Cash carries Cougars to a sweep of NJC
Kasey Cash hit her first-ever cycle and the No. 15-ranked Western Nebraska Community College softball team had totaled 31 hits in sweeping a conference doubleheader from Northeastern Junior College Wednesday afternoon at Volunteer Field.
Cash had a single, two doubles, triple, a home run, four runs scored and five RBIs in the second game that saw the Cougars pull out a 15-11. In the opening game, the Cougars scored six, sixth-inning runs to prevail 6-2.
Cash finished the two games with a 7 for 9 performance, including five runs scored and six RBIs. Cash also picked up her 14th and 15th home runs of the season, which ties her for third in the nation. Morgan Colburn of Odessa College leads the nation with 22 home runs followed by Jassmin Arrant of Howard Colleg with 20.
Cash said it felt good to hit for the cycle, but her main goal was to just get a base hit.
"I had just came into the dugout after I just hit a single and I said all I need is a home run to get my cycle," she said. "But I couldn't go with the mindset at the plate like that. I pulled through and finished the cycle."
The Cougars offensive explosion, however, was definitely needed in how the Cougars struggled in holding the Plainswomen from scoring runs. WNCC had to battle hard in both games to get the wins against a NJC team that is 2-13 overall and 1-5 in conference play.
"At the beginning of both games, I think we struggled a little bit especially the beginning of the first one," Cash said. "We were kind of shaky but then we pulled it together and brought it together as a team and pulled out two wins."
The second game, where the Cougars pounded out 19 hits and scored 15 runs, was a fight from behind. NJC had a 3-1 lead after one inning and a 5-3 lead after two innings. And a big key to the Cougars not scoring runs was leaving the bases loaded twice -- in the first inning and then once again in the sixth inning.
The third inning was the difference in the contest for the Cougars as they scored six times on seven hits. The Cougars started things with singles by Shelby McGraw, Lindsey Shiels=Brophy, Haley Paxton and Cash. Jennifer Cottle then unloaded the bases with a triple to put WNCC up 9-5.
The Cougars added three more runs in the fourth and sixth inning. Danielle Hearn started teh inning by reaching on an error followed by Bianca Duran single. Cash then took the second pitch and placed it firmly beyond the right centerfield fence for a 3-run home run, her 15th of the season.
Cash wasn't through delivering extra base hits. The 5-foot-6 infielder from Wellington, Colo., had a double in the first and a run-scoring triple in the second. She added a second double in the sixth with a lead-off two-bagger. WNCC followed suit with three runs to go up 15-8.
Besides Cash's five-hit contest, Cottle went 4-for-5 with four RBIs. McGraw and Paxton were the only other players to collect more than one hit as each had two singles.
Ravae Herrera picked up the win in going seven innings in allowing 11 runs on 11 hits. Herrera struck out five and walked eight.
In the opener, Duran struck out four and scattered five hits while allowing two runs in leading the Cougars' defensively to the win.
Offensively, the Cougars managed just 12 hits, including big hits from Shiels-Brophy, Hearn, and Paxton in the sixth inning.
But, before the sixth, the Cougars were baffled from NJC starting pitcher Margo Beaumont, who had a shutout through five innings with the Plainswomen leading 1-0.
Cash changed the complexion of the game in the sixth as she took the first pitch and drove it over the right center-field fence to knot the score. After that, WNCC kept the pressure on. Shiels-Brophy had a huge hit, a one-out single that scored two runs to put the Cougars up. Hearn and Paxton then delivered back-to-back doubles. Paxton's scored two runs for the 6-1 lead.
NJC managed just one run in the seventh off a lead-off home run by Jessica Hood.
Hearn led the team with a 3-for-3 game, including a double, run scored and RBI. Cash, Paxton, and Angel Council each had two hits. Paxton was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Cash had a home run.
WNCC, 26-7, will be back in action Friday when they host Lamar Community College in a conference doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at Volunteer Field. Cash said they have to be ready at the start to pick up two wins against Lamar.
" We definitely will did to have a solid defense and a solid offense to beat Lamar," she said. "They will come out ready to beat us so I think we will want to come out stronger than they will and get two more wins. It has to start in the first inning."
NJC 010 000 1 -- 2 5 0
WNCC 000 006 x -- 6 12 0
WP -- Bianca Duran; 2B -- Danielle Hearn, Haley Paxton; HR -- Kasey Cash.
NJC (2-13) 320 003 3 -- 11 11 3
WNCC (26-7) 126 303 x -- 15 19 2
WP -- Ravae Herrera; 2B -- Cash; 3B -- Cash, Jennifer Cottle; HR -- Cash.
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