The Western Nebraska Community College softball team received clutching hitting and stellar defensive play in earning a doubleheader sweep over North Platte Community College on Wednesday at a gusty Volunteer Field.
In the opener, Emma McMillan tossed a 2-hitter and the Cougar offense erupted for 23 runs and 21 hits in registering the 23-0 win.
The second game saw the Cougars score in five of the six innings, including pounding out 11 hits in the 10-2 win.
Madi Jackson said the team played a lot better than Tuesday's split with McCook Community College.
"The team played well. We communicated better and we played more as a team," Jackson said.
On a day where the wind was blowing out, the Cougars only hit two home runs. Jackson said it is important to be able to play the wind and get those base hits.
"We always talk about how important it is for us to get base hits and to hit line drives. We did a good job of that today especially with the wind," she said. "It was important for us to keep the ball on the ground or hit line drives."
In the opening game, they did plenty of that. The Cougars finished with 21 hits, including seven doubles and two home runs.
Reagan Solomon led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 day with two doubles, a home run, four RBIs, and four runs scored.
Collecting three hits each were Jackson, Kelly, and Schaefer. Jackson had three singles with three RBIs, and two runs scored, while Kelly had a double with two RBIs and two runs scored. Schaefer also had a double with two RBIs and three runs scored.
McMillan, Brooke Doumer, and Gabby Loya each had two hits. McMillan had a home run with three RBIs and two runs scored from her lead-off spot, while Loya had a double, two RBIs, and a run scored. Doumer had two doubles with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Allison Parker also came up big at the plate with a single with two runs scored and a RBI.
WNCC never looked back in the opener, plating nine runs in the first inning on seven hits. The big hits included a run-scoring single by Michaela Kelly and a run-scoring double by Gabby Loya with just one outs. WNCC then plated seven runs with two outs, including a run-scoring single by Hannah Schaefer, a run-scoring double by Solomon, a 2-run double by Doumer, and a 2-run single by Jackson.
WNCC added four more in the second inning to go up 13-0. Solomon started things with a run-scoring double followed by McMillan lofting a 3-run home run.
The Cougars put the game away with 10 runs in the fourth. Solomon started things with a lead-off home run. WNCC added more clutch hits with Doumer ripping a run-scoring double for a 15-0 lead. Jackson followed with a run-scoring single followed by Kelly getting a run-scoring double.
WNCC kept finding the open spots in the field with Schaefer ripping a run-scoring double followed by Solomon collecting her fourth hit of the game with a run-scoring single. Allison Parker then got her first career hit with a run-scoring single. Annessa Escamilla then scored one with a fly ball and Rebecca Svoboda finished off the scoring with a run-scoring single.
McMillan picked up the win, going five innings in allowing just two hits, striking out six, and walking just one.
The second game was a little tighter with both teams knotted at 1-1 after the opening inning. WNCC added four runs in the third all with two outs. Loya got the scoring started with a 2-run single followed by run-scoring singles by Schaefer and Solomon.
North Platte added a single run in the fourth to make it 5-2, but WNCC added two in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two in the sixth for the final runs. WNCC went up 7-2 in the fourth on a Kelly 2-run single.
WNCC finished with 11 hits in the contest with just one extra base hit, a double by Jackson. Three players had two hits in Alyssa Guymon, Schaefer, and Solomon. Schaefer had two RBIs in the win while Guymon had two runs scored. Jackson, Kelly, and Loya all had one hit with two RBIs, while Doumer and Jackson added two runs.
Solomon picked up the win in the circle. Solomon went 3 1/3 innings in giving up four hits and two runs. McMillan finished the contest, tossing 2 2/3 innings in allowing just two hits.
WNCC will be back in action on Sunday when they travel to McCook Community College before heading to Northeastern Junior College on Wednesday.
Jackson said it is important to build off of these two games for the final six conference games.
"It's really important that we build off of these games," she said. "We played well and we need to continue playing together. We need to continue to play as a team and make sure that we play hard every inning. We have to keep our energy up and make sure that we all do our jobs to the best of our abilities."
North Platte 000 00 -- -0 2 5
WNCC 940 (10)x – 23 21 0
WP – Emma McMillan
North Platte 100 100 – 2 6 3
WNCC 104 212 – 10 11 5
WP – Reagan Solomon
2B – Madi Jackson