MILFORD, Nebraska — Ironically, Mother Nature had a big hand in Wednesday's non-conference matchup between Cloud County Community College and the Southeast Community College Storm.
Rain suspended play after the sixth inning — the game was scheduled for nine innings—right after Southeast scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-7 lead.
"Everybody could see the storm coming in. Had it hit 10 minutes earlier, we win that ballgame. But, unfortunately, it (rain) held off," said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland. "If we get a big zero there (bottom of the sixth) we win also, but just bad timing and bad defense cost us."
Cloud County (20-26 overall, 7-17 KJCCC) was hindered by six errors on defense, resulting in five unearned runs for the Storm (22-16 overall).
Despite the miscues, the T-Birds gave themselves a chance with the bats as they hammered out eight hits through six innings, including a pair of three-run home runs by sophomore Jacob Grady and freshman Trae McDaniel.
Grady's sixth blast of the season gave Cloud County an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, while McDaniel's shot to left-center — his third of the season and second in as many games—capped a four-run fifth for the T-Birds that gave them the 7-6 lead.
"Trae had a bad situation. He had mono and didn't really have any of the symptoms, but couldn't play for a month," Gilliland said. "We pretty much plugged him in immediately when he got back and he's been good for us. He's a dependable guy, works good counts and can run into a ball here and there."
Cloud County will now turn its attention toward this weekend's home conference series against Butler Community College.
The four-game set, currently scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday if weather permits, will be the final home games of the season for the T-Birds. Sophomore Day will be between games on Sunday.
"There's still a lot left up in the air between the No. 6 through No. 9 seeds (in the KJCCC West standings), Gilliland said. "Like every week, it'll be a big series. We're excited to be at home and hope to play well."