Softball News Archive 2015-2016

Softball inks Utah slugger

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Kayleigh Johnson, an infielder/corner outfielder from Sky View High School, Smithfield, Utah, as the latest addition to the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

Johnson, a two-time all-valley and second-team all-region player, has been a mainstay in the middle of the Bobcats lineup the past several seasons. She’s helped Sky View High to a berth in the state tournament each of the past two years.

An honor roll student and National Honor Society member, Johnson will study secondary education/counseling at Hesston.

“Kayleigh’s signing adds to an already talented recruiting class,” Sharp said. “She had a wonderful campus visit and will have an opportunity to make a big impact on our team. I’m thrilled she’s headed our way.”

Johnson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the daughter of Cameron and Nicole Johnson, Smithfield.

Larks sign Oklahoma catcher to letter-of-intent

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Jordan Walton, a catcher/utility from Newkirk (Okla.) High School, as the latest addition to the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

Walton helped lead Newkirk High to three consecutive district championships and was twice named an all-conference player. As a senior, Walton hit .363 with 14 doubles and threw out 48 percent of runners on stolen base attempts. She will study nursing at Hesston.

“I’m thrilled to add Jordan to our program,” Sharp said. “She has some nice athletic tools to work with and is a great student. Jordan’s contributions to campus will go well beyond the softball field and we’re looking forward to getting her here in the fall.”

Walton attends Hillcrest Bible Baptist Church, Arkansas City, Kan. She is the daughter of Glenn and Lora Walton, Newkirk.

Larks slam Cloud in Sophomore Night finale

The Hesston College softball team split a doubleheader with Cloud County CC (Concordia, Kan.) on Friday, April 22, in the Larks final home games of the season.

Cloud took game one 7-5 after jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Hesston nearly fought its way back into it, and had the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the seventh but couldn’t close the gap.

In the nightcap, Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif.) blasted a first-inning grand slam, her 11th long ball of the year, to give Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) all the cushion she would need in a 10-0 five-inning game. Hannemann was dominant in her last home start, going five shutout innings with seven strikeouts. Brown finished the game with six RBI, while sophomore Alicia Ramirez (Albuquerque, N.M.) went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

Hesston Softball awaits its first-round postseason opponent. The three-game series will be played on Saturday, April 30 to Sunday, May 1.

Softball goes 2-2 in weekend action

The Hesston College softball team picked up a pair of wins (9-5, 14-4) over Fort Scott (Kan.) CC on Friday, April 15, before falling the next day in two close pitching duels (1-0, 2-1) with 18th-ranked Johnson County CC (Overland Park, Kan.).

Sophomore pitchers Dakota Lee (Boise, Idaho) and Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) tossed two complete games each on the weekend, with Lee winning Friday’s game one after she struck out seven with no walks. Hannemann followed up Lee’s gem with one of her own, allowing just two hits and fanning seven.

Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) had seven hits in the weekend, including a 4-for-4 effort in Friday’s game two. Jerrica Brown had hits in all four weekend games (six total), including a two-run homer in the first inning on Friday’s game one.

Hesston returns home for a 4 p.m. double header versus Cloud County CC (Concordia, Kan.) on Thursday, April 21.

Softball signs Martin to letter-of-intent

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Taylor Martin, a pitcher/centerfielder from Garden Spot High School, New Holland, Pa., as the latest addition to the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

A four-year letter-winner for Garden Spot High, Martin has been named a first-team all-league player every season for the Spartans. Martin has earned Offensive Player of the Year twice, Defensive Player of the Year, and has been given the Spartacus Award. As a junior, Martin hit .403 with eight extra-base hits and in the circle racked up 154 strikeouts in 136 innings.

Martin plays travel softball for Spooky Nook 18U Elite, Manheim, Pa., coached by Mike Kolenda.

An honor roll student, Martin will study nursing at Hesston. She attends Petra Christian Fellowship, New Holland.

“Taylor’s addition makes a strong recruiting class even better,” Sharp said. “She had an outstanding campus visit and made several strong connections here. She has an opportunity to do great things on campus and the diamond. Taylor has a positive, outgoing personality and will be a great teammate.”

Martin is the daughter of Darwin and Sheila Martin, East Earl, Pa.

Larks walk off with double header sweep

The Hesston College softball team fought its way back to a pair of walk-off wins (8-7, 6-5) over Coffeyville (Kan.) CC on Saturday, April 9.

Down 6-3 in the fourth inning of game one, the Larks responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and another in the fifth to tie the game. Dakoda Lee (Boise, Idaho) plated the winning run with a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh to win it.

In game two, Coffeyville again jumped out to a lead (5-0 after two) only to see Hesston make it a 5-4 game heading into the seventh. This time it was Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) who singled with two outs that scored Lee and gave Hesston the home sweep.

