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Morning Sun
  • Five softballers ink with Johnson Co., Labette

  • The Frontenac softball program has enjoyed much success over the years and reflective of that success, five seniors — Lindsey Gorham, Jennifer Long, Nayna Fields, Sam Bonner and Libby Warrick — have signed national letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers after high school.

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  • The Frontenac softball program has enjoyed much success over the years and reflective of that success, five seniors — Lindsey Gorham, Jennifer Long, Nayna Fields, Sam Bonner and Libby Warrick — have signed national letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers after high school.
    Gorham and Long signed with Johnson County Community College and Fields, Bonner and Warrick inked with Labette CC.
    Frontenac head coach Cassie Buche said that coaches always feel blessed to have athletes move on to the next level.
    “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity having five girls sign at once and you’re extremely proud of each and every one of them,” Buche said on Tuesday.
    Each girl talked about their opportunities ahead and being able to have at least one teammate join them at college next year.
    “I’m very excited,” Gorham said. “I’ve loved softball since I was 8. It’s always been one of my dreams to play softball beyond high school. I’m excited that I can have this opportunity. . . . They’ve been my friends since kindergarten.”
    “I’ve always wanted to play college softball,” Long said. “The campus, it’s awesome and academically, it has everything that I was looking for. It will be exciting to go and play with Lindsey. We’ve been playing together since we were 6 and 7 years old.”
    “I’ve been wanting to go play college ball and I’m glad I’ve got this opportunity,” Warrick said. “I am very much looking forward to playing at Labette and also having two of my teammates going with me. It’s just a win-win for me.”
    “It’s really overwhelming and I’m excited to be able to continue my career in softball,” Fields said. “I couldn’t imagine playing softball without them (Bonner and Warrick). It’s going to be hard without Lindsey and Jennifer.”
    “I am very excited,” Bonner said. “It’s been a dream of mine since Cassie (Buche) started babysitting me when I was like 6 years old. When she started babysitting me, she became my role model. I’ve looked up to her since I was that young. That’s just what I want to do, be like Cassie. . . . I’ll feel more comfortable. I’m not good at making new friends, people I don’t know. Having Nayna and Libby there, it will be good to know people.”
    Gorham, the ace pitcher of the Raiders, had an 18-2 record last season and entering regionals had 16 complete games, four shutouts and 96 strikeouts.
    Long, a fleet centerfielder, batted .418 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 18 RBI, as well as 18 stolen bases, entering regionals.
    Fields, a first baseman who hit lead-off last season, enjoyed a breakout year with a .522 batting average, seven doubles, six triples, two home runs, 37 runs scored, 35 hits, 30 RBI and 18 stolen bases.
    Page 2 of 2 - Bonner, a starter behind the plate, batted .459 with five doubles, three triples, one home run, 27 runs scored and 18 RBI.
    Warrick, a right fielder, batted .455 with five doubles, one triple, 25 hits, 28 runs scored and 20 RBI.
    Frontenac — Class 3A state runner-up two years ago — ended last season in disappointing fashion, a regional semifinal loss to rival St. Mary’s Colgan. The Raiders won their first 19 games of the season.
    “I’m really excited for their future but we have some business to take care of this spring,” Buche said.
    This year will be the final chance for the core five of Gorham, Long, Fields, Bonner and Warrick, at least at the high school level.
    “This being my last year and we haven’t won state yet, I want to go and win state my last year,” Gorham said.
    Frontenac moved up in classification from Class 3A to 4A, considered the toughest classification in the state.
    Last year, for example, seven of the eight 4A state qualifiers owned at least 20 wins: top seed Labette County (23-0), No. 2 Wamego (23-0), No. 3 Pratt (23-0), No. 4 Paola (22-1), No. 5 Andale/Garden Plain (22-1), No. 6 De Soto (21-2) and No. 7 Basehor-Linwood (21-2). Andale/Garden Plain defeated De Soto for the state title and Labette County took fourth.
    As in other sports, Frontenac softball geared up its schedule this year, opening its season Mar. 28 with traditional powerhouse Labette County and playing nonconference opponents Parsons and Prairie View.
    Additionally, no Erie on the schedule with the Red Devils now in the Tri-Valley League and former Southeast Kansas League member Columbus joins the CNC fold and the Frontenac schedule. Of course, traditional CNC powers Riverton, Girard and Colgan all remain on the schedule.
    “I think we’re going to do really well this year,” Fields said. “We’ll have to play a lot harder for 4A but I think we can accomplish it.”
    Southeast senior Kalee Ewbank signed a letter of intent to play softball with Fort Scott Community College.

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