Cloud County Softball Stumbles in Home Losses to Labette

Brooklynn McCormick Led Cloud County with a Two-Hit, Two-RBI Performance in Game One Against Labette on Saturday, April 13th
Brooklynn McCormick Led Cloud County with a Two-Hit, Two-RBI Performance in Game One Against Labette on Saturday, April 13th

After having a 5-0 lead erased as part of a 7-5 extra-inning defeat, the Cloud County Community College softball team fell behind 4-0 in game two and could never recover as part of an 8-2 defeat to drop both ends of a home doubleheader against Labette Community College at the CCCC Softball Field in Concordia, Kansas on Saturday, April 13th.

Falling to 15-17 overall, CCCC is now 1-9 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference at the halfway point of the conference schedule while Labette improves to 14-18 overall and 6-4 in the KJCCC with their 11th straight win over the T-Birds.

Game One:
Working a quick one-two-three top of the first, Cloud County wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first as a leadoff double for Kaitlynn Baca was followed by a groundout to move the Greeley, Colorado native to third before a fielder's choice from Kaylee Pinneo that saw Baca score on a throwing error by the Cardinal shortstop to put CCCC up 1-0. The T-Birds ended up stranding a pair of runners to end the inning but kept Labette off the scoreboard in the second, third, and fourth innings to maintain their lead until a two-run bottom of the fourth. Following an infield single from Camille Stauffer, Cloud County took advantage of another LCC error to see Stauffer advance on a Brooklynn McCormick fielder's choice followed by a single from Kiera Brack that brought home the second run of the game. Another fielder's choice from Harley Smith brought home McCormick as Labette was unable to turn an inning-ending double play with both runs in the inning coming home as unearned runs to put the T-Birds up 3-0.

Working another quick inning in the circle, CCCC pushed across another two runs in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out rally getting started on a Pinneo single followed by a Stauffer double and McCormick two-RBI double into left center field to give Cloud County their largest lead of the game. After holding Labette scoreless for five straight innings, the T-Birds saw the Cardinals break through in the sixth with a bunt single and stolen base followed by back-to-back RBI doubles to bring the score within 5-2. Following a strikeout to put the first out of the inning on the scoreboard, CCCC surrendered a two-run home run that capped off a four-run LCC inning as Labette found themselves cutting a five-run deficit down to one heading to the seventh.

Trying to take advantage of another leadoff bunt single, the Cardinals saw a game-tying runner cut down on a stolen base attempt with Stauffer throwing down to Smith for the first out of the inning just to see a two-out rally come with a double and RBI single to tie the game at 5-5. With a chance to walk things off in the bottom of the inning, Cloud County hit three straight groundouts to send the game to extra innings where Labette used a leadoff single to put a base runner on and collect three total hits in the inning to push across two runs and grab their first lead of the game at 7-5. Needing a response to keep the game going, Cloud County was unable to utilize a McCormick one-out walk as a game-ending double-play allowed the Cardinals to earn the come-from-behind game-one win.

Stranding only four base runners in the game, Cloud County finished with seven hits and drew only one walk with Labette facing the minimum over the final three innings to complete the comeback. Leading the offense for the T-Birds was McCormick with a two-hit, two-RBI game while Stauffer had two hits and scored twice in four at-bats. Brack struck out six in the circle and threw 121 total pitches, taking the loss to fall to 8-8 overall.

Game Two:
Still reeling from the game-one defeat, Cloud County allowed one run to Labette in the top of the first of game two as the Cardinals turned a one-out walk into a run on a two-out triple before adding to their lead in the top of the fourth with a leadoff double beginning a three-run inning as part of three hits and one T-Bird error. Finally responding with a two-out rally started by McCormick in the bottom of the fourth to plate a run on an infield single from Smith, CCCC saw the little momentum gained by the rally flipped right back to LCC in the top of the fifth as the Cardinals plated one run on two hits and another Cloud County error.

The already large four-run deficit for the T-Birds grew once more in the sixth as Labette brought home another three runs over the course of two at bats with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning coming around to score on a two-RBI triple followed by an RBI single. Once again unable to put together any type of offensive rally in the bottom of the sixth, CCCC finally broke back through in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff walk for Brack getting followed by a Smith single and Madyson Buescher fielder's choice to put runners on the corners for a Jillian Artiges RBI groundout. After a Baca infield single to extend the game, Cloud County saw their hopes for a late rally ended on a fielder's choice as two stranded base runners saw the T-Birds finish with five runners left on base in a six-run defeat.

Held to just four hits in the back end of the doubleheader, Smith was the lone player for the T-Birds to record multiple hits with two hits in three at-bats and an RBI. McCormick and Baca accounted for the remaining CCCC hits as the T-Birds drew five walks but only converted one of the five into a run as Labette put together a 13-hit effort to score their eight runs.

What's Next?
Cloud County makes its second trip of the season to the Kansas City metroplex as the T-Birds will take on Kansas City Kansas Community College in a 1 PM doubleheader on Thursday, April 18th. Winners of eight straight and led by reigning KJCCC Division II Player of the Week Liberty Hawks, KCKCC has won eight straight games following a road sweep of Highland on Saturday and will play at Iowa Western Community College on Monday before playing host to CCCC.