by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College staged its biggest comeback of the softball season Wednesday,
Spotting Ellsworth an 8-0 lead in the first inning, the Blue Devils scored 11 runs in the final three innings for a 16-8 win. However, it was Ellsworth that rallied in the nightcap for a 6-2 win.
The split left the Blue Devils 7-7 heading into a week of the unknown because of the coronavirus. Rain forced a doubleheader with Fort Scott scheduled for Thursday to be postponed until March 25 and a weekend trip to the Crowder Tournament slated for Fayetteville, Arkansas, was canceled.
Next up is a scheduled home doubleheader Tuesday against North Dakota College of Science at 1-3 p.m. although the addition of home games over the weekend has not been ruled out.
Outstanding relief pitching by sophomore Shay Grosstephan and a tie-breaking 3-run home run by freshman Bradi Basler propelled the Blue Devils to their 16-8 win.
Grosstephan (3-2) came on with two out in the bottom of the first inning and allowed only three base runners and one hit the final 5 1/3 innings. She struck out four, walked one.
Tied 8-8, Basler’s home run in the fifth inning came after singles by Leah Seichepine and Devin Purcell. The Blue Devils added a fourth run on Alexis Rymer’s run-scoring double and then ended the game in the sixth with four more runs on five straight hits – singles by Jennica Messer, Seichepine, Purcell and Madison Pope and a double by Basler.
Basler finished with two doubles and a home run and five RBI while Rymer doubled and singled twice and drove in three. Messer and Seichepine also had three hits and Purcell had a pair of singles in an 18-hit attack.
The Blue Devils’ comeback started with a 5-run second inning ignited by four straight hits – singles by Rymer, Abby Henson, Messer and Seichpine and capped by a 2-run single by Grosstephan. KCKCC then pulled even in the fourth on doubles by Basler and Hannah Redick and 2-run single by Rymer.
Ellsworth’s 8-run first came against sophomore MacKenzie Pinkerton, who was making her first start of the season. Only two of the runs were earned off Pinkerton, who gave up six hits and walked two. The big blows were a 2-run home run by Gintare Paskocimaite and a grand slam by Mya Mathes.
Ellsworth won the second game by breaking a 2-2 deadlock with a pair of home runs in the top of the seventh. Sidney Larson broke the tie with a 3-run blast and Paskocimaite followed with a solo shot.
Held scoreless the first four innings, the Panthers got their first run in the fifth on a double by Larson and then tied it without a two-out double in the sixth.
The Blue Devils were held to just four hits by Katy Payne, who left the bases loaded to end the game. KCKCC took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Purcell single, stolen base and Basler ground ball and made it 2-0 on Seichpine’s 2-out triple in the second.
However, Payne escaped a bases-loaded, one out jam in the third and then retired the next 10 Blue Devils in order. Basler (4-4) took the loss, allowing 12 hits but stranding eight runners on base. She struck out four.