HUTCHINSON, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College softball team dropped a pair of KJCCC East games on Tuesday, falling 6-0 and 10-4 on the road against Hutchinson Community College.
Fortunately, for the T-Birds (18-18 overall, 11-11 KJCCC East), Labette Community College swept Neosho County on Tuesday, keeping Cloud in the sixth spot in the standings; the final spot awarded a first-round home playoff series.
Cloud County played competitively in each game against the Blue Dragons (23-12 overall, 12-6 KJCCC East), but were plagued by missed opportunities on offense and errors, defensively.
In Game One, sophomore pitcher Bayleigh Cope kept Hutchinson off the scoreboard in three innings before the Blue Dragons struck for two runs, one earned, in the bottom of the fourth. Cope went five innings, allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits and struck out one.
Cloud County, trailing 3-0 in the top of the sixth, had a chance to get back in the game as freshman Nicole Dinkel drew a walk, advanced to third on a single by fellow freshman Marissa Wright, who then promptly stole second to give the T-Birds runners at second and third with one out.
Hutchinson starting pitcher D.J. Cannon, who limited the T-Birds to three hits in Game One, extinguished the threat by inducing a pop up and a groundout to end the inning. The Blue Dragons put the game away the next half-inning with three more insurance runs to take a 6-0 lead.
In Game Two, Cloud County rallied back from an early 4-0 hole in the first inning — aided by two errors on defense — to make it a game again at 4-3 through three innings.
Cloud's third run came across to score in the top of the third inning as sophomore Erin King (2-for-4) led off with a single and came around to score on an RBI double by sophomore outfielder Samantha Shafer, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI out of the No. 5 spot.
Hutchinson answered back with two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on a tough-luck throwing error on King. After recording an out at first base, King fired home for the would-be third out of the inning, but the ball was jarred loose from catcher Kayla West's glove on the tag at home plate as the throw led her up the line and allowed two runs to score.
The Blue Dragons iced the game with a four-run sixth inning to cruise to the 10-4 final.
Cloud County will look to shake off Tuesday's doubleheader as it turns around and heads to No. 11 ranked Cowley College for a twin bill on Wednesday. Game times between the T-Birds and Tigers are set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.