Paulson dominates

NCCC pitcher Cassidy Paulson winds up for the heater in a contest versus Cloud Community College. Paulson is one of six NCCC softball players chosen for the All-KJCCC team in this historic 2021 season.

Six players from Neosho’s No. 20-ranked softball program have been recognized by the KJCCC.

Helping the team to a 28-26 record and a winning season for the first time since 2015, Kirsten Birdwell (outfield), Katie Boline (pitcher and outfield), Hannah Duin (catcher), Journee Zito (infield), Olivia Cummings (pitcher) and Cassidy Paulson (pitcher and outfielder) were dubbed KJCCC Division II All-Conference players in 2021. Birdwell and Boline are on the second team, while Duin, Zito, Cummings, and Paulson are honorable mentions.

“I am super proud of these kids,” NCCC head softball coach Kim Alexander said. “They have worked so hard, and it’s so well deserved. They would go into the indoor and do extra any time they could. I’m excited to see what they do next year as well.”

In 2021, Birdwell hit .376 and racked up 44 RBI, 19 home runs (third in Conference), and 30 stolen bases.

Boline had a stellar year at the plate, hitting .384 with 28 ribbies, six home runs and 17 stolen bases.

For the honorable mentions, Duin hit .388 with 33 RBI, seven home runs and one stolen base.

Zito put up a .337 average and recorded 29 ribbies, seven homers and 18 stolen bases.

Cummings, one of the better pitchers on the team, went 7-5, striking out 97 with two saves and a 4.4 ERA in 102 2/3 innings.

Paulson contributed by hitting a .354 average with 11 RBI and six stolen bases. As the top pitcher on the team, she posted a 10-5 record with 106 strikeouts and a 4.8 ERA in 116 2/3 innings.

The coaches congratulated the players on the NCCC softball site.

“The coaching staff wishes Kirsten Birdwell the best of luck at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff next year. They are also looking forward to next year, as Boline, Duin, Zito, Cummings, and Paulson are all returning. Big expectations are set for this core group of returners.”

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