Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wellsville softball duo earn All-State honors

By The Herald Staff | 6/16/2014

WELLSVILLE — Franklin County now has an All-State duo.

Two Wellsville softball players were awarded Kansas Softball Coaches Association 3A 1st Team All-State honors, making them the first two players to do so in the program’s history. Senior shortstop Moriah Kayhill and junior centerfielder Ashley Sparks were awarded the honor along with 16 other 1st-Team selections from around the state.

WELLSVILLE — Franklin County now has an All-State duo.

Two Wellsville softball players were awarded Kansas Softball Coaches Association 3A 1st Team All-State honors, making them the first two players to do so in the program’s history. Senior shortstop Moriah Kayhill and junior centerfielder Ashley Sparks were awarded the honor along with 16 other 1st-Team selections from around the state.

“These two young ladies had extremely great seasons and helped lead us to our program’s best record of 20-3, an undefeated Pioneer League title, a Pioneer League Tournament title and a regional runner-up,” Wellsville head coach Chris Rose said. “Our three losses came to state placers 4A Division-1 Louisburg and an undefeated Humboldt team that placed third at state after losing to the eventual 3A state champions Silver Lake in extra innings in the state semi-final.”

Kayhill started every game in her four-year career at Wellsville High School and has been a four-year All Pioneer League selection including the league Most Valuable Player the past two seasons.

“She is the most decorated softball player in school history,” Rose said. “She has also been All-Area and has been on many All-State watch lists.”

This year was a record-breaking year for Kayhill, who is a career .400 hitter. She broke school records for runs with 42, doubles with 11 and home runs with four, and also holds records for batting average and on-base percentage. She holds the most offensive career records in the Wellsville program, Rose said.

“Before the season started the one accomplishment that Moriah wanted to achieve individually was to become a 1st Team All-State player and for her to achieve that goal is extremely special,” he said. “She is truly a gifted and driven player and as a coach I don’t get many girls that love the game and competition as much as Moriah. She is an irreplaceable player and I know will have continued success at the college level at Independence Community College.”

Ashley Sparks’s All-State season included quite a few records of her own. She set school records with 47 RBIs, an .887 slugging percentage and seven triples. Rose is excited for what Sparks can do next year after her stellar performance this past season, he said.

“Ashley is one of the most gifted athletes that I have ever had the privilege to coach,” Rose said. “She is truly a five-tool softball player with her speed and arm strength in center field.

“Ashley is also an All-State volleyball player and is just an absolute winner and phenomenal athlete, but most importantly an incredible person,” he continued. “As a coach, I absolutely cherish the fact that I get to coach such a gifted athlete in Ashley and look for her to continue to lead our team to new heights next year.”

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