Softball team one of few success stories at BLHS
This week's installment of the top talent in the past five years focuses on Basehor-Linwood softball.
During my short stint with the Sentinel the Lady Bobcats have been one of the more successful teams I've covered.
From a steady coach who preached tried and true philosophies, in Susan Mayberry, to a group of talented and tough die-hard softball players, the Lady 'Cats have been one of the more enjoyable teams to talk about when talking Basehor-Linwood sports. Here's a look:
Catcher -- Jackie Horn Class of 2001
OK, so this one's a stretch. I didn't actually ever see Horn play in a Bobcats' uniform, but she did graduate the same year I started working at the Sentinel, and I did see her play a couple of times after her BLHS career.
Plus, from what I saw and everything I heard, Horn was the best catcher in school history so I had to go with her. She was a sensational athlete, with incredible intensity and a competitive drive unmatched by most.
First Base -- Courtney Reed Class of 2002
Like Horn, I never actually saw Reed play softball, but I did cover her.
A knee injury suffered during basketball season of her senior year forced Reed to miss her final season on the mound, but she did step onto the field for one game -- at first base on Senior Night.
It was a moving moment and an appropriate send-off for the girl I heard was nothing short of dominant throughout her career.
Her college statistics prove that. I only wish I would have seen her pitch.
But because she played that one game at first base, she gets the nod. Let's face it; there's no way to justify leaving her off.
Second Base -- Chelsey Patton Class of 2008
Finally, here's one I have actually seen. And what a player she is. Patton's bread and butter is offense. She's a big-time power hitter, she's only going to get better and during her second year she showed she's learning how to hit for average, as well as power.
Defensively, she's solid at second base. She competes hard and plays harder and isn't afraid to get down and dirty to secure a victory for her team.
Shortstop -- Cristin Burnett Class of 2003
Burnett played the way she carried herself off the field -- quietly. Somehow.
The steady shortstop was as solid as a rock in the middle of Susan Mayberry's infield. Although she enjoyed her best season as a senior, Burnett was a key part of the BLHS program for most of her high school career. She was known primarily for her defense and her leadership skills, but wasn't shy about delivering at the plate. Some of her biggest hits came in the most crucial situations and she was constantly working toward improvement at the plate.
Third Base -- Abby Ross Class of 2003
Ross was a reluctant third baseman. Although she initially played the position with reservations, she ultimately became a solid player at the hot corner.
But she makes my team for the way she stepped up as an underclassman to become a key part of the team's pitching rotation when Courtney Reed went down. Ross was most comfortable on the mound. But she wasn't shy at third base and gave it all she had at the plate.
Right Field -- Kara Lackner Class of 2002
Lackner spent most of her career in the infield, but because she was an extraordinary athlete --nd because she patrolled the outfield for a few innings in the Mo-Kan All Star Softball Series her senior year --he makes this team as an outfielder.
And why not? Lackner played the game with reckless abandon and no regard for her own safety.
Her play often inspired coaches to utter the phrase, "If I had nine players who played as hard as Kara, I'd have a heck of a team."
Lackner was sound defensively and scrappy at the plate. But she did more than slap singles around the diamond. She occasionally showed the ability to hit for power and ran the bases like her life depended on it.
Lackner was one of the grittiest BLHS players to come through the program, and she'd make a great right fielder.
Center Field - Terra Nichols
Class of 2004
Nichols was everything a coach looks for in a center fielder --ast, fearless, fundamentally sound and ferociously competitive.
She was without question one of the most polished softball players in BLHS history, one who played with poise and confidence no matter what situation she was facing.
As the team's leadoff hitter, Nichols always seemed to find a way to get on base. Once she was there, she was a nightmare for opponents.
Defensively, she was the team's captain and always seemed to make a big-time play with the game on the line.
Left Field - Erin Shore
Class of 2007
Shore has one thing under her hat that no other BLHS softball player can claim: She was the first BLHS softball player to earn all-metro honors.
Shore enjoyed a breakout season as a sophomore, and for it she earned the postseason honor.
She was solid at the plate, hitting .368 for the year, and flawless in the outfield.
Her play is consistent with her personality, that is to say she's the kind of player that would rather make the fundamental play than risk a flashy mistake.
With one year left, Shore's sure to leave a lasting impression on the program.
Pitcher - Kristal Holland Class of 2006
Look up the word dominant in the Basehor-Linwood library dictionary and you'll likely find a picture of Holland.
Holland first broke through as a freshman with her bat. She spent the next three seasons dominating with her arm.
As the team's unquestioned ace for the better part of three years, Holland took the ball for nearly every inning of her career and delivered one shut-down performance after another.
She was an intimidating presence on the mound, delivered big-time heat and developed a knee-buckling change up.
She helped lead the team to state in 2005 and followed that up with an outstanding season her senior year.