Softball wins Conference Championship


Mallory Huber

Making contact, sophomore Emma James puts the ball in play during a game this season. James and the Indians earned the outright GKCSC White Division Championship with a perfect 12-0 conference record.

Story by Sarah Short, Reporter

Cotton looking clouds graze the pastel blue sky and and the smell of hotdogs and popcorn escape the nearby concession stand. Sophomore pitcher Emma James looks at the neon ball in her hand and concentrates on the stitching. She looks up to see the sign from her catcher Sophomore Alysa Garlock and adjusts her grip on the ball. James takes a small calculated step and swings her arm up and behind her to release the ball. The pitch zooms through the air and lands directly in the middle of Alyssa Garlock’s glove and the guttural call of, “Strike, three,” comes out of the umpire’s mouth.

The softball team won the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference White Division Championship with an impressionable 12-0 conference record. 2019 was the first year the team solely won the conference in more than 13 years. The team had a total of 252 hits and 73 stolen bases for the season. Ideally, a coach always wants their players to try their hardest and fight every single game. Head Coach Kelly Sullivan knew what her players were capable of.

“Going into the season, I knew they would fight and win the conference, but I was impressed that we won it undefeated,” Coach Sullivan said.

Junior Kyra McIntosh and sophomores James, Garlock, Bailee Rinacke, Savannah Short and Sadie Waller earned First Team All Conference honors. Second Team All Conference honors went to junior Harley Vassholz sophomores Olivia Siefker and Lindsey Barker and freshman Ayianna Morton. Senior Aspen Treadwell and sophomore Kiley Mickey were named Honorable Mention All Conference players.

It is important that a team communicates. When a ball is in the air and coming down between two players, they need to know who is going to catch the ball and who is going to back away. The team racked a total of 362 putouts on the season. When girls are familiar with each other, they tend to know what type of communication work and what doesn’t.

“We had a lot of girls returning for the season and that really helped us,” junior center fielder Kyra McIntosh said.

The team had a total of 252 hits with 240 runs scored and a batting average of .422. There will always be a team that players will be wary of. This year, that team was conference foe Belton. When playing twelve games with high stakes they’re not always going to be easy.

“I was worried about Belton because they’re a good team,” James, he led the pitching staff with 34 strikeouts, said.

After the conference championship, the Class 4 District 13 tournament was around the corner. Lee’s Summit North, Blue Springs South, Blue Springs, and Grain Valley and Fort were all competing for a shot at the championship. But the Indians were knocked out of the tournament 11-1 in the first round to a tough Grain Valley team. However, James and Garlock were honored with First Team All District honors. McIntosh earned second Team All District honors. Garlock had an impressive .557 batting average on the season with one home run and threw out two base runners from behind the dish.

“I think I had a good impact on my team because I did my job behind the plate,” Garlock said.

The Indians had a .444 batting average with runners in scoring position. This helped the team finished the year 16-7 overall.

The home crowd applauds the strikeout James just achieved. She smiles to herself and kicks the dust off of the rubber beneath her feet. She looks to the crowd behind the chain linked fence and sees the smiling faces of the families supporting their children. The next player steps to the plate and swings a couple harmless swings. James resets and begins her pitching mechanics once again.