KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College softball team open Region VI Division II conference play on the road Saturday against Kansas City Kansas Community College, falling by final scores of 19-8 and 4-3 to the Blue Devils.
Cloud County (1-11 overall, 0-2 Region VI) saw progress in a number of areas Saturday as its offense produced 10 hits in each game and defensively the T-Birds committed just one error on the afternoon, following a stretcg of five games with two or more errors, while turning a pair of double-plays on the day.
"We definitely took a step in the right direction, defensively, on Saturday," said Cloud County head coach, Aaron Acree. "It got our confidence going because we were charging the ball well and the one error came on what was going to be a bang-bang play anyways. The girls are starting to realize that can do it. Once we can get outside on the field for practice a little more, I think we're going to be OK and able to work through this."
Freshman designated hitter Sarah Mccown continued her recent surge as the right-hander extended her hit streak to six games, finishing 4-of-7 with two RBI between the two ballgames.
Mccown went 3-for-4 in the final game Saturday, including an RBI single in the top of the third inning for Cloud County's first run.
"She's staying back and seeing the ball very well right now," Acree said of Mccown. "She's understanding what her job is and she hit a lot of balls back up the middle (Saturday). She's executing her at-bats and staying a little more patient, as well."
The T-Birds and Blue Devils (8-4 overall, 2-0 Region VI) traded runs over the next two half-innings, with Cloud County tying the score again at 3-3 in the top of the fourth following a leadoff walk issued to freshman catcher Emily Wells, who later scored on an error by KCKCC.
Unfortunately for the T-Birds, the Blue Devils were able to scratch out the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning with a double and single in succession by Hannah Reddick and Devin Purcell, respectively.
Freshman relief pitcher Mattison Hogrefe was able to escape the inning as she induced a 6-4-3 double-play and recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Hogrefe finished 2-for-4 at the plate and pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit while striking out three.
Freshman left-fielder Kara Chisolm was the third T-Bird to record a multi-hit game in Game Two, finishing 2-for-4 from the No. 2 hole spot.
As for Game One's slugfest, walks would be a main factor for the T-Birds as they issued 10 free passes to KCKCC hitters and the two teams combined for 15 walks in the ballgame.
"The umpire had a tight, tight zone in that first game," Acree said. "It was a situation where both teams were unhappy with the zone, but we just had to play through that."
Cloud County initially jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single from freshman Jacie Marcotte, and RBI doubles by Bletscher and Mccown in succession.
The Blue Devils answered with seven runs in the home-half of the first inning, and with an eight-run second inning to take back the momentum.
Bletscher led all T-Birds at the plate with a 2-for-3 and two RBI performance, while Wells (2-for-3), Doherty (1-for-4, 2 runs), Alyssa Corpus (1-for-2, 2 runs) and Kelsey Bowers (1-for-1) all cracked the hit column in Game One, as well.
Cloud County will now turn its attention toward another conference road doubleheader on Thursday against Labette Community College. Game times are set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
"As I told the girls, it's starting to come out and come together. There was excitement, a ton of energy from the girls (Saturday) and a lot of good plays being made," Acree said. "If we can continue to do that, and continue to swing the bats the way we have been, we're going to be OK. Labette is going to be a tough test next week, but we know the girls can do it."