Lee enjoyed a career day, as the sophomore collected seven hits on the day and scored five times. Lee tossed a complete-game for the win in the opener, striking out seven.

Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) went six innings in the nightcap, allowing no runs after the second frame while the Hesston offense came back. Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif.) blasted a two-run homer to get the Larks on the board in the third and finished the day with four hits and six RBI.

Steiner went 3-for-4 in game two and finished 6-for-7 on the day, including a double, three stolen bases and three runs scored.

Hesston hosts Independence (Kan.) CC at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.

Hannemann, Brown lead Hesston to road win

The Hesston College softball team defeated Allen CC (Iola, Kan.) 7-2 in the second game of a Region VI doubleheader on Saturday, April 2. Allen won the opener 6-0 before the Larks took game two.

Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) was in command the entire game, pitching seven strong innings for the win. Hannemann yielded four singles and three walks while fanning five.

Dezz Bretado (Whittier, Calif.) got Hesston on the board when she dropped in a two-out, bases-loaded single in the first that plated two. The score remained 2-0 into the fifth when Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif.) blasted a two-run homer that doubled the Larks lead. Hesston added three runs in the top half of the seventh while Allen scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Bailyn Piecewicz (Spokane, Wash.) went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) and Kendra Honeycutt (Lincoln, Calif.) had two hits each.

Hesston returns home for a 4 p.m. doubleheader versus Region VI power Labette CC (Parson, Kan.) on Friday, April 8.

Softball signs Albuquerque (N.M.) High speedster

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Brianna Baca, an outfielder/middle infielder from Albuquerque (N.M.) High School, as the latest addition to the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

A three-time first-team all-district outfielder for the Bulldogs, Baca brings speed from the left side of the plate and a versatile glove to the Hesston roster. She adds to an already impressive list of recruits coming to Hesston this fall. Baca is an accomplished student as well and will study nursing at Hesston.

“Brianna’s addition is huge for our program,” Sharp said. “There is no doubt in my mind she’ll be right at home on our campus. Brianna brings an impressive softball resume to our team and is a tremendous teammate to add to our roster.”

Baca is the daughter of Eddie and Annie Baca, Albuquerque. She attends Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Albuquerque.

Strong pitching leads Larks to DH sweep

The Hesston College softball team picked up two wins in a doubleheader sweep (8-3, 6-2) over Brown Mackie College (Salina, Kan.) on Tuesday, March 15, improving its season mark to 11-10.

Game-one starter Dakoda Lee (Boise, Idaho) was outstanding in the opener, tossing six solid innings with one earned run, one walk and six strikeouts to get the win. Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and a stolen base. Alicia Ramirez (Albuquerque, N.M.) capped off a five-run first inning with a single to left that knocked in two.

Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif.) tossed a complete-game to secure the sweep in the nightcap, allowing no earned runs and fanning five without a walk. Moira Wells (Falcon, Colo.) enjoyed a big game at the plate, as the freshman doubled in a run in the Larks’ fourth before smashing a two-run homer to center in the sixth.

Hesston hosts Kansas City Kansas CC for a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, March 18.

Hesston takes two on the road

The Hesston College softball team won a pair of games (7-6, 14-10) at McPherson (Kan.) College JV on Monday, Feb. 29, improving its season mark to 9-8.

Dakoda Lee (Boise, Idaho) had a big day for Hesston, as the sophomore hurler threw a complete-game to win the opener before tossing three shutout innings to earn the save in the nightcap.

Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif.) continued her torrid hitting, smashing her sixth homer of the season in the first inning of game one and finishing the doubleheader with four total hits and five runs knocked in. Gabby Willis (Rusk, Texas) scored three times on the day on three singles
and two walks.

The Larks banged out 24 hits in the sweep.

Hesston opens Region VI play at Cowley College (Arkansas City, Kan.) on Thursday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

Hesston Softball takes road DH

The Hesston College softball team swept a doubleheader (9-3, 13-7) at Sterling (Kan.) College JV on Saturday, Feb. 20, snapping a five-game skid and evening its record at 5-5.

Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) got the game-one win after working into the sixth inning with just three hits allowed and seven strikeouts. Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and pitched a perfect seventh to close the door.

Gabby Willis (Rusk, Texas) and Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) each went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in. Bailyn Piecewicz (Spokane, Wash.) singled and scored twice in four at bats. Steiner’s two-run homer in the first put the Larks ahead early.

Freshman Dezz Bretado (Whittier, Calif.) earned her first collegiate win with four innings of work in game two. Hannemann tossed the final three innings for the save. Willis and Brown each enjoyed four-hit games, while Steiner, Piecewicz and Lorae Weaver (Goshen, Ind.) had two hits each. Brown knocked in four runs and Steiner plated three. The Larks swiped 13 bases on the day.

Hesston travels to Tabor College JV (Hillsboro, Kan.) for a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Larks go 3-2 at Cowtown Classic

The Hesston College softball team had a strong showing in its season-opening appearance at the Cowtown Classic, Feb. 5-6 at Fort Worth’s (Texas) Gateway Park.

