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Former Rural multi-sport state champ, OU national champ Carey headlines TopSports.news Best of the Best women's softball list

 By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

From top to bottom, the TopSports.news Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 list for women's softball may be the most balanced of any sport in the series.

The list includes national champions at multiple-levels and is chock full of former All-Americans and members of various halls of fame.

The softball is also an extremely diverse list, including players who played in the 1950s as well as players whose careers are still very much on the upswing.

Lisa Carey [Submitted]Lisa Carey

In the end, former Washburn Rural star Lisa Carey, who went on to lead Oklahoma to an NCAA championship, got the nod as the No. 1 while rising stars Lauren Mills and NiJaree Canady garnered the next two spots.

 Lauren MillsLauren Mills

NiJareeCanadyregional2NiJaree Canady

Mills, who helped lead Seaman to a Class 5A state championship as a high school player, is currently a standout for a Wichita State team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament this past season while Canady helped lead Topeka High a perfect 25-0 season and the school's first-ever 6A state softball title.

TaylorZordelTaylor Zordel

Former Washburn Rural multi-sport star and Emporia State All-American Taylor Zordel won the Readers Choice Award, with the current Washburn University assistant coach receiving more than 1,000 votes.

Topeka High product Jaryn Benning ranked No. 2 in reader votes while Mills was third, former Topeka High standout Ellena Cott-Laurie fourth and current Washburn standout Jaycee Ginter fifth. 

Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S SOFTBALL PLAYERS

1. Lisa Carey (Washburn Rural) -- Carey helped lead Washburn Rural to state titles in both softball and basketball, earning All-State honors in both sports, and went on to become a three-time All-American at Oklahoma and helped lead the Sooners to an NCAA national championship. Carey was a three-time All-Big 12 pick and was named the conference player of the year in 2000. Carey was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

2. Lauren Mills (Seaman)  -- Mills helped lead Seaman to a Class 5A state championship and the Gatorade Kansas Sotball Player of the Year and three-time All-Stater has gone on to stand out at Wichita State, hitting 11 home runs and knocking in 36 runs this past season. Mills set a WSU record with three home runs in a game against Lamar. Mills hit .696 with 15 homers and 60 RBI as a senior for Seaman.

3. NiJaree Canady (Topeka High)  -- A two-time All-Stater in softball and basketball with a season left, Canady was named the Gatorade Kansas Softball Player of the Year this past season after helping lead Topeka High to a perfect 25-0 record and its first 6A state championship. The city player of the year in both softball and basketball, Canady hit .478 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI and went 21-0 as a pitcher with an 0.26 earned run average and 226 strikeouts. 

4. Brenda Stolle (Silver Lake) -- The Silver Lake product was a star pitcher at Emporia State, compiling an 0.33 ERA in 1980 while leading the Hornets to the national championship. Stolle also led ESU to a second-place finish in the national tournament in '81 and went 66-15 in her career, earning NAIA Pitcher of the Year honors and induction into the Emporia State and Kansas Sports halls of fame.

5. Laura Klamm (Highland Park) -- Klamm was a three-time All-American for Washburn as a pitcher and shortstop and is a member of the Washburn Hall of Fame as well as the NAIA Softball Hall of Fame. Klamm posted 79 pitching wins for WU and was named the Most Valuable Player in the NAIA National Tournament in 1986.

6. Hayley Reed (Seaman) -- Reed helped lead Seaman to a 5A state championship as a senior and was a three-time all-conference selection at Pacific before transferring to Kansas, where she led the Jayhawks with seven wins this past season. Reed posted a career pitching record of 41-5 at Seaman with a 1.06 ERA and 393 strikeouts.

7. Taylor Zordel (Washburn Rural) -- A star in softball and basketball for Rural, Zordel went on to earn NCAA Division II All-America honors for Emporia State. Zordel earned All-MIAA recognition four straight seasons, including first-team honors three straight years as a shortstop. Zordel is currently an assistant coach at Washburn.

8. Jayee Ginter (Shawnee Heights) -- Ginter helped lead the T-Birds to three straight Class 5A state championships before going on to earn first-team All-MIAA honors in her first season for Washburn University as a pitcher/utility player. Ginter went 14-4 on the mound for the Ichabods with a 2.80 earned run average and 110 strikeouts while also hitting six homers with 30 RBI.

9. Paige Petefish (Shawnee Heights) -- Petefish was a three-time 5A state champion for Shawnee Heights and earned All-MIAA first-team honors for Central Missouri this past season as a freshman for Central Missouri while compiling a sub-2.00 earned run average.

