All-KVL includes 4 Bobcats, 1 Brave
The Basehor-Linwood baseball team was unable to accomplish its goal of dethroning longtime Class 4A and Kaw Valley League powerhouse Bishop Ward this season.
The Bobcats won a regular-season meeting with the Cyclones for the second straight year, but Ward won the match-up that mattered most: the regional first-round game.
The Cyclones claimed a 2-1 victory, ending Basehor’s season and propelling them to a state championship.
The close loss to Ward was indicative of Basehor’s season in many ways, showing just how close the Bobcats were to breaking through in a season that ended with a 12-8 record. Four key contributors to BLHS this season were recognized by KVL coaches as some of the league’s best.
Senior infielder Ryan Lawless was named to the first team, and senior infielder Brandon Leppke, senior pitcher Tyler Henley and junior outfielder Destry Bryan all earned spots on the second team.
Lawless was a versatile performer for the Bobcats, as he played both shortstop and pitcher. He led the team with a .400 batting average, led the team with four home runs and had a .938 fielding percentage.
“Ryan was a true leader for us this year, and not just in his performance level,” BLHS coach Dave Svoboda said, “and that performance level was spectacular at times. He had key hits in several big games, and his ability to always make the routine play defensively, and mix in the occasional spectacular one, makes him very, very special.”
Leppke also was versatile as he spent time all over the infield at various points in the season. He hit .339 and had a .917 fielding percentage.
“Brandon is probably the most steady infielder I’ve ever coached … and with Ryan pitching in lots of big games, Brandon had to take over at shortstop in those games, and he performed extremely well,” Svoboda said. “The move to third base was a good one for him.”
Henley was the team’s ace pitcher as a junior, but he battled through injuries as a senior. Despite that, he still posted a 3.74 earned-run average with 44 strikeouts.
“Even though he was injured and missed a substantial number of days on the mound, Tyler was special when he was there,” Svoboda said. “That was reflected in the fact that the league coaches respected him enough to vote him onto this team.”
Bryan will be the only all-league player returning to BLHS next year, and he will have a chance to build on a solid junior campaign. He covered a lot of ground in the outfield and had an error-free season to go with a .353 average and a team-high 13 stolen bases.
“Destry did a fine job of ‘setting the table’ for our offense in the leadoff spot,” Svoboda said. “On top of that, he showed real versatility in jumping back and forth from center field to left field, depending upon whether or not Tyler Henley was pitching.”
Meanwhile, Bonner Springs had just one player on the All-League team this season after finishing seventh in the KVL. Junior infielder Dalton Vitt was named to the second team.