Trailing 11-1 early to Hill (Texas) College, the Larks battled back to take a marathon game one by a 17-16 final. Hesston then downed Clarendon (Texas) College 6-3 in game two, followed by a thrilling 1-0 shutout win over Bossier Parish (La.) CC in Friday’s final.

3-0 heading into Saturday’s play, the Larks held a late lead against North Central Texas College (Gainesville) before NCTC exploded for a huge win. Hesston fell to Ranger (Texas) College in the final game of the classic to finish with a 3-2 record.

Sophomore Gabby Willis (Rusk, Texas) enjoyed a huge weekend in her home state, going a combined 9-for-18 with nine stolen bases and five runs scored. Kendra Honeycutt (Lincoln, Calif.) knocked in seven runs on the weekend, including five in game one of the strength of a bases-loaded double and a two-run blast.

Freshman Ally Steiner (Peoria, Ariz.) had eight hits, including two doubles, three stolen bases and four runs scored. Jerrica Brown (Fresno, Calif) earned a win in the circle and had a monster weekend at the plate, going 7-for-14 with three doubles and a home run.

Sophomore righthander Riley Hannemann (Flagstaff, Ariz.) earned two pitching wins on the weekend, including Friday night’s complete-game gem. Hannemann struck out 13 and surrendered nine hits in 13 innings of work. Dakoda Lee (Boise, Idaho) tossed three shutout frames to save the Clarendon win, and held powerful NCTC scoreless through four innings.

Hesston opens its home slate with a doubleheader vs Pratt (Kan.) CC on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 12 p.m.

Larks aim for turnaround in 2016

The Hesston College softball team opens its 2016 schedule with a weekend tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, Feb. 5-6. This will be the Larks first appearance in the annual Cowtown Classic.

Seventh-year coach Andrew Sharp is optimistic for a rebound after a disappointing 2015 season. Seven sophomores and eight freshmen make up this year’s roster.

“I thought we were better than our record indicated last year,” Sharp said. “We started strong but weren’t able to maintain consistency. I’m confident this group can rebound and play better softball.”

Hesston’s 45-game schedule features six games against teams ranked in the preseason top 15 national poll and 35 games with NJCAA opponents.

“We’ve put together a challenging schedule and I expect our group to compete well,” Sharp said. “We’ll need to stay healthy to be at our best, of course. But we have good depth at a several positions and I look forward to getting the season started.”

Larks sign Ohio catcher to letter-of-intent

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Jaelyn Rufenacht, a catcher from Pettisville (Ohio) High School, as the latest addition to the Larks’ 2016 recruiting class.

A three-sport athlete at Pettisville High, Rufenacht runs cross country and plays basketball for the Blackbirds in addition to her time on the diamond. She is a four-year varsity letter-winner and two-time all-Buckeye Border Conference performer in softball.

Rufenacht, a National Honor Society member and Scholar Athlete, is deciding her major. She attends West Clinton Mennonite Church, Wauseon, Ohio, and is active in the youth group there.

“Jaelyn brings a lot to our campus and softball program,” Sharp said. “She’s an athletic lefty bat who can run. She’s also a tremendous student and will thrive in our academic community. I’m very eager to coach Jaelyn and watch her compete.”

Rufenacht is the daughter of Brad and Tina Rufenacht, Pettisville.

Hesston Softball inks two more

Hesston College softball coach Andrew Sharp announces Sierrah Long, a shortstop/utility from Citrus Valley High School, Redlands, Calif., and Brinkli Jones, a pitcher/utility from Sky View High School, Smithfield, Utah, as the newest additions to the Hesston program.

Long is a key part of a strong Citrus Valley program that has put together four consecutive 20-win seasons and looks to make another push in 2016. She plays travel ball for Team Easton, an 18 gold team based out of Southern California.

“We’re thrilled to have Sierrah join the program,” Sharp said. “She brings a very athletic presence to the diamond and we expect her to make an immediate impact on our infield. Sierrah is a versatile player who can do a little of everything and will find numerous ways to impact the game.”

An honor roll student, Long will study nursing at Hesston. She is the daughter of Justin and Heather Long, Highland, Ca.

Jones was voted first-team all-region and helped Sky View High Softball to a 19-win season in 2015. An honorable mention all-state selection, she will anchor the Bobcats’ pitching staff in 2016 and be a presence near the top of the batting order.

Jones is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. An honor roll student, she will study nursing at Hesston.

“Brinkli’s talents and personality are a nice match for Hesston College and our program,” Sharp said. “She’s a competitive kid who we’ll put to work in a variety of roles on the softball field. I anticipate her being involved in our campus in many ways outside of softball.”

Jones is the daughter of Shane and Judy Jones, Hyde Park, Utah.