HIGHLAND – In the midst of playing eight of their final 10 games of the regular season on the road, the Cloud County Community College softball team would run into a red-hot No. 8-ranked Highland Community College to drop an 8-0, six-inning and 11-4 decision at Scottie Park in Highland on Saturday.
With just six games remaining in the regular-season, Cloud County is now 7-23 overall and 2-22 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Scotties have now won 11 straight to improve to 36-6 overall and 21-3 in the KJCCC.
Held to just one hit through the first three innings of play, Cloud County would fall into an early hole as Highland would use a walk, single, bunt single, and error to push across two runs and have the bases loaded with no outs. A much-needed unassisted double play would put two outs on the board and erase one of the base runners as a strikeout would then end the inning without any more damage.
A single run from HCC in the bottom of the second would make it 3-0 Highland as Cloud County would manage to keep the Scotties off the board in the third. CCCC would then get a one-out single from Shayna Fila in the top of the fourth before seeing the inning end on a 6-3 double play which would allow the Highland to get back up to bat where the Scotties would get a leadoff home run to make it 4-0 heading to the fifth.
Another solo home run in the bottom of the fifth would allow HCC to go up 5-0 as the game would end an inning later with the Scotties getting three runs across to put the eight-run rule into effect.
Cloud County's two hits would come from the top two batters in the lineup (Kayla Lee, Fila) as a total of four base runners is all that CCCC would be able to produce. Highland would have six of their 12 hits go for extra-bases including four doubles.
A much stronger start to the game would be had by CCCC in game two as Lee would record a leadoff single before a one-out, two-run home run from Taylor Glause would give the T-Birds an early 2-0 lead on the Scotties. The defense would then step up in the bottom of the first as a groundout and inning-ending double-play would erase a leadoff double by HCC as the 2-0 lead would hold after an inning of play.
Neither team would have much working for them in the second, leaving things a two-run advantage for the T-Birds heading to the third where Cloud County would use a leadoff walk by lee followed by a Fila double to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Glause would then drive in her third run of the game on a single before getting a Rae Ann Hartwig RBI groundout later in the inning to make it 4-0 CCCC heading to the bottom of the third.
Holding the Scottie offense in check would come to an end in the bottom of the third as three-straight one-out singles would load the bases for three-hole hitter Kerstyn Finch who would drive two runs in with a double before a bunt single would bring home another run to make it 4-3. The lead would then shift over to Highland on a bases-clearing triple with two more runs coming across to make it a five-run inning on six hits with eight batters coming to the plate.
The two teams would then be held to just two hits total throughout the next two innings of action as the game would remain a 5-4 Highland lead heading to the sixth where CCCC would threaten to pull even. A leadoff single from Taylor Burks would then be moved over to third on consecutive groundouts to put the game-tying run just 60 feet away before a strikeout would strand the runner and end the inning.
Things would then become all Scotties in the bottom half of the inning as Highland would get a leadoff solo home run and take advantage of two T-Bird errors that would allow six runs to come home which included a three-run homer later in the inning to make it an 11-4 contest. One final push from Cloud County would put three base runners on courtesy of three walks issued by HCC, but the Scotties would manage to end the game with a pop up to shortstop without any runs coming home in the inning.
Six of CCCC's seven hits in the game would come from the top four batters in the T-Bird lineup as Fila and Glause would each record a pair of hits. Three of Cloud County's four runs would be driven in by Glause, with the remaining run being brought in by Hartwig as Cloud County would also draw five walks but strand a total of eight runners.
Cloud County will kick off this week's action on the road on Monday with a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader against Allen County Community College down in Iola. The game was originally scheduled to be played in March but was postponed and will be played in what is slated to be the only meetings of the year between the T-Birds and Red Devils.