Several thousands have come to watch Johnson County Community College baseball since the first season in 1973. Johnson County parents come to watch their sons compete. JCCC alumni come to see the next generation of Cavaliers. Johnson County students, faculty and staff members come for the sheer fun of it.
In the summer of 2012, the JCCC board of trustees approved renovations and improvements to the Cavaliers baseball facility, and construction began in the fall. Improvements included in the project are a new playing surface, underground drainage, new dugouts, new backstop and fencing, and installation of lighting to allow play at night.
A state-of-the-art AstroTurf Grass 3D60 infill system has been installed on the entire playing surface, joining Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State as the only college baseball programs in the state with a full turf field. The new field replaced the natural grass field that was installed when the JCCC baseball program started in 1973. The new AstroTurf field is the same that was installed last summer at Kansas State University’s Tointon Family Stadium.
A natural grass-colored surface was installed in the infield, outfield and foul territory areas, while a traditional clay-infield color will cover the warning track, base paths, infield dirt area, home plate circle and pitching mound. Additionally, permanent white lines will be installed for the foul lines and batter’s boxes.
This renovation gives JCCC baseball one of the top playing surfaces in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference and provides the team opportunities to practice and compete in all type weather conditions, as well as host top-notch amateur baseball championships during the year.
“My feet have not touched the ground since the night the board approved the project,” said JCCC head coach Kent Shelley. “What is being built now has been a dream of mine for years. It is something I wanted for our players, alumni and community college. I am so proud of this facility and what it means to JCCC and the baseball community. It is now a state-of-the art classroom.”
There is a second phase planned for the project as well, which includes a 1,000-seat stadium with chairback seats behind home plate, an enclosed press box, a clubhouse and coaches’ offices behind the first base dugouts, restroom facilities and a concession stand.
Over the years, JCCC’s baseball facility has become accustomed to record-setting performances and postseason play. Johnson County has hosted on several occasions the Eastern Sub-Regional Tournament, the Region VI championship and the Central District championship. JCCC’s field has even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated -– the July 6, 1992, issue featuring former Major League umpire Steve Palermo. In August 2007, JCCC faced the Croatian Olympic Team in an exhibition game.
That is not the only tie Johnson County has to professional baseball. Forty-six former Cavaliers have signed as free agents or been drafted by Major League organizations. In 2002, former JCCC All-American Kit Pellow became the first former Cavalier to make it to the Major League level, when he was called up by the Kansas City Royals. Two years later, he was the starting left fielder on opening day for the Colorado Rockies.
Johnson County sport has a great tradition and success than baseball. Since the program’s inception in 1973, Johnson County baseball squads have posted a .658 winning percentage and experienced 36 winning seasons in 40 years. The program has produced 1,291 wins, eight conference championships, eight sub-regional championships, six Region VI titles, one NJCAA JUCO World Series, one top 10 National finish, and 10 NJCAA All-Americans.
The 1974 squad, led by JCCC hall-of-fame coach Sonny Maynard, featured first-team All-American pitcher Bob Downs and honorable mention All-American second baseman Mark Balderston. Those players propelled Johnson County to its first championship season and a No. 13 national ranking. Maynard’s 1985 team set the standard for wins, posting 48 triumphs against just 14 losses.
The 1990 team, the fourth under head coach Kent Shelley, witnessed the first player in the program’s history to top .500 in hitting. Scott Hennessey hit .508 while leading Johnson County to sub-region and region titles.
In 1994, Kit Pellow garnered second-team All-America honors while pounding 20 round-trippers, the country’s second highest total and new school record. Shelley’s 1996 squad, possibly his most talented, belted a school record 50 home runs and finished the regular season ranked 11th in the country. That season, the Cavaliers recorded one of the best starts in the program’s history, racing to an 18-4 mark on their way to a 36-14 record.
The 2002 squad, led by Joe Gullion, established a new club record for home runs, belting 54 home runs. Highlighting the season was Gullion breaking Pellow’s career mark for home runs. He ended his career with 38. Gullion tied Pellow’s season mark of 20 homers in the 2001 season. JCCC also set stadium records for runs scored (35) and margin of victory (32) against Haskell.
The 2008 squad might go down as the greatest of all time. The Cavaliers finished 41-18, won a region title and qualified for the NJCAA JUCO World Series for the first time in school history. JCCC also produced two All-Americans in shortstop Doug Otto and pitcher Brandon Droge, and Otto became the first player in team history to earn a national Rawlings Gold Glove award.
In 2010, JCCC won 44 games, the most by a Shelley-led team, and captured the East Jayhawk Conference title, the first for the program since 1984. The team also finished No. 12 in the final regular season poll. That season also saw All-American Davis Morgan cap an amazing career. He hit .442 (92-for-208) with 17 doubles, four triples, 22 home runs and 92 RBI. His season totals for at-bats, hits, home runs and RBI set new team records. He also set the single season doubles record as a freshman. For his career, Morgan set new standards in doubles with 41 and RBI with 150. He also ranked second in career homers with 29 and hits with 157.