10. Kasey Hamilton (Washburn Rural) -- Hamilton was a three-sport athlete at Rural (golf, basketball, softball), helping lead the Junior Blues to a 6A state basketball championship and second and third-place state finishes in softball before going on to pitch at Kansas, where she was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team this past spring and led the team with 59 strikeouts.

11. Susan Punzo (Shawnee Heights) -- The Shawnee Heights product was a two-time All-American at Central Missouri and helped lead the Jennies to three MIAA Conference championships during her career (1994-'97). She is now the head coach at her alma mater.

12. Chris Torrez (Topeka West) -- Torrez was an All-American and four-time All-MIAA pick for Washburn University, finishing her career No. 1 on WU's career list with 32 home runs, 167 RBI and a .398 batting average.

13. Kathy Mohler (Silver Lake) -- Mohler starred at Silver Lake and Washburn from 1993-'06 and was inducted into the WU Hall of Fame in 2011 after becoming a two-time All-MIAA pick. Mohler helped lead the Ichabods to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and ended her career as the school leader with 69 pitching wins, including 22 as a senior. 

14. Latisha Yarnell (Washburn Rural) -- A basketball and softball star for Washburn Rural, Yarnell was an All-American first baseman in 1986 and was inducted into Washburn's Hall of Fame in '98.

15. Zoe Caryl (Topeka High) -- A star catcher, Caryl hit .738 as a senior for Topeka High's 25-0 6A state championship while hitting nine home runs and knocking in 68 runs. Caryl, who will play at Illinois, was a multiple-time All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A honoree for the Trojans.

16. Olivia Bruno (Washburn Rural) -- Bruno, who will play at Kansas, was named the Centennial League Player of the Year as a senior after hitting .563 with 11 home runs and 35 runs batted in and posted a 12-2 record as a pitcher with an 0.98 ERA and 127 strikeouts. Bruno, who hit 25 career homers, was a three-time All-City, all-league and All-6A honoree.

17. Stacy Slavens (Shawnee Heights) -- Slavens was a two-time All-American for Emporia State and was named the NAIA Pitcher of the Year for the Hornets in 1991.

18. Dianna Klamm (Highland Park) -- Klamm was an NAIA All-American pitcher for Washburn University and was inducted into the WU Hall of Fame in 2004.

19. Sherri Spangler (Shawnee Heights) -- Spangler was named an All-American for Washburn in 1990 and was also an all-conference and All-District 10 selection.

20. Paige Ladenburger (Washburn Rural) -- A pitcher, Ladenburger was named the MIAA Freshman of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors for Emporia State and helped the Hornets earn an MIAA title and an NCAA tournament berth.

21. Wendy Farthing (Topeka West) -- Farthing was a basketball and softball star for the Chargers, winning a 6A state title, and went on to be a standout pitcher for Missouri State. Farthing is a member of the Topeka West Hall of Fame.

22. Maggie Holmberg (Washburn Rural) -- A pitcher, Holmberg helped lead Rural to a 6A softball title in 2008 and a second-place finish in '09 while also winning a state basketball crown. Holmberg went on to be a two-time all-conference selection at Baker University.

23. Ellena Cott-Laurie (Topeka High) -- A catcher, Cott-Laurie earned All-KCAC honors four straight seasons, including three straight first-team honors, and helped lead the Braves to an NAIA World Series appearance and a KCAC title. She holds OU records for career hits (231) and career RBIs (181) and is second in career home runs (23) and doubles (43). 

24. Billie Jean Moore (Highland Park) -- Moore was a star third baseman for the nationally renowned Ohse Meats fastpitch softball team before going on the put together a legendary coaching career in women's basketball, including national titles at California State-Fullerton and UCLA. 

25. Patty Dick (Highland Park) -- Dick starred for the Ohse Meats fastpitch softball team before going on to carve out a long, highly successful career as women's basketball coach at Washburn University.

READERS CHOICE AWARDS

1. Taylor Zordel -- No. 7 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

2. Jaryn Benning -- Was a multi-sport star for Topeka High before going on to play softball for Butler County Community College's powerhouse softball team.

3. Lauren Mills -- No. 2 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

4. Ellena Cott-Laurie -- No. 23 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

5. Jaycee Ginter -- No. 8 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

6. Lisa Carey -- No. 1 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

7. NiJaree Canady -- No. 3 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

8. (tie) Zoe Caryl -- No. 15 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

8. (tie) Latisha Yarnell -- No. 14 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

8. (tie) Diana Klamm -- No. 18 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

Next up: Women's swimming Top 25 Best of the Best and Readers Choice Awards.