Lansing lands 4 on All-Kaw Valley League softball squads
The four most consistent bats in the Lansing High softball lineup have been recognized as being among the top players in the Kaw Valley League.
Sophomore pitcher Brittney Lang and junior third baseman Morgan Chiles both were named to the All-KVL first team while junior second baseman Amanda Darrow and freshman utility player Rachel Milnark landed on the second team.
"Those four clearly excelled," LHS coach Terry Cornett said. "The nice thing about it is we've got a couple of them for one more year and the others for two and three more years."
The Lions will return their entire roster next year after this season's club went 15-7, finished third in the league and came within one run of advancing to the Class 5A state tournament.
No seniors were on the team this year, and Cornett said Chiles adopted the role of being the team's vocal leader. Cornett said Chiles' leadership, coupled with a .325 batting average and solid defensive season at third base and shortstop, helped her earn first-team status.
"I looked to her to get them going every inning when they came in (from the field)," Cornett said. "She seized the moment a couple times, and that was good to see since we didn't have that senior leadership."
Lang was voted as the league's top pitcher for the second straight year, and her stats spoke for themselves. She posted an 11-3 record, had 175 strikeouts and allowed just 38 hits. In addition, Lang provided her pitching with plenty of offensive support by batting .440. She also had 35 hits and was second on the team in RBI.
"You want a complete player, and she was kind of a no-brainer," Cornett said.
Lansing's two second-team choices also seemed like no-brainers to Cornett, although he said he thought both merited first-team status.
Darrow was a constant threat at the plate with a .439 batting average, .623 slugging percentage and .457 on-base percentage. She was second on the team with 36 hits, tied for third in RBI and she was nearly flawless defensively.
"To hit the way she did as our leadoff hitter : " Cornett said. "And playing second base where she was very, very comfortable, she only had one error all year long."
Cornett said he was particularly disappointed that Milnark was left of of the first team. She was the top hitter in the league, and he said her stats should have made the decision simple.
Milnark played first base, shortstop, catcher and pitcher for LHS and led the Lions in nearly every offensive category. She had a .481 batting average, slugged four home runs, 39 hits and 29 RBI.
"Almost half of her hits were extra-base hits," Cornett said, noting that Milnark had 12 doubles and three triples. "She had an on-base percentage of .526 and a slugging percentage of .873. I thought she was a lock for first-team."