Cloud County Softball Drops Sunday Pair to Iowa Lakes

Ryleigh Jones Had Two Hits, Scored Three Times, and Stole Two Bases in Game Two of a Doubleheader Against Iowa Lakes on Sunday, March 5th
Ryleigh Jones Had Two Hits, Scored Three Times, and Stole Two Bases in Game Two of a Doubleheader Against Iowa Lakes on Sunday, March 5th

Closing out a week that featured four home games with a Sunday morning doubleheader, the Cloud County Community College softball team would be unable to pick up a win by falling to Iowa Lakes Community College by scores of 6-0 and 6-5 at the CCCC Softball Field on March 5th.

Facing the Lakers for the first time since 2020, the T-Birds fall to 3-7 overall on the year while ILCC remains perfect while capping off a season-opening weekend trip that saw three doubleheader sweeps to post a 6-0 record following Sunday's action.

Game One:
Runs would be scored in just two innings throughout the game with Iowa Lakes accounting for all six runs and six of the seven hits that would occur in the contest. After seeing just one hit total throughout the first two innings of the game, ILCC would take advantage of two T-Bird errors along with a walk to produce a three-run inning with two runs coming on a two-RBI double. CCCC would escape the inning after allowing the three runs (two unearned) by stranding two Laker runners but would be unable to find any offense as ILCC would be in control after breaking the scoreless deadlock.

Things would remain a 3-0 Iowa Lakes lead throughout the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings as the two teams would only be able to muster one baserunner throughout the stretch with both starting pitchers settling in to combine to retire six straight batters and 12-straight batters between a fifth-inning single. Another crooked number would be put up by ILCC in the top of the seventh as a one-out solo home run would provide an insurance run for Iowa Lakes before seeing Cloud County errors on back-to-back plays allow another run to score before an RBI groundout to cap off their second three-run inning of the game. Held without a baserunner through six innings of play, CCCC would avoid having a perfect game thrown against them by getting an Emily Kvasnicka two-out single in the bottom of the seventh before seeing a flyout end the game one batter later.

Both teams would provide strong pitching throughout as four of the six runs scored in the contest would be unearned due to four Cloud County errors. Just five total base runners would be stranded as the two teams would only be able to send 11 batters over the game minimum to the plate with the top two players in the Iowa Lakes lineup accounting for four of the seven hits in the game. In the circle for Cloud County, Jayden Rehlander would go the distance and allow six hits while striking out two batters while inducing 18 groundouts and one flyout despite taking the loss. Iowa Lakes would see starter Mackenna Jones strike out the first seven batters of the game and 11 of the first 12 T-Bird batters to rack up 16 total strikeouts while allowing just the lone two-out hit for a complete game shutout.

Game Two:
Errors would be the biggest issue for the T-Birds in the backend of the twin bill as another three defensive miscues would prove costly in a game that would be decided by a single run. After playing another two scoreless innings to start the game, a scoring explosion would occur in the third as a two-out rally for the Lakers would start on a walk and hit-by-pitch before seeing a muffed throw on a potential inning-ending groundout allow for a run to score and move a second runner to third as a wild pitch would bring home a second ILCC run to stake Iowa Lakes to a 2-0 lead.

Finally starting to come alive on the offensive side of things, Cloud County would respond by using a Ryleigh Jones leadoff walk and two stolen bases to set up an RBI single from Kaitlynn Baca before getting a Kvasnicka single to put two runners on with no outs in the inning. Keeping the rally going, McKenna Mayhew driving home Baca on an RBI single before advancing another 60 feet on a throwing error by the Lakers. One final run for CCCC would come home in the next at-bat courtesy of a Hannah Hotalen sacrifice fly that would knock Iowa Lakes starting pitcher Jayda Staige from the contest to cap off a three-run, three-hit inning to take their first lead of the day.

Responding with two hits in the top of the fourth to score a game-tying run on an RBI double, Iowa Lakes would bring things even for all of half an inning as Jones would come back around to the plate in the bottom of the fourth and launch her third home run of the year to once again give the T-Birds a one-run lead at 4-3. Following a scoreless fifth, Iowa Lakes would get back out in front in the top of the sixth as a leadoff single and one-out RBI double would tie the game at 4-4 before a two-run home would put ILCC up 6-4 to match the largest lead of the game for either team.

Looking to respond offensively, Cloud County would use a Jones double and Kvasnicka two-out RBI double to pull back within one at 6-5 as the Lakers would turn to their third pitcher of the game by bringing in their game one starter to try and close out the game. CCCC would strand a potential game-tying runner at second as a strikeout would end the inning with Kvasnicka on second to send things to the seventh and facing a one-run deficit.

Working around a one-out single and fielding error that would put two runners on base with one out by getting a groundout and strikeout to keep things at a one-run game with the middle portion of the lineup due up. Following two quick outs to put CCCC down to their final out, the T-Birds would attempt to make things interesting as Rehlander would extend the game with a single back up the middle before seeing Zoie Kincade draw a walk to put the game-tying run in scoring position and game-winning run on base. The rally would end there for Cloud County, however, as a strikeout would ultimately prove to end the contest with the Lakers escaping to sweep the day.

Outhitting ILCC 9-8, CCCC would see seven of their nine hits come from the top five players in the lineup with Jones and Kvasnicka each recording two hits. Each of the top five players in the lineup would all drive in one run each while accounting for the five runs scored by the T-Birds along with Cloud County's three stolen bases and one hit batter. In the circle, Taylor Dekok would get the start and take a no-decision after a four-inning outing that would see four hits lead to three runs (one earned) while striking out two before turning things to Kiera Brack who would take the loss following a 1.1 inning outing that saw three runs scored on three hits. Lynsey Stewart would also see time at pitcher in the game, throwing a scoreless final 1.2 innings and allowing just one hit while striking out two.

What's Next?
Cloud County will look to bounce back with two more home games as part of a mid-week doubleheader against Metropolitan Community College beginning at 2 PM on Wednesday, March 8th. The Timberwolves will play a road doubleheader at North Central Missouri College on Monday, March 6th prior to traveling to Concordia for Wednesday's doubleheader and currently hold a 1-5 record through six games.