Cobras earn recognition and awards for outstanding spring
Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Updated: Monday, August 29, 2011 19:08
Cobra athletics had yet another exceptional spring with two teams making it to Nationals and numerous awards handed out to the outstanding coaches and their athletes. With hard work and performances for the record books, the Cobras are making a name for themselves.
"Parkland has established itself as one of the premier NJCAA programs in the entire country. We are known and respected throughout the country and I'm especially pleased to have sent three women's teams to Nationals this year," said Parkland athletic director, Rod Lovett.
One outstanding team Parkland is proud to support is the baseball team, who gave it their all this season showcasing great talent and making Nationals. The Cobras broke the 50 win plateau for the 5th time in the past 9 seasons, after finishing with a record of 50-13 this year.
"As a whole I was very proud of this team for what they accomplished. Winning 50 games, winning a Regional Title, grabbing a couple World Series wins and the way they played with energy and enthusiasm and never giving up is a testament to them," said head coach, Matthew Kennedy.
The Cobras had a very nice run during the season but some were disappointed by their postseason performance.
"I think we overachieved a little in the post season. Our kids heard about how good Heartland was and played to the fullest of the ability and came back to win 6 straight to capture our second regional title in as many years," said Kennedy. "Once we got to the World Series, I thought we were physically and mentally exhausted from our Regional Tournament. We came out flat and played horrible against LSU-Eunice, which is a great team. Our kids again bounced back and battled to win 2 games before losing to U-Conn Avery Point in our 4th game out there."
While the Cobras failed to repeat last year's run at Nationals, the future is looking very good for the team.
"I believe the future of Cobras Baseball is very bright," explained Kennedy. "Parkland has always had a strong tradition and high expectations and I think we have raised the bar once again. We are very excited about the recruiting class we are bringing in this fall and have gotten a great start to the 2011 class."
Cobras baseball had great representation across the board this season, winning numerous awards. Sophomore TJ McManus (1B) was named First Team All-American, a Rawlings Gold Glove award winner, All-Region, and First Team All-Conference, hitting .415 with 15 HRs and a school record 88 RBIs. The Ohio State University transfer also broke the school record for doubles with 27 and is second all-time in home runs (15) and fifth in hits (90).
Kevin Kiermaier (OF) had an outstanding season as well and was named third team All-American, All-Region, First Team All-Conference and All-World Series team. Kiermaier, said to be the greatest hitter in Cobras history, was recently drafted and signed by the Tampa Bay Rays in the MLB Amateur Draft.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity the Rays have given me and hope to make the best of it. I plan on working very hard on all my weaknesses and hope to make it up to the big leagues," said Kiermaier.
Kiermaier was the Cobras MVP this year, batting .430 with 17 HRs and 71 RBIs, and also broke the single season record for home runs, runs (90) and walks (51) at Parkland. He also led the team in stolen bases, and triples. Kiermaier, who holds the all-time best career batting average (.429), also serves as the career leader in home runs, runs scored, triples, and walks.
The Cobras Softball team also had an outstanding season, making Nationals and finishing the season with an overall record of 47-18 (29-4).
"We set lofty goals in August, we worked hard and we reached them," said head coach, Chuck Clutts, who was named All-Region Coach of the Year. "Our players played well, and worked hard all year. The sophomores did great and the freshmen put forth a great effort. It was a yearlong process and we are ready for nationals next year."
The players worked tirelessly throughout the season and have high hopes for the next year as well.
"The season went very well this year," said Sam Inman, Cobras Second Team All-American Outfielder. "It was exciting, and even though we did not win Nationals, we still played hard and tried our hardest." Inman was also named First Team All-Region and 2nd Team All-Conference for the Cobras, who won their first Region 24 tournament since 2007.
Also earning recognition was shortstop Sarah Gray, who was named First Team All-American as well as Region 24 player of the year, Conference Freshman of the Year, Cobras Most Valuable Player, and First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament team selections. Gray led the Cobras with a .477 batting average, while also leading in hits, runs, triples, and stolen bases. Her 50 stolen bases broke a school record and placed her in the top five in the NJCAA this season.
Cobras Golf had their struggles at times this year but still won the conference title and were not that far from returning to Nationals. With three top players back and a strong recruiting class, head coach Zach McNabney's team will once again be in contention for another conference and regional title.