Fiedler provides spark for surging Broncos

By Bill Althaus
Associated Press
Lee's Summit North's Kinsey Fiedler glides into home plate to finish off a leadoff inside-the-park home run in as district semifinal win over Blue Springs. Fiedler has helped lead the Broncos to a 26-3 record and a Class 5 state quarterfinal appearance.

Once a Lee’s Summit North High School softball game begins, it’s impossible to take your eyes off Kinsey Fiedler.

The all-state senior shortstop, who has verbally committed to continue her academic and softball career at the University of Washington, is the type of player most coaches can only dream about.

But her coach and teammates say this Bronco is the real deal.

She leads by example – on and off the field. If a teammate’s bat is laying on the ground near home plate, she becomes the most talented batgirl in Eastern Jackson County as she rushes out to pick it up.

She leads the cheers and creates many of the elaborate handshakes from the Broncos dugout, and she can play.

Oh, can she play.

In the Broncos’ recent 9-1 Class 5 District 7 championship win over back-to-back state champion Blue Springs South, Fiedler broke up a Madison Hoffman no-hitter with a leadoff single in the fourth inning.

By the time the nine-run inning had ended, Fiedler had scored two runs, and collected a single and RBI double.

“That’s what Kinsey has done for us all season,” Broncos coach John Gage said of Fiedler, who is hitting .419 with 16 home runs, 37 RBIs, 46 runs, a 1.065 slugging percentage and 1.578 OPS entering Thursday's quarterfinal against Park Hill. “If something big is going on, you know she’s going to be in the middle of it.”

Lee's Summit North's Kinsey Fiedler, left, gestures to her teammates in the dugout after hitting a double in the 9-1 Class 5 District 7 championship won over Blue Springs South. Fiedler entered Thursday's state quarterfinal batting .416 with 16 home runs and a 1.578 OPS.

She is also a gracious winner.

“They made it a great game for three innings and the thing I respect most about those (South) girls is that they never give up,” Fiedler said. “After we scored those nine runs, they were cheering for their teammates and that really impressed me.

“They did it to the last out. That’s why they have such a great program.”

With the 21-2 Cierra Harrison on the mound, the Broncos defeated Park Hill 11-5 Thursday to advance to Saturday's 2 p.m. state semifinals against Lee's Summit West or Springfield Kickapoo.

“The past two seasons, we lost to South and that ended our season,” Fielder said. “We don’t want our season to end this year until we’re holding that state championship trophy.

“And I think we have the talent to win a state championship. We have such great chemistry, we have a lot of talent and Cierra is one of the best pitchers I’ve ever seen. I’m just glad she’s on our side.”

Harrison feels much the same way about Fiedler.

“Kinsey is an amazing leader,” Harrison said. “She is so much fun to be around. She is always leading the cheers in the dugout and she comes up with all our handshakes.

“No one has more fun than Kinsey, but when it’s time to get serious, she is all business.”

That approach came from her mother, Lacey Fiedler, a Lee’s Summit elementary school teacher.

“My mom has made so many sacrifices for me,” Fiedler said. “I love her so much and want her to know what she means to me. Because she’s an elementary school teacher, and doesn’t get out of school until 4, she might miss the first inning or so of our games, but she is there for every game, and I want to play hard and make her proud.

“That’s what she’s done for me. She has worked hard so I could have all these opportunities, and I love her so much for doing that.”