In 2018, Malik Williams became the latest player to be selected All-American. He it .397 (89-for-224) with 15 doubles, two triples, a team-high 17 home runs, 62 runs and 78 driven in. His 89 hits are the third most and ranked 14th nationally, and his 78 RBI tie the third most. Williams also set a team record with 31 multiple-hit games and is third all-time with 21 multi-RBI games.
In 2011, Shelley won his 700th career game. He is the all-time wins leader in JCCC baseball history. Last season, he won his 1,000 game as the Cavaliers skipper.
During the summer, the baseball facility is used for the summer camp program. Assistant coaches Eric Horner and David Canary, along with several players, conduct clinics for boys ranging in age from 8 to 18 on the offensive and defensive fundamentals of baseball. Johnson County also offers specialized clinics that just focus on the mechanics of hitting and all aspects of pitching and catching.
JCCC Baseball Stadium Facts/Records
Year Opened: 1973
Year Remodeled: Fall, 2012
First Game: March, 1974 (JCCC 14, Allen County 3)
Current Dimensions: LF: 320, LCF: 365, CF: 400, RCF: 370, RF: 320
Previous Dimensions: LF: 330, CF: 410, RF: 330
Current Surface: AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60
Previous Surface: Outfield Grass, Infield Grass and Dirt
Most Runs by JCCC: 35 vs. Haskell Indian Nations (4-17-02)
Most Runs Doubleheaders by JCCC: 55 vs. Haskell Indian Nations (4-17-96)
Largest Shutout by JCCC: 29-0 vs. Haskell Indian Nations (4-17-96)
Largest Margin of Victory: 32 (35-3) vs. Haskell Indian Nation (4-17-02)
Most Runs by a JCCC Opponent: 23 vs. Seminole (1983)
Most Runs Doubleheader by a JCCC Opponent: 39 vs. Seminole (1983)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 18 (22-4) vs. MCC-Maple Woods (3-26-14)
Largest Shutout Loss: 16-0 vs. Seminole (1983)
Individual Game Records
Hits in a Game:
5 – Jesse Vann vs. Barton (4-80)
5 – Lenny Jennings vs. Barton (4-80)
5 – Jim Broer vs. Cowley (3-85)
5 – Michel Fletcher vs. Brookhaven (3-1-86)
5 – Adam Smith vs. Independence (4-19-02)
5 – Andy Hockensen vs. Haskell Indian Nations (4-17-02)
5 – Josiah Enyart vs. Pratt (5-7-05)
5 – Kyle blyer vs. MCC-Longview (2-22-06)
5 – Derek Hinke vs. Fort Scott (4-8-06)
5 – Davis Morgan vs. Neosho County (4-13-10)
5 – L.J. Hatch vs. Fort Scott (2-24-15)
5 – Tanner Padgett vs. Hutchinson (5-12-17)
Doubles in a Game:
3 – Ron Douglas vs. Highland (4-7-75)
3 – Josiah Enyart vs. Pratt (5-7-05)
3 – Skylar Murray vs. Baker JV (3-11-10)
3 – Davis Morgan vs. Coffeyville (4-17-10)
3 – Andrew Warner vs. Southeast (4-14-15)
3 – Brandt Ollinger vs. Allen (4-13-17)
Triples in a Game:
3 – Antonio Triplett vs. Barton (4-80)
3 – Lenny Jennings vs. Barton (4-80)
3 – Josh Miljavic vs. Baker (3-13-02)
3 – Brandt Ollinger vs. Allen (4-13-17)
Home Runs in a Game:
3 – Jesse Vann vs. Barton (4-80)
3 – Joe Gullion vs. Baker JV (3-13-02)
3 – Steve Nash vs. Fort Scott (4-8-06)
3 – Brad Lewandowski vs. Fort Scott (4-8-06)
3 – Ben Calvano vs. Independence (4-4-15)
RBIs in a Game:
8 – Jesse Vann vs. Barton (4-80)
8 – Jim Broer vs. Labette (5-4-85)
8 – Clint Johns vs. Kansas City Kansas (5-11-00)
Runs in a Game:
5 – Jim Spring vs. Barton (4-80)
5 – Antonio Triplett vs. Barton (4-80)
5 – Merritt Hess vs. Fort Scott (4-11-96)
5 – Andy Hockensen vs. Haskell Indian Nations (4-17-02)
5 – Ryan Hall vs. Kansas City Kansas (4-9-11)
Steals in a Game:
6 – Ben Duval vs. Independence (3-29-02)
Base on Balls in a Game:
4 – Steve Grant vs. Cowley (4-24-87)
4 – Caleb Hallman vs. Allen (3-25-11)
Strikeouts by a JCCC Pitcher in a Game:
16 – Matt Blackham vs. Allen (3-8-13)
15 – Zachary Ebert vs. Coffeyville (3-9-18)
15 – Zachary Ebert vs. Highland (3-30-18)
Terry Swartz vs. MidAmerica Nazarene (4-23-79)
Mike Beal vs. Fort Scott (5-5-83)
Steve Parker vs. Crowder (4-11-84)
Steve Parker vs. Cowley (1985)
Steve Parker vs. Neosho County (4-29-85)
Mike Simmons vs. Independence (3-14-94)
Will Faulk vs. Baker JV (4-18-07)
5 Mike Beal vs. Fort Scott (5-5-83)