KEARNEY, Neb. -- The McCook High School girls softball team split a double-header at Kearney Thursday, Sept. 27, in a final tune-up for the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference tournament.
The Bison girls lost a 11-7 decision in the opening game Thursday in Kearney, as both teams combined for 26 hits. McCook came back in the nightcap to blank the Bearcats, 5-0.
In the opening game, McCook took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the third inning on an RBI single by Marisa Esch and a ground ball fielder's choice by Rachel Leitner. Kearney answered with three runs in the bottom of the third
McCook came back with two runs in the top of the fourth to lead 4-3. Sam Kalinski walked, Megan Ruppert doubled, then Brittany Broomfield and Maddie Elder each hit sacrifice flies to score Kalinski and Ruppert. Kearney used three singles, two walks and a fielder's choice to plate four runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 7-4 lead.
The Bison got a run back in the top of the fifth when Esch walked, advanced to third on a sacrifice and ground out and scored on a Kearney error. The Bearcats solidified their lead with four more runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks in part to a three-run homer.
McCook tried to rally in the final at-bat. The Bison got consecutive singles by Kylie Allen, Kalinski and Ruppert to score a run. Kearney recorded two straight outs on infield grounders, then Maddie Chitwood delivered a double to center field to knock in Brittany Broomfield. Kearney got the final out on a fly ball to end McCook's threat.
Chitwood paced the Bison with four hits, while Ruppert and Kalinski had two hits each. Kearney out-hit McCook 14-12.
Elder pitched three innings for McCook, allowing 8 hits and 6 runs with 4 walks and 1 strikeout. Alli Sheets worked the final three innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts.
COURTNEY BRADLEY pitched a gem for the Bison in the second game. Bradley tossed a four-hit shutout with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts.
McCook scored singles runs in each of the second and third frames. Alaini Priebe delivered an RBI single in the second, while Rachel Leitner singled to knock in a run in the third. The Bison added three more runs in the top of the fifth on two Kearney errors, a walk and singles by Priebe and Ruppert.
McCook had 10 hits, with Maddie Elder, Leitner and Priebe collecting two hits each.
The double-header split evened McCook's season record at 14-14.
THE BISON are seeded second in the GNAC Tournament on tap Saturday, Sept. 29 at Scottsbluff. McCook will face seventh seed Hastings Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT at Scottsbluff High School in first-round GNAC tourney action.