by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College got outstanding softball pitching performances Thursday. Unfortunately, Labette’s hurlers were a shade better.
Limiting the Blue Devils to six hits in two games, the Cardinals posted 2-1 and 3-2 wins in the doubleheader played in Parsons.
The losses dropped the Blue Devils (11-7) into sixth place in the Jayhawk Conference standings with two games to go against Cowley College at KCKCC Sophomore Day next Thursday.
The Blue Devils close out non-conference play Tuesday when they play host to Crowder College. Both doubleheaders are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m. No. 12 ranked Johnson County (13-3) continues to lead the conference followed by No. 5 Highland and Cowley, both 13-5; Hesston (11-5) and Labette (12-6).
“The sweep was vital for us,” Labette coach Ryan Phillips said. “Kansas City Kansas is a very well-coached program. So coming out with a sweep is huge. It gives us two big wins against a great team.”
Shay Grosstephen (14-8) allowed just four hits in the 2-1 opening loss but two of the four were home runs, the second a walk-off round tripper by Grey Holland leading off the bottom of the seventh that broke a 1-1 tie. Payton Nigh had the other home run in the first.
The Blue Devils were held to just two hits by Victoria Gonzales, a single by Jennica Messer and a double by Hannah Redick that drove in KCKCC’s only run in the third inning.
Labette took a 3-1 lead in the third inning of the second game and held off a late KCKCC rally for the 3-2 win. Brittney Beck had two of the Blue Devils’ four hits and both figured in the scoring, a single after an error in the second inning and a double in the seventh. Redick and Grosstephan had the other two KCKCC hits off winner Haylee VanDeventer.
Mackenzie Pinkerton (14-8) took the loss, allowing seven hits, walking two and striking out seven. Trailing 1-0, the Cardinals tied the game in the second on a single and double and then scored what proved to be the winning runs on a walk, double and two-out single in the third.
“I thought the pitching was very good on both sides,” KCKCC coach Lana Ross said. “Shay gave up just four hitters but two were home runs. And I thought we play well defensively (no errors).”