by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
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Kansas City Kansas Community College split a non-conference softball doubleheader Wednesday before continuing the toughest starting schedule in the Jayhawk Conference.
The Blue Devils (6-6) posted a 6-2 win over North Dakota State College of Science, a two-year college in Wahpeton, N.D., before dropping the nightcap 6-3. The split came a day after being swept at No. 4 ranked Highland Tuesday, which came on the heels of two losses to a Johnson County team ranked in the NJCAA Top 10 in the preseason rankings.
Next up, yet another clash with a Top 20 team, at No. 15 Cowley College Friday followed by another twin-bill at Independence on Saturday. It’s the first of six straight road games for the Lady Blue Devils, who do not return home until a March 27 twin bill against Fort Scott.
Shannon Greene scattered eight hits, striking out seven and walking none in the 6-2 win over North Dakota State. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on a pair of doubles in the first inning but didn’t score again until KCKCC had posted a pair of 3-run innings.
The Blue Devils managed just five hits but four came in the 3-run fourth. Natalie Cowan’s single and a triple by Jadyn Lindgren tied the game and RBI singles by Jennifer Mullins and Shannon Brown put KCKCC ahead to stay 3-1. Three more runs crossed in the fifth on a Brittney Beck single, walk, Kali Jacobson squeeze bunt and a pair of passed balls.
North Dakota State put a pair of 3-run outbursts on the board in the 6-3 nightcap. Erin Nissan broke a scoreless tie with a 3-run home run in the fourth and the Wildcats added three more runs on five straight hits off starter Katelyn Kittrell in the fifth.
Singles by Mullins and Brown and an error scored KCKCC’s first run in the fourth; Jacobson tripled and scored on a ground ball in the fifth; and Brown and Shelby Espy had singles for the final run in the sixth.
Highland lived up to its high national ranking by scoring early and often in 9-4 and 12-2 wins at Highland Tuesday.
Trailing 7-0 in the opener, the Blue Devils rallied for their four runs in the fifth.
Three came on a Kaylee Arnzen home run. Singles by Aspen Salinas and Cowan and a ground ball scored one run before Arnzen’s home run to center.
Cowan had three hits and Arnzen two to pace an 8-hit Blue Devil offense. Greene took the loss, giving up 10 hits, striking out three and walking two.
Highland roared to an 8-0 lead in the first inning of the second game. After a pair of walks, back-to-back home runs by Sydney Anderson and Aubry Hernandez kayoed KCKCC starter Katelyn Kittrell. The Scotties added four more runs against Faith Maslak in the inning and then got a 3-run home run from Kami Zimmerman in the second before Shelby Espy held Highland to just one hit and one run in the final three innings.
Limited to just two hits, the Blue Devils got a 2-run home run by Jennifer Mullins after a single by Arnzen in the fourth.