Cougars win two more in Sterling
STERLING, Colo. -- Jennifer Cottle had two home runs and the 19th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College softball team earned to shut-out wins over Northeastern Junior College 8-0 and 10-0 in conference action Wednesday in Sterling, Colo.
The wins gives the Cougars the our right conference title with an 18-2 record and the No. 1 seed in next week's Region IX tournament. More importantly, the Cougars are now 46-8 on the season as they enter a 3-day home stand beginning Friday at Volunteer Field to close out the regular season.
WNCC coach Maria Winn-Ratliff said the three pitchers performed well.
"To go on the road and only give up four hits and get two shutouts on the day is huge for our staff," she said. "Bianca, RaVae and Shelby all threw very well for us today."
What was even pleasing to the coach was how the team hit in windy conditions. WNCC combined for 27 hits in the two games.
"To be able to put up 18 runs on board with the windy conditions blowing in was a success for us," she said. "We hit a lot of line drives and didn't leave a lot of runners on base. We just want to continue to play consistent softball both offensively and defensively."
In the opener, Cottle came within a single of hitting for the cycle as Bianca Duran picked up her 30th win from the pitching circle in the 8-0 win.
The Cougars dominated play in the opening game, finishing with 15 hits to the Plainswomen's three hits. Five different Cougars finished with multiple hits, including three hits each from Cottle, Kasey Cash, and Danielle Hearn.
Cottle had the hot bat, nearly getting a cycle. The freshman from Lehl, Utah, had a run-scoring triple in the first inning, a double in the fourth inning, and a 2-run home run in the sixth inning. Cottle also scored two runs and had three RBis.
Cash finished with two singles and a double, while scoring two runs and a RBI> Hearn had three singles. Cash's double came in the sixth, while McGraw had the only other extra base hit, getting a third-inning, run-scoring triple in the third inning.
Mariah Shepherd and Kayla Romey also finished with two hits each. Shepherd scored two runs, had a RBI, and had two stole bases; while Romey had a run scored and a stolen base.
Duran continued her dominating season with a three-hitter that saw the right-hander face just 21 batters in six innings, while striking out six.
The second game was even more dominating, both offensively and from the circle. RaVae Herrera and McGraw combined on a five-inning, one-hitter that saw the two pitchers strike out four and face just 18 batters.
WNCC finished with 12 hits, including five extra base hits. Cash led the way with a 3-for-4 game with two runs scored, two RBIs, a stolen base, and a double. Cottle, Hearn, and Haley Paxton each finished with two hits.
Cottle went 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored, and four RBIs. She belted a 3-run home run in the fourth inning, and had a 2-run double in the first.
Paxton finished with a double, and Duran had the other extra base hit, a solo home run in the fifth. Cash came through with a 2-run double in the second, Paxton had a double in the Fourth.
WNCC will be in action Friday when they host North Platte at 1 p.m. in a doubleheader. They will then have dorm parent day on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Garden City Community College. The Cougars will wrap up the regular season on Sunday in sophomore day at 11 a.m. against Garden City.
WNCC 302 003 -- 8 15 0
NE Colorado 000 000 -- 0 3 0
WP -- Bianca Duran; 2B -- Kasey Cash, Jennifer Cottle; 3B -- Cottle, Shelby McGraw; HR -- Cottle.
WNCC 321 31 -- 10 12 2
NE Colorado 000 00 -- 0 1 0
WP -- RaVae Herrera; 2B -- Cash, Cottle, Haley Paxton; HR -- Cottle, Duran.
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