Emma McMillan delivered a 3-run triple in the seventh inning of game two in helping the Western Nebraska Community College softball team score six times in the final inning to earn a split over McCook Community College in Region IX conference play Wednesday 10-9.
McCook captured the first game with a 7-run second inning in registering the 12-7 win.
McMillan said the seventh inning come-from-behind win was exciting and it was definitely a team win, an excited McMillan felt after the game.
“It was definitely an exciting game with so many runs scored in the seventh to put us in the lead,” the freshman pitcher from Canada said. “It was completely a team effort to rally at the plate and support each other. Everyone was feeling anxious going into the last inning as we needed to score six runs in order to win the game, but we all believed in each other’s ability to get the job done.
“In the seventh, Michaela Kelly had a two-shot homer, along with a double from Hannah Schaefer, and a quite a few singles and walks. This allowed us to be down by three with bases loaded when I was at the plate. I am very proud of how we came together today and I ope to carry that momentum into the weekend when we play Otero.”
Michaela Kelly, who had three home runs on the day in the doubleheader, including a big 2-run shot in the second game’s seventh inning, said getting the split the way they did was huge.
“It was a super big win, especially after falling to them in the first game,” the freshman third-baseman said. “It was definitely a confident booster for our upcoming games against them and the other schools.’
The seventh inning comeback saw many clutch hits and walks to get the win. Kelly said the hitters stayed relaxed at the plate in the seventh.
“The last inning was definitely a time when we needed those clutch at bats,” she said. “We truly believed in ourselves and everyone who approached the plate. A feeling like that after the game is definitely a reminder of why we play the game.”
Wednesday’s second game was a thriller. WNCC took an early 2-0 lead with two runs in the first. Things turned sour after that with McCook plating five in the second and four in the third for a 9-2 lead. After that, the Cougar defense buckled down, holding the Indians scoreless. In the meantime, the Cougar offense fought back into the contest scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth and then the big seventh inning.
WNCC trailed 9-4 entering its final at bat. Madi Jackson started the rally by earning a walk. Michaela Kelly then unleashed a first-pitch homerun to bring the score to 9-6 with one out. Hannah Schaefer followed with a double followed by Alyssa Guymon getting a single.
Reagan Solomon then came through with a run-scoring single to bring the Cougars to within two at 9-7. After an infield fly, pinch-hitter Marlee Grant worked the count for a walk to load the bases. That was when McMillan took the third pitch and sent it high and deep to right field hitting the fence, scoring Guymon, Solomon and Grant with the winning runs.
While the offense came up big in the seventh, the defense came up big in the final four innings holding McCook scoreless.
“We also came together defensively during the second game today to win,” McMillan said. “Gabby Loya had a solid day behind the plate. Many of my teammates came through with clutch plays when we needed it the most to allow us to stay in the game. I believe if we do the little things right, there is nothing that can stand in our way.”
WNCC finished with 12 hits in the contest. Kelly and Solomon each had three hits in the contest, while McMillan, Schaefer, and Guymon each had two.
Kelly had a double, home run, three RBIs and three runs scored, while Solomon had three singles with a run scored.
McMillan had a triple with three RBIs and a run scored, while Schaefer had a double with a RBI and a run scored. Guymon had two singles with a RBI and run scored.
McMillan picked up the win in relief of Solomon. Solomon went 1 1/3 innings in allowing five runs on four hits. McMillan closed out the game, tossing 5 2/3 innings, scattering 10 hits and giving up four runs and striking out three.
WNCC started out the first game out, scoring three times in the first on a McMillan 2-run double for a 3-1 lead. Things went south in the second as McCook plated seven runs and then added a single run in the third for a 9-3 lead.
WNCC added two runs in the third including a Kelly solo home run to trail 9-5. WNCC sliced the lead to two with two runs in the fifth. Kelly picked up her second home run of the game, a lead-off solo shot that nearly cleared the second outfield fence. McMillan followed with a single and after the Cougars loaded the bases, McMillan scored on a overthrow to the pitcher for the 9-7 deficit.
McCook came back with three insurance runs for the 12-7 lead.
WNCC finished with 10 hits in the first game, including six extra base hits. Kelly, McMillan, and Doumer each had two hits. Kelly had two solo home runs in the contest, while McMillan had a double, two RBIs, and three runs scored. Doumer had a double and two stolen bases.
The split keeps the Cougars in a race for second place in the conference standings at 9-13 while McCook drops to 8-14 in the conference. WNCC will next be in action on Sunday at home when they face Otero Junior College at 11 a.m. Otero is 11-11 after splitting games with Trinidad on Wednesday winning game one 13-12 and falling in game two 14-13.
McCook 171 000 3 – 12 15 1
WNCC 302 020 0 – 7 10 1
LP – Reagan Solomon
2B – Brooke Doumer, Alyssa Guymon, Emma McMillan
3B – Reagan Solomon
HR – Michaela Kelly 2
McCook 054 000 0 – 9 14 3
WNCC 200 101 6 – 10 12 1
WP – Emma McMillan
2B – Michaela Kelly, Hannah Schaefer
3B — Emma McMillan
HR – Michaela Kelly