Sports briefs

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Liz Sowers

Sowers to serve on committee

INDIANAPOLIS — Hesston High and Hesston College grad Liz Sowers has been named to the USA Football High Performance Committee and Athlete & Coach Advisory Subcommittee.

According to the release from USA Football, the committee will “provide the organization leadership and assistance in advancing its high performance programming and U.S. Flag National Team Program.”

Sowers is the head flag football coach at Ottawa University and is a member of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Flag National Team.

In it’s first season of play, Ottawa won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title, as well as the NAIA Invitational title.

McNeil named top grad

WICHITA — Jeff McNeil was named the National Baseball Congress World Series 2021 Graduate of the Year.

McNeil, a former player for the Santa Barbara Foresters in 2010 and 2011, is in his fourth season of MLB play — all with the New York Mets. He holds a .310 lifetime batting average with the Mets, with 34 home runs and 134 RBIs. He was a 2019 MLB All-Star.

He was an NBC World Series All-American in 2011, leading the Foresters to the title. He was named to the Foresters’ Hall of Fame in 2019. He played three seasons at Long Beach State.

Wind Surge downs Naturals

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — The Wichita Wind Surge and Northwest Arkansas Naturals combined for 26 runs with 33 hits as the Surge claimed an 18-8 win in the opening game of a six-game series Tuesday in Double-A Central League play at Arvest Ballpark.

Wichita scored in every inning. Chris Williams went four for six hitting with a home run and five RBIs. Spencer Steer went five for six with four RBIs. B.J. Boyd went three for six with four RBIs. Leobaldo Cabrera and Trey Cabbage each hit a solo home run.

Dairon Blanco went two for five for the Naturals with a home run and four RBIs. M.J. Melendez hit a solo home run.

Cole Sands (1-0) pitched three innings of relief for the win, striking out four. Starter Chris Vallimont struck out six in four innings. Angel Zerpa (0-3) took the loss for the Naturals.

The series runs through Sunday.

Wichita;123;141;321;—;18;23;1

NW Arkansas;301;110;101;—;8;10;3

Vallimont, Sands 5, Nunn 8, Kuzia 9 and Williams; Zerpa (L, 0-3), Adams 3, Del Rosario 6, Snider 8, Dye 9 and Melendez, Cropley. HR — W: Williams (2), Cabrera (2), Cabbage (6). NW: Blanco (7), Melendez (24). Time — 3:31. Attendance — 2,029.

Thunder makes offers

SHREWSBURY, N.J. — The Wichita Thunder hockey team made qualifying offers to eight players for the 2021-22 season.

Players given offers were Evan Buitenhuis, Dean Stewart, Jacob Graves, Anthony Beauregard, Beau Starrett, Spencer Dorowicz, Charlie Combs and Bryan Moore.

According to the release from the ECHL office, “Each team was entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2021-22 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.”

Players may accept the offer by Aug. 9, after which the team may sign the player at any salary “or may elect to take no further action.”

The team retains the rights for a non-veteran player for one season. After Aug. 9, veteran players or goaltenders become restricted free agents and may accept offers from other teams. The veteran player or goaltender’s current team may match that offer.

A veteran player or goaltender not signed by Aug. 16 becomes an unrestricted free agent.

THUNDER SIGNS TWO — The Wichita Thunder signed forward Stephen Johnson and defenseman Alex Peters for the upcoming season.

Johnson is a second-year pro. As a rookie with Wichita, Johnson scored six goals and 12 assists in 47 games. He had an assist in two playoff games. Before coming to Wichita, Johnson played four seasons at St. Mary’s University in Canada.

Peters also is a second-year pro, who played three seasons at St. Mary’s.

As a rookie with Wichita, Peters scored four goals with eight assists in 35 games. He posted three assists in five playoff games.

Peters was a third-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2014.

Bethany names coach

LINDSBORG — Bethany College named Apdiel Vazquez as its interim softball coach, replacing Greg Cary, who resigned to take another position.

Vasquez has been an assistant at Bethany for three years. He has served as hitting coach, infield coach, first base Coach, and catchers coach. He also led the junior varsity.

He was on staff when Bethany reached the NAIA World Series final four.