Record breaking Cougars add two more wins

SALINA, Kan. -- The 18th-ranked Western Nebraska Community College softball broke two more records in earning wins over Kansas Wesleyan junior varsity and Friends junior varsity on Sunday at Salina, Kan.

The Cougars belted four home runs in game two to break the season team home run record in registering a 10-0 win over Friends. The previous best was 77 homers set in 2011. The Cougars received home runs from Kasey Cash, Bianca Duran, Jennifer Cottle, and RaVae Herrera in the game to give the team 80 home runs for the season.

Game one saw Duran capture another career record. The sophomore from Westminster, Colo., scattered six hits in picking up her 29th win of the season in a 7-3 win over Kansas Wesleyan. Bianca broke the career pitching win record which was 53 held by Kelsey Garner. Duran now has 54 wins in her career and this season she is 29-1, just four wins from breaking the season win record set by Garner in 2008.

WNCC coach Maria Winn-Ratliff said it is always big when you can go on the road and pick up four wins.

"We didn't Play as well as we have been but it's always nice to go on the road and pick up four wins," she said. "It has been nice due to a couple key injuries we have made some major changes in our lineup and the ladies have responded."

Winn-Ratliff said the entire team is producing offensively and that is nice, especially after setting the season home run record on Sunday.

"Right now our one and two hole hitters have over 40 home runs on the year," she said. "We have been getting a lot of offensive production from everyone in the line up so that's always helpful. Lindsey [Shiels-Brophy] came through with a huge pinch hit home run for us on Saturday to get us back in the game."

Winn-Ratliff said they need to continue get good pitching performances from the three pitchers as they near the end of the season.

"We just have to continue to get great pitching from Bianca, who had a huge win today [Sunday] to break the career wins record with 54, and RaVae and Shelby as well. We need to play consistent defense and get timely hitting and good things are going to happen."

Both wins were definitely team victories as different individuals stepped up. In game two, the Cougars pounded out 12 hits with the four home runs and one double. Duran led the way with a 4-for-4 game including a double, home run, three RBIs, and two runs scored.

Also finishing with two hits each were Mariah Shepherd with two singles, and Herrera with a 3-for-3 game with a home run, two RBIs, and two runs scored.

Herrera and Shelby McGraw combined on a five-hit shutout. Herrera picked up the win, going four innings in scattering seven hits and striking out one. McGraw finished off the game by just facing four batters in her one inning in the circle.

WNCC built an early lead, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings. Duran started the scoring right off the bat with a lead-off home run. Then, after Cash walked, Cottle belted a 2-run shot for a 3-0 lead.

WNCC added two more runs in the second on three singles, including Duran getting a 2-run single for a 5-0 lead.

The Cougars put the game away in the third by plating five runs on four hits. Lindsey Shiels-Brophy started things with a single and scored on a Herrera home run to leftfield. Danielle Hearn then walked followed by a double by Duran. Cash then delivered a 3-run shot for the 10-0 lead.

The first game took the Cougars a little while to get going, but they got the offense cranked up in the fifth with three runs and then another four in the seventh. The Cougars finished the game with 11 hits, including three doubles from the bats of Cash, Shepherd, and McGraw.

Shepherd, Hearn, McGraw, and Duran led the offensive attack with two hits each. Shepherd finished with a double and three RBIs.

All the runs in the fifth came with two outs. Melanie Rowson scored the first run off a Duran single. Then, after a Cash double and a Cottle walk, Shepherd came through with a 2-run single for the 3-0 lead.

WNCC added four more runs in the seventh on four hits. The big hits in the inning included back-to-back doubles by Shepherd and McGraw. Shepherd two-bagger scored Cash, and McGraw shot scored Cottle and Shepherd. Hearn also came up with a big hit, scoring McGraw and Madison Spencer on a single for a 7-0 lead.

Duran picked up the win in the circle, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs. Duran also struck out three and walked two while delivering just 89 pitches in seven innings.

WNCC, 44-8, will next be in action Wednesday when they travel to Sterling, Colo., to face Northeastern Junior College in a doubleheader. The Cougars will then return home for a 3-day weekend stand, hosting North Platte on Friday and Garden City Community College on Saturday and Sunday.

First Game

WNCC 000 030 4 -- 7 11 1

Kansas Wesleyan 000 000 3 -- 3 7 1

WP -- Bianca Duran; 2B -- Kasey Cash, Mariah Shepherd, Shelby McGraw.

Second Game

WNCC 325 00 -- 10 11 2

Friends 000 00 -- 0 7 1

WP -- RaVae Herrera; 2B -- Duran; HR -- Duran, Cash, Jennifer Cottle, Lindsey Shiels-Brophy.

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