Preps notebook: 6 local players land on first team to lead all-state selections in baseball, softball

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Free State players Michael Uhler (14) and Keaton Stramberg (2) high five after a play during a game against Lawrence High Tuesday night at Hoglund Ballpark on May 11, 2021.

Four softball players and two baseball players from Lawrence schools earned all-state first-team honors in Class 6A for their performances this season.

In baseball, Free State senior pitcher Michael Uhler and Lawrence senior shortstop Carlos Vasquez were both named to the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches’ first team.

Uhler, who was also the Sunflower League’s pitcher of the year, said the all-state honor was extra special this year because of the talented bunch of players in contention.

“It means not only was I recognized in the Sunflower League, but also in the state as well,” Uhler said. “Being someone who isn’t always throwing the hardest in the league but can get the job done, it really meant a lot to me that they saw that I do have the ability and talent beyond just being able to throw the ball 90 miles per hour.”

During a 13-10 campaign that ended in the Class 6A quarterfinals, Uhler appeared in 12 games and made 11 starts. He went 7-4 with a 1.21 ERA, and he had 54 strikeouts and 16 walks over 63 2/3 innings.

Vasquez, who is signed to play collegiate baseball for Missouri State, hit .417 this past spring. He also had three homers, 20 RBIs, 22 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.

Both Vasquez and Uhler participated in this year’s KABC All-Star Game, which took place on Wednesday at Hoglund Ballpark — Uhler was a member of the Blue team, while Vasquez was on the Red team. The Red team won, 10-6.

Three LHS baseball players earned honorable mentions in the all-state selections: Devin Neal, Ike Cobb and Braden Hoffman.

• • •

Four Free State players made the Kansas Softball Coaches Association’s first team: seniors Tatum Clopton and Sara Roszak, junior Jasmine Brixius and sophomore Leah Mueller.

Clopton, Free State’s star pitcher for the last four years, has been on the first team before. She has also been named the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year twice and will continue her softball career at Oklahoma State University.

Roszak, a shortstop who is signed to play at the University of Kansas, had plenty of towering home runs and defensive success this past season.

Brixius (infield) and Mueller (outfield) played key roles this year, and they will likely take on even more responsibility on next year’s squad.

One more Firebird was recognized in the all-state honors: catcher Georgia Rea, who is headed to Western Illinois University. She was named to the second team after a consistent season behind the dish.

The Firebirds, who won state titles in 2018 and 2019, finished in fourth place this past season with a 20-3 overall record.

• • •

Softball and baseball players from other area schools were also recognized on all-state teams.

Eudora softball had three all-state selections after going to the Class 4A state tournament. Senior first baseman Jayla Pierce and junior shortstop Harper Schreiner made the first team, and junior pitcher Kira Baker made the second team.

Pierce finished the season without commiting a single error. She also posted a .636 batting average and had 40 RBIs and a program-record seven homers.

In her first season at shortstop, Schreiner finished with a .488 batting average and had 18 RBIs, three home runs and 37 runs scored.

Baker struck out a school-record 170 batters and had a 1.113 ERA. She also hit .364 and had 31 RBIs.

Perry-Lecompton freshman centerfielder Taylor Damme was named to the second team in Class 3A. She hit .451, had nine home runs and stole nine bases.

• • •

On the Class 4A all-state baseball teams, several players from Tonganoxie and Eudora made the cut.

Tonganoxie junior pitcher Mason Davenport was the only player from an area school to make the Class 4A first team. He had a breakout season, posting a 6-3 record with a 1.96 ERA and 55 strikeouts over 46 1/3 innings. He capped it off with a shutout against Independence in the regional opener.

Junior shortstop Gehrig Goldbeck and senior catcher James Eaton made the second team for Tonganoxie. Goldbeck posted a .450 batting average with 26 walks from the leadoff spot in the lineup. Eaton caught every inning behind the dish, and he hit .486.

Eudora senior Sebastian Lewis made the second team after leading the Cardinals all spring. He made the list as a centerfielder, where he showed great range and a strong arm. As the team’s cleanup hitter, he hit .360 and had 19 RBIs. Lewis was also a pitcher for Eudora, and he earned a second-team selection in the Frontier League at that position, as well.

Eudora closer Jaykob Lemonds earned an honorable mention, as well.

FSHS bowler headed to Baker

Free State bowler Roberta Gonzalez will continue her career at Baker University.

Gonzalez signed her national letter of intent on Thursday. She led the Firebirds with an average game score of 151 during the 2021 season. Her highest game of the year was a 200, and her high series score was a 517.

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