Blue Devils sweep softball twin bill with pair of shutouts

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

Kansas City Kansas Community College needed just 10 innings Saturday to sweep a a pair of shutouts from Central Nebraska 17-0 and 12-0.

The wins improved the Blue Devils’ record to 8-2 heading into the Crowder Bash in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Friday where they play Southeastern Iowa at 4 p.m. and Mineral Area at 6 p.m.

The lopsided wins enabled KCKCC coach Lana Ross to use her entire pitching staff. Breanna Droge allowed just one hit and struck out four in 3.1 innings of the opener before Samantha Reynolds finished up, retiring all five hitters she faced.

Nerida Elson pitched the first two innings of the second game, allowing two hits and striking out one. Bradi Basler pitched the third and fourth innings, allowing two hits with Regan Marsh working a hitless fifth.

Devin Purcell and Hannah Maurer each drove in five runs in the 17-0 opener, Purcell doubled and singled twice; Maurer doubled twice. Alyssa Seichepine also had a pair of hits in the 12-hitt attack.

Six Blue Devils had extra base hits in the 12-0 nightcap. Purcell homered, Alexis Rymer tripled and Savannah Maynard, Madison Pope, Alaina Howe and Basler each doubled while Georgia Faunt delivered a run-scoring pinch single

“We played well defensively behind good pitching,” KCKCC coach Lana Ross said. The Blue Devils had just one error in the two games. “We turned two double plays in the second game. It was a good day with every player contributing; very proud of the team coming out with a lot of energy and really doing a great job at the plate.”

Down 15-7, KCKCC stuns No. 7 Highland with 3-0 sweep

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

Kansas City Kansas Community College got an early wakeup call Saturday. Trailing No. 7 Highland 15-7 in the first set, the Blue Devils responded with their biggest comeback in recent seasons for a stunning 3-0 sweep of their long-time arch rivals.

“It’s so easy to roll over when you get that far down but this group of athletes does not know how not to compete,” said a jubilant KCKCC coach Mary Bruno-Ballou. “One of our best performances, for sure. That’s the most we’ve been down this year.” The loss was only the second in nine matches for Highland.

Led by sophomore Michelle Dvorak, the Blue Devils bounced back from the 15-7 deficit with an 18-7 run to close out a 25-22 win and then followed with 25-21 and 25-22 wins.

Dvorak had five of her nine kills in the match in the first set. Bruno-Ballou said the 15-7 deficit was a result of self-inflicted wounds.

“Of Highland’s first 15 points, 12 were the result of our unforced errors. Otherwise, we were playing well,” she said.

Cassidy Crist powered the Blue Devils to their clinching third set win with nine of her 16 kills. “And Kelcey Hund and Nicole Almestica played fantastic defense,” Bruno-Ballou said.

The Blue Devils came into the match off two narrow losses earlier in the week. No. 4 Johnson County had to come from behind for a 3-1 win on Tuesday and Allen County did likewise in eking out a five-set win on Thursday.

Allen County won two sets that went right down to the wire in a match that had 122 kills and 227 digs. The Blue Devils jumped in front 25-21 but Allen held on for a 25-23 second set victory and then broke three late ties for a 26-24 third set win. The Blue Devils evened the match 25-20 only to have the Red Devils win the final set 15-11.

“It was not a pretty loss,” Bruno-Ballou said. “We had 25 hitting errors and 19 service errors, basically two full sets of things we can control.”

Crist had 20 kills, Dvorak 16 and Trinity Holland 12 while Adriana Velez had 54 assists and 22 digs. Hund led with 30 digs while Crist added 20, Almestica 16 and Mia Tomasic 14.

The Highland win boosted the Blue Devils to 8-7 heading into a Jayhawk Conference match at Neosho County Monday at 6:30 p.m. The Blue Devils then return home for a triangular Thursday with KCKCC playing Cowley College at 4 p.m. and Metropolitan at 8 p.m.

Standout pitching, Rymer home run lead KCKCC to sweep

Alexis Rymer, whose 2-run fifth inning home run lifted KCKCC to a 6-4 opening win over Southwestern Iowa Friday, also singled and doubled and then added this double in the Blue Devils’ 8-1 nightcap win. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC sports information

Stingy pitching by Nerida Elson and Breanna Droge led Kansas City Kansas Community College to a sweep of Southwestern Iowa Friday.

Piper’s Alexis Rymer hit a tie-breaking home run in the fifth inning to back Elson’s strong relief pitching in a 6-4 opening game win; Droge allowed just three hits in an 8-1 second game victory.

The win boosted KCKCC’s record to 6-2 heading into a doubleheader Saturday with Central Nebraska at 1 and 3 p.m.

A sophomore lefthander from Auckland, New Zealand, Elson came on in the fourth inning with the score deadlocked at 4-4. After giving up a hit and a walk, Elson retired the final 12 Spartans in order, three on strikeouts. Defensively, she was backed by a spectacular over the shoulder catch by Devin Purcell in centerfield and a backhand grab and throw by shortstop Savannah Maynard, both in the seventh inning. Bradi Basler pitched the first three innings, allowing four runs on three hits and four walks.

In addition to her tie-breaking 2-run home run, Rymer singled and doubled in a 3-RBI effort. Lindsey Gettle added two hits and an RBI.

Droge faced just 25 hitters in her 3-hitter in the 8-1 nightcap. She struck out eight, walked none and hit one. Her shutout was ruined by a fifth inning home run.

Freshman Hannah Maurer drove in four runs on a home run, double and singled and Maynard doubled twice and singled while driving in two runs. Madison Pope singled and doubled and Purcell singled twice and each drove in a run. KCKCC took a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Purcell and Maurer and added three runs in the third. Maynard doubled in the first two runs and scored on Purcell’s single.

“Our pitches did a great job today and we played very well defensively,” KCKCC coach Lana Ross said. “We need to continue to get better and get tougher mentally but we played well today.”

Blue Devil southpaw Nerida Elson retired the final Southwestern Iowa hitters in order in KCKCC’s 6-4 win. Elson allowed one hit in four scoreless innings for the win. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
KCKCC’s Devin Purcell easily beat a throw to second base in the Blue Devils’ 8-1 win over Southwestern Iowa. Purcell had two key singles in KCKCC taking a 4-0 lead. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)