LHS softball lands five on KVL squad
After capturing the first Kaw Valley League championship in program history, Lansing High softball coach Terry Cornett was certain a number of his players would receive postseason honors.
He was right.
Five Lansing players earned All-Kaw Valley League honors. Three were first-team selections. Not a bad haul for a team that posted a 16-7 record and advanced to the Class 5A state tournament.
"The three first-teamers is probably the most we've had as long as I've been associated with the softball program," Cornett said. "You can't vote for your own people, so it's nice to see other people recognize how good they are. And they're all deserving, you'd better believe it."
Senior Dana Sanders earned first team honors for her play at first base. Senior catcher Nichole Twitchel made the first team after being a second-teamer a year ago. Freshman pitcher Brittney Lang also made the first team. Senior center fielder Nicole Holland made the second team. Sophomore third baseman Morgan Chiles was named honorable mention.
Cornett said Sanders likely made the first team because she'd proven to be valuable in a variety of roles. In addition to first base, she also posted a 7-4 record as a pitcher and possessed one of the most dangerous bats in the Lions' lineup.
"I think the only position she hasn't played in the past for years is catcher, and I'm sure she could do that if she had to," Cornett said. "She really came on strong, and what elevated her to the first team was her hitting. She really added another dimension to her game this year. She hit .360 or .380 at least."
Twitchel threatened the .400 mark for most of the season before finishing in the upper .300s by the end of the year. Cornett said that steady offensive production, matched with a dangerous arm behind the plate, made the senior catcher worthy of recognition.
Lang earned first-team status after posting a 9-3 record from the circle during her first year of high school softball. The freshman tossed a no-hitter in just her second game, and she had numerous double-digit strikout games. She also pitched Lansing to victories against Tonganoxie, Basehor-Linwood and Topeka Seaman.
Cornett said he may have been most pleased to see Holland recognized by the other league coaches. A three-year letter-winner in the outfield, Holland had a knack for making timely plays this year. She delivered numerous clutch hits for LHS, and she was the catalyst for a game-saving double-play against Piper that helped Lansing stay in the running for the league title.
"She was one of the gals who could cover a lot of territory out there in center field, and she was equally up to the challenge when it came to getting on base," Cornett said. "She batted close to .300. She was an all-around good performer for three years, but especially this year."
Chiles may have had to work the hardest to earn her All-KVL nomination. The sophomore never had played third base prior to this season, but Cornett asked her to make the switch because he thought it would help the team. Chiles was a quick learner, and her steady glove proved to be invaluable to the Lansing defense.
"She only made six or seven errors all year, and she had a lot of chances to make a lot of plays on the hot corner," Cornett said. "She also was second or third on the team in hitting. She led the team with four triples and had a lot of doubles. Honorable mention wasn't as good as you'd like to have, but she's only a sophomore and she has a couple more years to make some noise."