie for Bonner Springs and Eudora in 10-plus years.
Silver Lake 15, Perry-Lecompton 0 – Perry-Lecompton opened 3-0 and played longtime power Silver Lake. SL earned a 15-0 win on Thursday. The Eagles moved to 5-0 against Perry-Lecompton since 2012. Silver Lake is the defending 3A runner-up to Cheney.
Douglass softball with big early season numbers – Douglass’ Hayleigh Waggoner helped DHS with back-to-back home runs in the first game, and Kennedy Bergsten delivered a grand slam in the second game versus Wichita Southeast. Douglass is 4-2 and has scored 72 runs this season. Bergsten, a sophomore, has a .615 average with two homers and 12 RBI. Senior Jordie Brewer has a .583 average with 10 runs scored. Sophomore Kenisyn Millington has a .467 average with two doubles. Douglass was a .500 team last spring after a sub-.500 team in 2019.
Other top performances in baseball and softball:
Taryn Pool and Rachel Brownback of Jayhawk-Linn both delivered homers in a 15-0 win versus Oswego.
Lanie Krokroskia and Jaden Loercher from Fort Scott both had homers in their game against Baxter Springs.
Eureka’s Garrison Spoonts struck out 20 in seven innings and delivered a home run.
Wabaunsee softball swept Marais des Cygnes (12-1) and Pleasant Ridge (10-4) and had homers from all three of its seniors.
Hays High senior Dylan Dreiling, the reigning 5A Player of the Year, Tennessee commit and possible MLB draft pick, opened a highly anticipated season. HHS finished in third place in 5A last spring. Dreiling hit three homers and delivered two doubles in 12-2 and 10-0 wins versus Liberal.
Elkhart junior Kage Ralstin faced nine batters and struck out all nine in a 15-0 win versus Hugoton.
Little River received homers from Grant Stephens and Braden Young in a season-opening win versus Inman.
Cimarron swept Southwestern Heights on Friday. Michael Feltman hit two homers, Braxton Harrison one, and Trace Kopper one.
Through six games, Southwestern Heights baseball has posted big numbers. Sophomore Cade Thomas has a .526 batting average. Senior Daniell Juarez has a team-high 12 hits and 12 RBI. Senior Jayden Leak has two doubles and two homers.