Uchida reaps WAC honors

GLENDALE — The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Kassy Uchida (Burbank High, 2010) Utah State softball, freshman: Uchida was on a tear coming into the month of May, then she suffered a concussion in practice. She sat out a three-game series against the University of Nevada to open the month, but didn't miss a beat once she got back out on the field.

The freshman's batting average kept increasing all season and stopped at .346 (53 for 153), which was the ninth highest in the Western Athletic Conference and second best for Utah State. She hit two home runs, scored 18 runs and had 11 runs batted in.

The Burbank graduate also posted a .431 slugging and .401 on-base percentage and was one of three Aggies selected to the all-WAC second team. She posted a .383 batting average in conference play, tying for a team-high in hits (23) against conference opponents.

As a team, Utah State didn't fare as well as Uchida. The Aggies finished the season 15-42 overall (8-13 in conference). Utah State advanced to the WAC tournament, but was bounced in the first two games after losing to the University of Hawai'i, 6-1, on May 11 and Louisiana Tech, 4-1, on May 12. Uchida continued to shine in the postseason, though, going three for five with a run scored.

Danny Casey (Glendale Community College, 2009) Concordia University, Irvine baseball, senior: Concordia suffered its first loss of the postseason against Embry-Riddle in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series in Lewiston, Ida. on Saturday. Concordia came out strong against Embry-Riddle, the top seeded team in the tournament, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, but Embry-Riddle answered back with nine straight runs, including a four-run seventh, to win the game, 9-3.

Casey cooled off Saturday, failing to get a hit in the game, after going two for three and scoring three runs against Faulkner University on Friday. He got on base to start the top of the ninth inning after getting hit by a pitch. He stole stole second but was stranded to end the game. The former GCC player is hitting .283 (42 for 148) with 24 runs, 26 runs batted in and nine stolen bases.

Concordia (39-19) will look to keep its season alive in the double-elimination tournament against third-seeded Oklahoma Baptist at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

Kathryn Poet (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2007) Missouri softball, senior: Missouri and Poet took one step closer to Oklahoma and the Women's College World Series, which begins Thursday. The Tigers did so by taking the first of a best-of-three set from the visiting Washington Huskies in the NCAA Super Regionals on Saturday.

Poet didn't appear in the game but Missouri, ranked fifth, rolled to a 4-0 victory behind the pitching of Chelsea Thomas. Thomas threw a complete game, struck out 13 batters and only allowed four baserunners (two hits and two walks).

The Tigers (51-8) will be favorites when they play the No. 12 Huskies again today and a win will send them to the Women's College World Series. The two teams will hit the field at 4 p.m. today and a second game will be played at 6:30 p.m., if necessary.

Poet will look to get in the game and boost her .225 batting average this season. She's played in 35 games this year and has five starts under her belt. She's scored nine times and driven in eight runs.

Baillie Kirker (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) Arizona softball, sophomore: The Wildcats needed to win at home on Saturday to keep their season alive after falling to the Oklahoma Sooners, 6-0, in the NCAA Super Regional opener Friday. Arizona, seeded No. 10, was unable to muster much of an offense until late, though, losing again to Oklahoma, 5-2.

The No. 13 Sooners scored twice in the bottom of the first inning and three more times in the fourth. Arizona (43-18) managed to score two runs in the final inning but it was too little too late, as Oklahoma stamped its ticket to Oklahoma and the Women's College World Series with the victory.

Kirker was hitless in three at bats for the Wildcats Friday and didn't make an appearance Saturday. She finished the season with a .191 (17 for 89) batting average and .360 slugging percentage. She hit four home runs, drove in 18 runs and scored nine times.

Kyle Hart (Burroughs High, 2009) University of Redlands baseball, sophomore: Hart finished his sophomore campaign with the University of Redlands with the second best earned-run average (3.97) on the team and the second most innings pitched (88.1). He finished the season with a 9-3 win-loss record in 15 starts. The Burroughs graduate struck out 80 batters on the year and walked 36.

The Bulldogs finished the season with a 30-13 record (22-6 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). Redlands won its first game of the NCAA Division III West Regional against Trinity, 3-2, on May 18 but had its season halted after losing to Chapman University, 8-4, on May 19 and Concordia University, Texas, 12-6, on May 20.

Hart started against Chapman, but only lasted three innings after he surrendered five hits, five runs (four earned) and walked three batters. He also pitched the seventh inning against Concordia and gave up a double and an unearned run in the frame.

Amy Bishop (Glendale High, 2008) California softball, junior: The Bears, ranked No. 7, remained undefeated in the postseason Saturday with a 1-0 victory against Kentucky, which hosted the contest. California's ace, Jolene Henderson guided her team to the win. She pitched all seven innings and allowed just a hit and a walk and struck out four batters. Frani Echavarria delivered the game's only run with solo homer in the fourth inning.

Bishop still hasn't seen much playing time this season. She's started just one game this year, while appearing in 13 of the team's 53 games. Her batting average sits at .091 (one for 11).

California (38-7) will look to stamp its ticket to Oklahoma and the Women's College World Series with one more win against Kentucky today. The first game is set for 10 a.m. and a second will be played at 1 p.m., if necessary.

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