Andy Hancock and Whitney Fields combined on a five-inning perfect game and the Western Nebraska Community College softball team swept a Region IX Conference doubleheader from Northeastern Junior College Sunday afternoon at Volunteer Field.
Hancock and Fields combined for six strikeouts in facing just 15 batters in earning the 18-0 second game win behind the two home run performance of Kenzie Sawyer. The opening game saw WNCC connect for nine doubles and home runs from Hancock and Emily Selby for the 19-4 win.
The wins move the Cougars to 47-10 on the season. WNCC's game on Monday against North Platte Community College has been cancelled. Next up for the Cougars is the Region IX tournament on Sunday and Monday. WNCC earned the number one seed and will host the fourth seed in a 2-out-of-3 series with the winner facing the winner of the second and third seeds.
Hancock, who picked up both pitching wins, said the team played well on a day that the Hancock and her six other sophomore teammates were honored after the game.
"Today was a good team win. We played really well as a team," the sophomore from Utah said. "We strung hits together and we played really good defense and backed each other up."
A big key in the win is the Cougar's offense where one through nine picked up big hits. Hancock said the offense was impressive.
"That is the key that when someone gets a hit, another gets a hit and we string them together." She said. "That is how we are successful."
What better day for the Cougars to bust out offensively on sophomore recognition night. Hancock said while it was special, they still have the regional tournament at Volunteer Field and there is still plenty of business to finish.
"We are still going to play here [at Volunteer Field for regionals] so we have a long ways to go. We are going to work hard to get there," Hancock said. "It [last home regular season home game] is sad, but at the same time we try not to think about it. We are trying to stay emotionally strong because it is a hard thing to deal with, but we are definitely working to continue to play as long as we can. That's the goal."
WNCC definitely showed how strong of an offensive team they are. But they also flashed signs of a strong defensive team. WNCC combined for 37 runs, 30 hits, 15 doubles, and five home runs.
The first game has plenty of offense with Christian Bobian, Emily Selby, and Jasmine Wessel each picking up two doubles. WNCC had three doubles and four runs in the first inning and then four doubles and seven runs in the second for an 11-0 lead.
WNCC also collected two home runs. Hancock had a 2-run shot to rightfield in the third before Selby led off the fourth with a solo blast.
WNCC pounded out 14 hits. Bobian and Selby each had three hits to lead the team. Bobian had two doubles, three runs scored and a RBI. Selby had two doubles, a home run, five RBIs, and two runs scored.
Wessel and Hancock each had two hits. Wessel's two hits were both doubles with five RBIs and two runs scored, while Hancock had a double, home run, four RBIs, and two runs scored.
Hancock picked up the win going four innings with five strike outs and three hits. Payten Davies tossed the fifth surrendering two hits and three runs.
The second game was a 5-0 contest through three innings. It was the fourth inning that the Cougars put the game away, sending 17 batters to the plate in scoring the 13 runs on 10 hits. The big hits in the frame included a run-scoring double from Courtney Medina, a 3-run home run from Sawyer, a run-scoring double and a run-scoring single from Lauren Oxford, a 2-run single from Celyn Whitt, and a run-scoring single from Bobian.
WNCC finished the game with 16 hits, including six doubles and two home runs. Seven different players had two hits each. Sawyer led the way with her two home runs with six RBIs and three runs scored. Selby had a home run with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Also collecting two hits were Wessel with two doubles, a RBI and run scored; Bobian with three runs scored; Weber with a double, two RBIs, and three runs scored; Oxford with a double, three RBIs, and a run scored; and Whitt with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored.
NJC 000 13 – 4 5 3
WNCC 472 6x – 19 14 3
WP – Andy Hancock; 2B – Christian Bobian 2, Emily Selby 2, Jasmine Wessel 2, Andy Hancock, Haille Weber, Lauren Oxford; HR – Emily Selby, Andy Hancock.
NJC 000 00 – 0 0 0
WNCC 230 (13)x – 18 16 0
WP – Andy Hancock; 2B – Jasmine Wessel 2, Courtney Medina, Haille Weber, Celyn Whitt, Lauren Oxford; HR – Emily Selby, Kenzie Sawyer 2.