by Alan Hoskins
Winner of three of four Region VI games on the road over the weekend, the Lady Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College return for the biggest home stand of the season – eight games in five days.
It all starts Tuesday when the Blue Devils host arch-rival Johnson County in a pivotal Jayhawk Conference doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
Tied for fourth in the region at 6-2 and 8-2 overall, KCKCC is just a game back of third place JCCC, 7-1 in regional play and 10-3 overall. North Central follows Wednesday for non-league games at 2-4 p.m. followed by regional foes Pratt on Friday (3-5 p.m.) and Dodge City Saturday (12-2 p.m.).
Outstanding pitching by Leslie Ford and Elizabeth Seimear carried KCKCC to a 2-0, 6-1 sweep at Hesston on Friday before the Blue Devils had to settle for a split at Hutchinson on Saturday, losing 2-0 before winning 7-3.
Ford allowed just three singles, striking out eight and walking one in blanking Hesston 2-0.
The Blue Devils provided all the needed support in the first inning, scoring on a leadoff double by Lacey Santiago, walk, wild pitch and Hanna Barnhart’s RBI double.
Barnhart, Santiago and Megan Dike each had a pair of hits in a 9-hit attack.
Seimear gave up just five hits and one earned run in the 6-1 second game win.
The Blue Devils again exploded in the first, scoring three times. After a leadoff single by Santiago and a walk, Mierra Morisette doubled in both and then scored on Ford’s ground ball.
The Blue Devils added three insurance runs in the seventh on Santiago’s third single, a triple by Morisette, single by Holroyd and double by Barnhart, each of which scored a run.
KCKCC outhit Hutchinson 7-6 but left seven runners on base in the 2-0 loss.
Hutch scored on a leadoff single and sacrifice fly in the third and a double and single in the sixth. Barnhart was the lone Blue Devil with more than one hit.
Ford came on in relief after Hutch had scored twice in the second inning and finished the 7-3 nightcap win by allowing just three hits and one run in the final 5.2 innings.
Justice Scales and Barnhart each had three hits, Morisette a double and triple, Santiago two doubles and Dike two singles in a 14-hit assault.
The Blue Devils again had a big first, scoring three times on four straight hits, doubles by Santiago and Justice Scales, a two-run triple by Morisette and Holroyd’s RBI single.
“Both Leslie Ford and Elizabeth Seimear pitched very well at Hesston,” said KCKCC coach Kacy Tillery. “Hutch’s runs in Saturday’s first game came on a couple of bloop hits. Defensively we played well and Barnhart, Morisette and Santiago swung big bats.”