KU Softball Announces Captains for 2016
LAWRENCE, Kan. – As Kansas softball nears first pitch of the 2016 campaign, the Jayhawk coaching staff announced who will lead KU on and off the field. Head coach Megan Smith and her staff selected seniors Chaley Brickey, Briana Evans and Kylee Kennedy, redshirt sophomore Harli Ridling and sophomore Jessie Roane as the captains for the upcoming season.
“These five players will do a great job of leading our team this season,” Smith said. “They each bring different strengths as leaders to our team and their individual leadership styles complement each other very well. As a group they are all very passionate about their teammates and they are committed to the success of our program.”
Brickey, a three-time All-Big 12 selection and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Midwest All-Region Third Team honoree, was selected as a team captain for the second year in a row by the coaching staff. Last spring, she started all 55 games at shortstop and helped Kansas to its first 40-win season since 1992, fifth-straight 30-win season and second-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Brickey led the squad with a .386 batting average and ranked first on Kansas’ roster in hits (68), runs scored (52) and slugging percentage (.688).
A two-time NFCA All-Region honoree, Evans started all 55 games in the outfield in 2015. Last year, Evans helped KU to its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and batted .314 with 55 hits and 10 RBIs. She expertly navigated the bases, leading the team in stolen bases (11), including a season-high two against La Salle (3/6), and finished second on the team in runs scored (41). Evans reached base in 25-consecutive games, the longest streak of any Jayhawk on the season.
Kennedy, a product of Topeka, Kansas, is entering her fourth season as a member of the Jayhawk softball program. Kennedy has appeared in 24 games and made six starts during her time in the Crimson and Blue. She has a career batting average of .211 with four hits, including a home run, and eight RBIs.
Coming off of season-ending injury and having to sit out the 2015 season, Ridling was named captain for the first time in her career. As a freshman in 2014, Ridling was named Big 12 Player of the Week (3/25/14) and started all 57 games behind the plate. She helped led Kansas back to the postseason during her rookie campaign, while recording eight home runs, third-most by a KU freshman. Ridling led the team in hit-by-pitches with 35 in 2014 and had the second-best on-base percentage (.416). She registered 35 RBIs while batting .264.
A 2015 All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection, Roane also earned Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team honors last season. The youngest of KU’s captains, Roane started all 55 games during her freshman season. In 2015, she recorded a .325 clip, good for the fifth-best batting average on the squad. Roane registered 23 runs scored, 50 hits and 22 RBIs. She was third on the team in doubles with 12, which is tied for the second-most by a Kansas freshman.
Kansas softball enjoyed a season full of memorable moments in 2015 that ranged from opening a new ballpark to a national ranking and its second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Jayhawks look to build on the success achieved last season and carry the momentum over into the upcoming season.
Kansas softball opens its 2016 campaign in Florida at the Jacksonville Invitational Feb. 12-14, hosted by Jacksonville University. The Jayhawks will play a total of five games during the first weekend of the year against North Carolina State, Jacksonville, Coastal Carolina and North Carolina-Greensboro.
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