Sullivan coaches all-star softball team
The inaugural Mo-Kan High School Softball All-Star Classic was everything its name would indicate. Missouri won the best-of-three series two games to one. The games were played at Adair Park in Independence, Mo.
Each game was decided by one run, and first-year Mill Valley coach Pat Sullivan was in the thick of it.
Sullivan was a coach on the Kansas all-star team.
After guiding his team to a 17-9 record and a state appearance in the school's first year, Sullivan helped coach a Kansas team stacked with talent from the metro area. Basehor-Linwood's Susan Mayberry and Kelly Laffere and Piper's Jennifer Kiblinger were the Kaw Valley participants at the event and the lone 4A players. The 14-player Kansas squad also had members from Blue Valley Northwest, Olathe East, Olathe South, St. Thomas Aquinas and Shawnee Mission Northwest.
Mill Valley's Ashley Perkins was scheduled to participate in the event, but was with the Kansas City Peppers in a tournament in California.
"She was deserving of the honor," Sullivan said. "It's unfortunate she couldn't play."
Sullivan joined a talented staff in Olathe South's Anne Kolarik and Olathe East's Jeff Hulse. Kolarik was 19-6 at South this year and 222-133 overall. She also has 10 state appearances. Hulse is 22-1 at East and 43-5 overall with two trips to state under his belt.
After a long stint as an assistant coach at De Soto, Sullivan said he completed his first year at Mill Valley among two coaches he has great respect for.
"It was just a great experience with Jeff and Ann," Sullivan said. "I just stepped back and observed them and learned from them. They're great human beings."
Kansas won game two 3-2, but Missouri won the first game 1-0 in eight innings and the deciding rubber game 1-0 in five innings.
In the first game, a pitching duel between Olathe South's Ashley Shartzer and Missouri's Tracie Tiensvold led to a scoreless game that went into extra innings. The international rule, which starts the inning with a runner on second, was enforced after regulation.
Missouri's Jennie Meisel (Blue Springs) scored in the bottom of the eighth on a bloop single to left field by Raytown's Jessica Leslie, who will play for powerhouse Oklahoma next year.
Horn made a strong defensive play in the bottom of the sixth, throwing out Blue Springs' Heather Maggard trying to steal second.
In game two, a little more offense occurred much sooner. Kansas led 2-1 after one inning. Missouri added a run in the fourth, but Kansas answered in the bottom of the sixth and forced a third game.
Laffere played shortstop in the second game and had a sacrifice bunt. Horn was behind the plate in the first game and played at first base in the third game.
Horn, who struggled at the plate through much of the series, came through in the final game.
In the top of the second with Shawnee Mission Northwest's Kim Herriott at second, Horn singled to left field. Olathe South coach Anne Kolerik held Herriott at third base. Missouri tried to catch Horn between first and second, but an errant throw allowed Herriott to score and Horn moved to second.
The Kansas player of the year in the Kansas City, Kansan will now move on to play at Washburn in Topeka.
Kiblinger will play for MIAA rival Emporia State next year.
Laffere, meanwhile, will play at Baker.