Two exciting softball wins for MCC
The McCook Community College women's softball team has struggled early this season putting notches in the win column.
But two exciting finishes and two wins against MCC's rival Tuesday, March 19, at the Jaycees Sports Complex could serve as a boost for the Lady Indians.
McCook doubled its season win total with 3-2 and 9-8 (8 innings) victories over North Platte Community College. In both games, the hosts scored the winning run in their final at-bats.
"They're tough, they are a lot better than, I guess, they played today," said MCC head coach Ben Greer about North Platte. "They struggled a little bit defensive. They fought tooth and nail to scrap and claw their way back into it. We really have to hand it to them, but it's really nice to pick up a couple wins against a coach I really respect."
In the opening game, McCook trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. North Platte scored both runs in the top of the seventh against MCC starting pitcher Kelsey Gillen, former McCook High School softball standout.
In MCC's final at-bat, Shelby Vasquez led off with a walk, then she scored on a double by Shelby Baertsch. Gillen tripled to score Baertsch with the tying run. With McCook HIgh School graduate Taylor Matson at the plate, Gillen raced home on a passed ball for the winning run.
McCOOK took control early in the second game, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first on consecutive singles by Vasquez, Baertsch and Gillen and a double by Ashlee Adams. MCC added another run in the second.
North Platte cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth, but McCook answered with a single run in the bottom of the frame to lead 5-3.
The Lady Indians added a pair of runs, but North Platte came back with three runs in the top of the six to cut the MCC lead to 7-6. McCook scored another run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Tiffany Dempsey.
Three McCook errors in the top of the seventh helped North Platte score a pair of runs to knot the score at 8-8 and force extra innings.
Gillen relieved Dempsey on the mound, and the former Bison kept the Lady Knights off the scoreboard in the top of the eighth. McCook started the bottom of the inning with a runner on second, and bunt by Matson advanced Gillen to third. Adams hit a grounder, but a North Platte error allowed Gillen to score the winning run.
McCook belted 18 hits in the second game, led by Baertsch and Skye Buechner with three hits each.
THE LADY INDIANS upped their season record to 4-16. Coach Greer hopes his squad can pick up a little momentum with the double-header sweep.
"Lately we've been talking a lot about why we play the game, what we want to accomplish and why are we doing it," Greer said. "Because if you don't have a why for what you're doing, you're not going to perform as well as you can. If you know why you're doing it, you're going to be a lot more successful.
"I think that has really shown in the last few games. We have a why, we have a reason why we're doing it now. You can see that the intensity level has stepped up from earlier in the year, which is nice to see."
The McCook women have moved a double-header with Otero Junior College of LaJunta, Colo. from Saturday, March 23, to Thursday, March 21, at the Jaycees Sports Complex. First game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
MCC is also scheduled to host Trinidad State (Colo.) Junior College in a doubleheader Friday, March 22 at the Jaycees Sports Complex. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m., but an unfavorable weather forecast may alter the weekend schedule.