Cloud County Softball Sweeps Bethany JV
By David Wilson
CCCC Sports Information Director
The Cloud County Community College softball team moved back to .500 on Sunday, sweeping a non-conference doubleheader against Bethany College JV by the final scores of 11-7 and 8-3, respectively.
Cloud County (7-7 overall, 1-1 KJCCC), winners of three straight, had its most productive day at the plate of the young season on Sunday as the T-Birds feasted on Bethany's pitching to the tune of 28 hits between the two games.
"It was huge for us and I give credit to the girls because they stayed focused through some cold and windy conditions," said Cloud County head coach, Aaron Acree. "We hit the ball very well (Sunday). We made consistent, hard contact and made the defense have to play."
In Game One, the T-Birds overcame an early 1-0 deficit by exploding for 11 runs over the final four innings.
Freshman pitcher Madison Hammond picked up the win in Game One, limiting the Swedes to three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Hammond would also help her own cause in the batter's box, finishing 2-for-3 with three runs driven in.
Hammond and fellow freshman Shania Schraad, who recorded her first three-hit game of her career, gave the T-Birds the lead for good in the top of the fourth inning with back-to-back RBI singles.
As a team, Cloud County had eight different players record at least one of their season-high 15 hits.
Sophomore third baseman Nicole Dinkel tied Schraad for the team high with three hits, while sophomores Jordan Ummel and Kayla West each collected two hits apiece in the win.
Ummel and the T-Birds kept on rolling in the second game of the twin bill as the right-hander picked up her fourth win of the season in the pitcher's circle, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six in seven innings of work.
Ummel was also 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in the game's first three runs with an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run double in the third.
Cloud County put the game away with a five-run sixth inning. Freshman outfielder Kelsey Bowers and Hammond each drilled RBI triples in the inning, Schraad and sophomore Autumn Adams followed with RBI singles, and West capped the inning's scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Freshman leadoff hitter Payton Gillen had a banner day at the plate in Game Two, as well, as she produced a career high in hits with a spotless 4-for-4 day with three runs scored.
"She was really patient at the plate and waited for her pitch," Acree said of Gillen. "She did an excellent job leading off for us (Sunday) and everything she hit was hit hard."
The T-Birds will look to build off Sunday's momentum when they resume KJCCC East action this Friday against Johnson County Community College, which was preseason ranked No. 5 in the country. Game times are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
"Johnson County will have good pitching, play good defense and they can swing the bats" Acree said. "We'll take each game inning by inning. That's what we've been telling our girls to do. If we play smart defensively, I think we'll be right in it."