JOPLIN, Missouri — The Cloud County Community College softball team, playing in its first games in three weeks due to the inclement weather across Kansas, had a mixed day Saturday at the Crowder Bash in Joplin, Missouri.
Cloud County battled to put itself in a position to win both its games Friday, but unfortunately came up on the wrong end of a pair of one-run games, 5-4 and 6-5, against Three Rivers Community College and Mineral Area College, respectively.
"You could tell we hadn't been on a field to practice because we played pretty solid on the infield, but we had a couple hiccups in the outfield with misread fly balls and over throws. Just mistakes you can't have and they're from not being outside and reading balls off the bat," said Cloud County head coach Aaron Acree. "We battled hard at the plate, but just played from behind all day and you can't do that. Puts too much pressure on us."
The T-Birds (0-8 overall) began the day with a matchup against Three Rivers (6-1 overall), falling by a 5-4 final to the Raiders.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the T-Birds put up a 3-run second inning to take its first lead of the ballgame.
Cloud County loaded the bases for freshman catcher Emily Wells, who then delivered a two-out, two-run single to put the T-Birds on top, 3-2.
The T-Birds would hold a 4-3 lead at the end of the third inning as freshman Mattison Hogrefe lead off with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and crossed the plate two batters later on a run-scoring groundout from sophomore Alyssa Corpus.
Unfortunately for Cloud County, it was unable to get the shutdown inning it needed as the Raiders answered with a run in the top of the fourth and the eventual winning run in the top of the fifth inning via a leadoff walk and error on the T-Birds.
Defensive miscues would plague the T-Birds in Game Two against Mineral Area College as they committed four errors, which contributed to five unearned runs for the Cardinals (1-8 overall), in a 6-5 contest cut short after five innings due to darkness.
"The errors killed us in that game," Acree said. "There was no reason we shouldn't have won that game. We have to get that corrected, but we're learning by the seat of our pants because we haven't been outside. I'm confident it will get better."
It was a barrage of scoring to begin the game as each team scored at least one run in each of the first three innings.
The Cardinals built a 6-3 lead in the top of the third inning before the T-Birds rallied for two of their own in the home-half of the third via an RBI double from Doherty and RBI single by freshman third baseman Sarah McCown.
A total of seven T-Birds finished with at least one hit in the nightcap, led by McCown's 2-for-3 performance out of the No. 8 spot.
Wells and Hogrefe would also drive in runs against the Cardinals as Wells finished 1-for-2 with a run scored and RBI from the leadoff spot while Hogrefe went 1-for-2 with two RBI.
Marcotte was saddled with the tough-luck loss as she pitched five innings, allowed six runs, one earned, on 10 hits while not walking a batter and striking out one.
The T-Birds will have another crack at the Cardinals as a schedule change will pit the two teams against each again for a doubleheader on Sunday to conclude the Crowder Bash. Game times are set for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
"We have to clean up the defense for sure and keep making sure we're putting the ball in play on offense," Acree said. "I like the way we're hitting the ball and we executed much better (Saturday) with runners in scoring position. I like our chances tomorrow if we just come out and play relaxed, understand what we did wrong today and learn from it."