Cloud County Baseball Lands Nine All-KJCCC West Selections, Kevin Mannell Named KJCCC West Pitcher of the Year

Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference
Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference

After posting the best conference division finish in program history, the Cloud County Community College baseball team had nine players named to the 2024 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference All-KJCCC West Division Baseball Team highlighted by West Division Pitcher of the Year Kevin Mannell.

The All-KJCCC West Division Teams, as voted on by the west division coaches, saw 51 total players from eight different colleges named All-Conference West Division honorees while the KJCCC East Division had 55 All-KJCCC East Division honorees. Also earning first-team All-KJCCC West Division recognition was outfielder Demitri Shakotko while Nolan Freund (first base), Jakob Poturnak (third base), and Zach Sharshel (relief pitcher) all earned Second-Team All-KJCCC accolades. Named to the honorable-mention All-KJCCC West Division teams were Paul Schuyler (second base), Cam MaCleod (catcher), Landon Meyer (designated hitter), and TJ Coats (starting pitcher).

Taking home one of the top-four honors was Mannell to earn KJCCC West Division Pitcher of the Year accolades to become the second T-Bird pitcher to earn the award by joining Erik Sabrowski (2018) who also earned first-team All-KJCCC West honors and KJCCC West Pitcher of the Year accolades before becoming the second NJCAA All-American in program history. Mannell led the KJCCC (East and West) in earned run average this past season, posting an ERA of 1.91 after allowing 16 total earned runs in 75.1 innings pitched which ranked sixth in the NJCAA. The Topeka, Kansas native made 15 starts and finished with seven pitching victories and 92 strikeouts, which ranked third in the KJCCCC while holding the second-best WHIP in the NJCAA (0.86) and second-best strikeout per nine-inning ratio in the KJCCC (10.99).

Earning his second-straight first-team All-KJCCC West accolades was Shakotko who became the Cloud County single-season hits (94) record holder and career hits (153) record holder after starting in 101 games during his two years as a T-Bird. This past season, Shakotko led CCCC with a .410 batting average which shot up to .476 in KJCCC West Division games while seeing 23 hits go for extra bases and driving home the second-most runs on the team (58). In 229 at-bats, Shakotko struck out just 29 total times and ranked 42nd nationally in batting average with his 94 total hits ranking sixth among all NJCAA Division I players.

Getting the nod as Second-Team All-KJCCC West Division at first base, Freund finished his freshman campaign by appearing in 59 total games and making 56 starts while holding the third-highest batting average on the team (.337) with 63 hits in 145 at-bats. Holding the team lead in doubles with 16, Freund tallied 24 extra-base hits and 45 RBI to go along with 20 walks and nine hit-by-pitches to finish with a .416 on-base percentage. Defensively, Freund helped turn 22 double plays and had a .971 fielding percentage to rank third among everyday starting fielding positions for CCCC.

Poturnak finished the year with the second-most home runs in the KJCCC (19) and 12th among NJCAA Division I players while recording a .332 batting average in 58 total games played. Setting the single-game record with eight RBI in a road performance against Garden City on April 26th, Poturnak finished with 61 total RBI to rank 11th in the KJCCC and had 32 extra-base hits to total the seventh most total bases in the KJCCC (141).

Sharshel was the second-most used reliever out of the bullpen for Cloud County this past season, making 15 appearances including 13 in relief while throwing a total of 27.1 innings and holding a 4-2 overall record. Finishing with a season-high six strikeouts on two different occasions (2/19/24 vs Marshalltown, 3/10/24 at Colby), Sharshel struck out 35 total batters and allowed just three extra-base hits while earning one save and finishing with a WHIP of 1.65.

Schuyler played a variety of positions for Cloud County, but was the primary second-baseman for the T-Birds in KJCCC play and finished with a .332 batting average with 61 hits and 36 total RBI. Swiping the second-most stolen bases on the team with 11, Schuyler drew a team-high 24 walks and saw 54 of his 56 starts come in either the one or two hole of the T-Bird offensive lineup with 17 multi-hit games.

MaCleod made 49 starts and had 54 appearances behind the plate for Cloud County at catcher which included appearing in and starting 31 of CCCC's 32 conference games. Hitting .311 at the plate with 22 extra-base hits and 39 RBI, MaCleod had a .561 slugging percentage and .412 on-base percentage while staying consistent with nearly identical numbers in conference play. Defensively, MaCleod threw out 15 of 46 runners attempting to steal this past season and had a .991 fielding percentage with 4 errors in 445 total chances.

Meyer hit .283 and was shuffled throughout the offensive lineup for Cloud County as needed with 47 hits in 166 total at-bats with the Lincoln, Nebraska native drawing 23 walks and getting hit by a pitch eight times. Going a perfect 10-for-10 in the stolen base department, Meyer hit .316 in conference play and made 56 total appearances this season, including 51 starts.

Coats was Cloud County's number two starter on the mound behind Mannell and threw 61.2 innings in 16 appearances and 10 starts while finishing with a team-high eight wins as part of an 8-3 record. Coats struck out 72 batters and held opponents to a .259 batting average while recording a WHIP of 1.39 with one complete-game shutout to his credit. Within the KJCCC, Coats ranked fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.51) and 11th in both wins and strikeouts.