Cloud County Softball Drops Two Games at Home to Metropolitan Community College

Cloud County's McKenna Mayhew Had Four Hits on Wednesday, March 8th, with Three Going for Extra-Bases
Cloud County's McKenna Mayhew Had Four Hits on Wednesday, March 8th, with Three Going for Extra-Bases

Late rallies in both games of a doubleheader would prove to be the difference between host Cloud County and visiting Metropolitan Community College as the T-Birds would allow a seventh-inning rally as part of an 8-5 game one defeat before having a rally of their own in the bottom of the seventh of game two come up short in a 4-3 loss to drop both games of a doubleheader at the CCCC Softball Field in Concordia, Kansas on Wednesday, March 8th.

The losses leave Cloud County with a 3-9 overall record on the year while the Wolves improve their overall record 4-6 overall with all 10 games coming away from home.

With 13 total runs scored in the game, the final score would not be indicative of what was seen through three-plus innings as nine of the 13 runs would come between the bottom of the sixth inning and top of the seventh inning as both teams would see their offenses come alive late in the contest. After seeing both teams strand a leadoff runner in the first inning, both the T-Birds and Wolves would send the minimum number of batters to the plate in the second as just one hit would be found through two innings of play. MCC would see their second base runner of the game in the top of the third on a leadoff walk but once again come up empty-handed before working around a two-out single for CCCC in the bottom of the third to keep things scoreless.

A one-out single by Metropolitan would lead to a two-run home run to break the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth as Cloud County would surrender three total hits in the inning before escaping any further damage by stranding runners at first and second. The T-Birds once again would see a base hit coming in the form of a McKenna Mayhew double not lead to anything further offensively as timely hits would not be found by CCCC through the first four innings. With momentum beginning to favor the Wolves, MCC would turn two walks into a pair of runs as back-to-back base hit singles would bring home two runners to put Metropolitan up 4-0. Still facing a jam with runners on first and second with one out, Cloud County would force a fielder's choice to cut down the lead runner before allowing another single that would load the bases but ultimately get a strikeout to end the inning with all three runners stranded.

Offense would still be lacking for CCCC in the bottom of the fifth as Cloud County would be retired in order with two flyouts and a groundout but be able to retire Metropolitan in order in the sixth to keep things at just a four-run deficit. With the top of the order due up for the T-Birds, sophomore Ryleigh Jones would lead things off with a stand up double before seeing Kaitlynn Baca follow suit with a double to nearly the exact same spot in left-center field to drive home CCCC's first run of the game. After an Emily Kvasnicka walk, Hannah Hotalen would bring home Cloud County's second run of the game two batters later with an RBI single back up the middle with the T-Birds finally able to string hits together. A pinch-hit walk for Taryn McKinney would load the bases for Jayden Rehlander who would deliver with CCCC's third double of the inning to drive home all three base runners to give Cloud County the lead at 5-4. Metropolitan would be able to escape without any further damage, however, striking out the final two batters of the inning to keep things at a one-run deficit.

In the seventh, the Wolves would quickly see two outs recorded with a groundout and flyout before managing to extend the game with a single before tying the game on an RBI double. Following an infield single to put runners at first and third, MCC would string together three-straight base hits to bring home three more runs and take an 8-5 lead before a fielder's choice to end the inning with the damage already done on six hits. With the T-Birds now in a similar position to what Metropolitan faced in the top of the inning, Cloud County would not be as fortunate as two strikeouts and an infield popup would end the game and allow MCC to earn the come-from-behind victory.

Outhit in the contest 13-7, Cloud County would be led by two-hit games from Jones and Hotalen while Rehlander would drive in a team-high three runs on her lone hit of the game. Jones would also steal the only two bases of the contest as eight strikeouts would loom large for CCCC while drawing just two walks.

A much different story would be seen in game two as it would be an early lead for the T-Birds after an inning of play with CCCC being able to put together a three-hit bottom of the first with doubles from both Jones and Mayhew to bring in a run before a Hotalen double that would land just inside the right-field foul line to bring home Mayhew and put Cloud County up 2-0. Responding with a three-hit top of the second, Metropolitan would manage to tie things back up in the next at-bat with both runs coming home on an inning-ending single through the left side of the infield that would be attempted to be turned into a double by the Wolves.

CCCC would be held scoreless in the bottom of the second before seeing MCC get a leadoff single and two wild pitches to bring home their third run of the game on a two-out RBI single that would put the T-Birds in a 3-2 hole. The lead for Metropolitan would grow again in the top of the fourth as a leadoff hit batter would come around to score on an RBI groundout three batters later before retiring Cloud County in order to end the inning defensively. Scoreless fifth and sixth innings would keep the game at a 4-2 MCC lead heading into the seventh as the T-Birds would see a stretch of 11 straight batters retired in order as offense would suddenly go cold.

Managing to keep the deficit at two in the top of the seventh by working around a leadoff infield single, CCCC would see their final opportunity at the plate begin with a fielding error to allow their leadoff batter to reach base before taking advantage of a wild pitch to put a runner in scoring position. A groundout and infield popout would then put Cloud County down to their final out of the game before seeing Mayhew come through with a clutch RBI single to score Jones and put the game-tying run on base. Unfortunately for CCCC, the game would end just one batter later as a flyout to left field just in front of the warning track would see the potential rally that was started by the T-Birds end up one run short.

Outside of a three-for-four performance from Mayhew and a two-hit game from Hotalen, Cloud County would see the rest of their lineup combine for just three hits and three walks as CCCC would strand seven base runners in the game. On the flip side, Metropolitan would be more efficient offensively despite being held to just eight hits as four baserunners for MCC would wind up left on base with the three extra stranded runners by CCCC proving to be the difference in the contest.

Splitting time of the mound would be McKinney (0-2) who would get the start in the circle and throw four innings while allowing four runs (three earned) and recording one strikeout while Taylor Dekok would come on in relief to throw the final three innings and allow just two hits to the 11 batters that she faced. The two would combine to induce 12 flyouts and six groundouts in addition to the two strikeouts that would be recorded.

What's Next?
An eight-game homestand comes to a close on Sunday, March 12th for Cloud County when the T-Birds host Northeast Community College for a 1 PM doubleheader. The games will be the final home games for CCCC until March 30th as Cloud County is scheduled to play the ensuing 12 games on their schedule away from home.