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Vessels and Martinez highlight Broncbusters on all-conference team

Vessels and Martinez highlight Broncbusters on all-conference team

By Mike Pilosof

Garden City, KS-Through all the ups and downs of the 2017 season, there remained several constants for Becky Gundy's team. On Wednesday, they were fruitfully rewarded.

Shortstop Erica Vessels and outfielder Micaela Martinez were named to the All-Jayhawk 2nd team while first basemen Leisha Nakagawa was an honorable mention.

Vessels, who came to Garden City from Choctaw, Okla., finished second on the team with a .347 average and second with eight homers. She recorded 12 multi-hit games, including a season-best 4-for-4 showing in an 11-6 victory over North Platte on Feb. 19. Her home run vs. Dodge City in the Region VI tournament on Sunday gave the Broncbusters a 2-1 advantage in the sixth.

Martinez epitomized the power that Gundy has been looking for the last few seasons.

"Micaela was one of those girls who could have zero hits through six innings and have a big one late," Gundy said. "She always had a sense of when we needed a hit."

Martinez slugged a team-best 16 homers, finishing 29th in the nation and fourth in the Jayhawk in that department. She drilled two long balls in the Region VI tournament (one vs. Pratt and one vs. Dodge City). In fact, Martinez homered in four out of her final six games.

Nakagawa was the glue for a Garden City team that found their stride in the postseason as they did two years ago. The sophomore, who has already signed to play at Missouri Valley College next season, was second on the team with 50 hits and third with a .384 on-base percentage.