The Western Nebraska Community College softball team swept a Region IX conference doubleheader from Northeastern Junior College on Wednesday at Volunteer Field.
In the opener, WNCC had home runs from Gabby Loya, Marlee Grant, and Michaela Kelly in registering the 11-6 win.
The second game saw strong pitching from Emma McMillan and Reagan Solomon and strong defensive play as the Cougars registered the 5-0 win.
Michaela Kelly said the team did the little things and that led to two victories.
“The key today was just to do the small things right and to just come out fired up,” she said. “It was super important to get our jobs done at the plate and that’s exactly what we did. Pitching was outstanding and our defense had their backs. We played together today and that was super important.”
More importantly, it was big for the Cougars, who lost a doubleheader to NJC earlier in the season 6-4 and 19-11.
“It was super important to take two away from them after falling to them in the beginning of the season,” Kelly said. “We definitely wanted it more and we wanted to let them know it was just a fluke that first time. These two wins were very important.”
The first game win was a combination of timely hitting and a 10-O-strikeout performance from McMillan.
McMillan said the team played well today to get the wins.
“Our team played very well in order to secure two wins against NJC,” the right-handed pitcher said. “We worked very well as a team today. We batted very well and were able to put quite a few runs up on the board.”
WNCC wasted little time in scoring in game one, plating four in the first and two in the second to grab a 6-0 lead. The big hits in the first inning was a 2-run home run by Gabby Loya and a 2-run, 2-out double by McMillan.
Marlee Grant led off the second inning with a solo home run and then Kelly slammed a double to score a run.
WNCC added three more in the fourth for a 9-1 lead. Loya had a run-scoring single followed by Reagan Solomon with a run-scoring double. Hannah Schaefer closed the fourth scoring with a run-scoring single.
The Cougars put the game away with two in the sixth after NJC sliced the lead to 9-6. Kelly had the big hit with a 2-run home run to centerfield.
WNCC finished with 14 hits in the contest. Loya and Kelly led the team with three hits, three RBIs, and two runs scored each. Kelly had a double and home run in the win, while Loya had a home run.
McMillan and Reagan Solomon each had two hits. McMillan had two doubles with two RBIs, while Solomon had two singles with a RBI and two runs scored.
Also collecting a home run in the game was Grant, while Solomon had a double.
McMillan pitched well in the circle to get the complete game victory. The freshman from Canada struck out 10 and walked just two, while scattering 11 hits. McMillan threw 143 pitches with 91 for strikes.
Game two saw the defense play well as McMillan and Solomon combined on a six-hitter while striking out seven. McMillan picked up her second win of the day, going 5 1/3 innings in scattering five hits, striking out four and walking four. Solomon closed out the game, going 1 2/3 innings in allowing no hits while striking out three.
WNCC finished with eight hits in the contest led by Kelly and Alyssa Guymon with two hits each. Madi Jackson had the only extra base hit with a home run along with two runs scored. Kelly also had two RBIs in the game.
WNCC started the second game fast, too, scoring twice in the first for a 2-0 lead. The defense stayed strong with shutting down the Plainswomen from crossing home plate. WNCC added two more runs in the fifth as Jackson led off with a home run followed by Guymon getting a run-scoring single.
The Cougars added an insurance run in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Kelly.
WNCC will be back in action Thursday when they travel to North Platte to face Iowa Western Community College. Iowa Western took two from North Platte on Wednesday 10-0 and 15-0.
NJC 000 132 0 – 6 11 1
WNCC 420 302 x – 11 14 3
WP – Emma McMillan
2B – Michaela Kelly, Emma McMillan 2, Reagan Solomon
HR – Gabby Loya, Michaela Kelly, Marlee Grant
NJC 000 000 0 – 0 6 3
WNCC 200 021 x – 5 8 2
WP – Emma McMillan
HR – Madi Jackson