A return to contender status for the Labette Cardinals softball program earned Ryan Phillips the 2020-21 Parsons Sun Labette Coach of the Year honor.

Phillips guided Labette to a 34-win season, a second place finish in the KJCCC and the championship round of the region tournament.

The berth into the championship round ended a rough that dated back to 2016.

The 34 wins are the most for Labette since 2015 and sixth-most all-time in school history. Those victories also pushed Phillips’ career record with the Cardinals to 448-446 after he entered the season 16 games under .500.

“Ryan is very determined in what he does,” first-year Labette softball assistant coach Ashton Sangster said. “He always wants best for whoever is around.” 

The Cardinals’ softball team was one of three that had its season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, putting extra focus on the efforts in this spring’s campaign.

“Everyone that is in the program has to earn their spot on the field,” Sangster said. “Nothing is ever given. Everything he does is to make everybody better. In just the one year I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot.” 

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