CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College softball team is playing its best ball at the ideal time as the T-Birds extended their winning streak to six games with a sweep of Neosho County on Friday by the scores of 8-4 and 9-1.
Cloud County (18-18 overall, 11-11 Region VI) has crawled back to .500 and to seventh in the Region VI standings with two games remaining, which are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday against Allen County (20-23 overall, 13-9 Region VI).
A sweep Saturday would put Cloud County into a tie for sixth with Labette for the final first-round home playoff spot.
"I like how we're going right now," said Cloud County head coach, Aaron Acree. "We're developing more and more confidence in game situations that you just can't simulate in practice. We're very tough through the middle of our lineup right now."
In Game One, Cloud County used another quality start turned in by sophomore Jordan Ummel and a seven-run fifth inning to bust open what was a 1-1 game at the time.
"Everyone just started hitting," Acree said. "It was contagious."
The T-Birds received RBI singles from sophomore Autumn Adams and Ummel, a two-run single by freshman first baseman Alyssa Corpus, and capitalize on an error and passed ball in the inning by Neosho County (14-24 overall, 9-15 Region VI).
Seven different Cloud County players recorded at least one hit, led by Ummel's spotless 3-for-3 performance and a two-hit Game One from freshman Kelsey Bowers.
On the mound, Ummel picked up her ninth win after going all seven innings, allowing four runs, none earned, on four hits while striking out five.
Cloud County's offense continued to by dynamic in the nightcap.
With Game Two tied at 1-1 through three innings, Cloud County pushed across three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Cloud County finished off the Panthers in style in the sixth inning as Adams capped her 2-for-4 effort in Game Two with a two-run single, and Ummel launched a three-run home run to walk it off one batter later.
Ummel's shot to left field was her second home run of the season and made her 2-for-4 in Game Two and 5-for-7 on the afternoon.
"I think it was a screwball that just hung out for her," Acree said of Ummel's home run. "She took a nice, easy swing and the ball just jumped off her bat."
It was more than enough run support for freshman pitcher Madison Hammond, who picked up her ninth victory of the season with a strong six-inning performance.
Hammond limited Neosho County to one run on six hits and struck out two. She has allowed just one run over her last 11 innings pitched and has won four straight starts.
Cloud County will look to add to its winning ways on Saturday when it welcomes in Allen County Community College for Sophomore Day. Game times are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The T-Birds will also be recognizing former softball standout Kathleen Powers on Saturday. Powers was a two-time All-Region player and one of three members of the 2018 Cloud County Athletics Hall of Fame class.
"Our sophomores are a darn good group. Those girls have been through ups and downs. They're carrying us in the right way," Acree said. "It's also going to be great to have Kathleen back. She was a heck of a player. She wasn't able to make it back for her induction in February, so we're going to do everything in our power to get (Saturday's) games in."