More long ball carries Cougars to a sweep at McCook

MCCOOK -- The Western Nebraska Community College softball team finished the day with seven doubles and six home runs in posting a conference doubleheader sweep over McCook Community College Friday afternoon in McCook.

Bianca Duran tossed a two-hitter and the Cougars had five players register multiple hits in rolling to the 9-1 win. In the second game, RaVae Herrera had a grand slam, Duran blasted two home runs and Kasey Cash tied the season home run record with her 19th of the season as WNCC exploded for a 15-4 win.

"We played really well today," Shelby McGraw, who had a second-game home run, said. "We came together as a whole and we had a lot of timely hits that we strung together. We run-ruled them in both games."

The offense definitely came alive and it was whoever stepped to the plate that came up with one or two big hits. McGraw said having that kind of offensive threat throughout the lineup is beneficial.

"It is really helpful because we always talk about that we are as strong as our weakest link and right know I don't think there is a weak link on the team," McGraw said. "We are solid one through nine in the whole lineup."

In the first game, WNCC belted five doubles and triple. The second game, the Cougars had two doubles and six home runs. McGraw said what makes these two conference wins sweet is that the team had plenty of RBIs.

"In the first game we started off really good with a lot of RBIs and a lot of hits and that is how we scored the first game," the freshman from Pueblo, Colo., said. "Then we had a lot of home runs in the second game. The hits were just timely in the games because we were up, let them back into it, and then came right back at them again and kept on hitting.

The second game was highlighted by the long ball that saw six home runs out of the total 11 hits. McGraw said Herrera's first-inning grand slam really picked the team up.

"It really picked us up and gave us more energy to keep going and keep putting up more runs," she said. "Then [on Cash's tying home run] we are excited for her and we knew it was the tying one. We are hoping tomorrow [Saturday] or Monday [away against NJC] she gets the season record."

The home run parade continued in the first as McCook walked the bases loaded and then Herrera delivered the grand slam over the centerfield fence for the 5-0 lead.

Cottle came through with a third inning home run to make it 6-2. After McCook sliced the lead in half at 6-3, WNCC put the game away, scoring a single run in the fifth off of Duran's second home run of the game, before plating eight runs in the sixth.

Shelby McGraw got the sixth started with a solo home. After that, the hitting attack hit full throttle as Herrera doubled, Kayla Romey singled. After Duran walked on four pitches, Cash delivered the season-tying home run, a 2-run shot over left field.

WNCC added two more hits in the inning as Cottle doubled followed by a run-scoring single by McGraw.

The Cougars had four players finish with multiple hits. Herrera paced the team with a 2-for-4 game with two runs scored, four RBIs, a double and a home run. Also collecting two hits were Duran with two home runs, two RBIs, and three runs scored; Cottle with a double, home run, three runs scored, and two RBIs; and McGraw with home run, a single, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Herrera picked up the win in the circle, going six innings, scattering six hits, four runs, and striking out five.

WNCC's offensive attack started in the first game as the 17th-ranked Cougars belted 14 hits, including five doubles and a triple. Five players finished with multiple hits, including the bottom four in the lineup collecting seven hits.

Duran paced the team with a 3-for-4 game from her lead-off spot. Duran finished with two doubles, two runs scored, and a RBI.

Cash, McGraw, Herrera, and Danielle Hearn each finished with two hits apiece. Cash was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI; McGraw was 2-for-4 with two singles a run scored and RBI; Herrera was 2-for-4 with two runs scored; and Hearn was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and RBI.

Hailee Mecham also came up big in the game with a 3-run triple.

Duran was sparkling in the circle in the opener. The right hander from Westminster, Colo., went six innings, allowing just two hits one run and striking out five in just facing 21 batters.

WNCC wasted little time in opening up the game, scoring six times in the second inning. McGraw started the offense with a single followed by singles by Herrera and Hearn to load the bases. Mecham then tripled to centerfield for teh quick 3-0 lead.

WNCC kept the offensive accelerator going as Duran and Cash had back-to-back run-scoring doubles. Cottle followed with a run-scoring double for the 6-0 lead. WNCC put the game away with a single run in the fifth and two in the sixth to run-rule the Indians.

WNCC, 38-7, will get back to action today when they compete in the Colby tournament where they will face Seward County Community College at 11 a.m., Barton Community College at 1 p.m., and then No. 1 ranked Butler Community College at 5 p.m.

"We just have to limit mistakes [Saturday], play smart like we know how, and play like a team," McGraw said. "I think we can be successful if we do that."

First Game

WNCC 060 012 -- 9 14 0

McCook 010 000 -- 1 2 0

WP -- Bianca Duran; 2B -- Duran 2, Kasey Cash, Jennifer Cottle, Danielle Hearn; 3B -- Hailee Mecham.

Second Game

WNCC 501 018 -- 15 11 0

McCook 021 001 -- 4 6 1

WP -- RaVie Herrera; 2B -- Herrera, Jennifer Cottle; HR -- Duran 2, Herrera, Cottle, Cash, Shelby McGraw.

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