Trailing 8-0, Blue Devils rally for 16-8 in split with Ellsworth

Freshman Bradi Basler blasted a 3-run home run that broke an 8-8 tie and propelled KCKCC to a 16-8 win over Ellsworth Wednesday. Basler also doubled twice and drove in five runs but was the losing pitcher in a 6-2 inning second game loss. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Freshman Leah Seichepine was safe by an eyelash on a bunt single in KCKCC’s four-run sixth inning that closed out a 16-8 win over Ellsworth Wednesday, However, the Panthers broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh for a 6-2 nightcap win. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

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.

Gustin pitches Lady Blue Devils to sweep of Neosho County

KCKCC sophomore righthander Tiffany Gustin recorded her 15th and 16th wins of the season Thursday as she pitched the Lady Blue Devils to 10-4 and 4-2 wins over Neosho County at Piper. (Photo by Jan Humphreys)
KCKCC sophomore righthander Tiffany Gustin recorded her 15th and 16th wins of the season Thursday as she pitched the Lady Blue Devils to 10-4 and 4-2 wins over Neosho County at Piper. (Photo by Jan Humphreys)

Mekayla Guerrero’s towering 2-run home run to right field put KCKCC ahead to stay 6-4 on the way to a 12-4 win over Neosho County Thursday. It was Guerrero’s fourth home of the season and she singled and doubled in the Blue Devils’ 4-2 nightcap win. (Photo by Jan Humphreys)
Mekayla Guerrero’s towering 2-run home run to right field put KCKCC ahead to stay 6-4 on the way to a 12-4 win over Neosho County Thursday. It was Guerrero’s fourth home of the season and she singled and doubled in the Blue Devils’ 4-2 nightcap win. (Photo by Jan Humphreys)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College rode the pitching arm of sophomore Brittany Gustin to a sweep of Neosho County Tuesday.

A Raytown graduate, Gustin scattered 10 hits in a 6-inning 12-4 opening game win and then repeated in a 4-2 decision in the 7-inning nightcap played at the Piper softball complex. The wins were the 15th and 16th against nine losses for the Blue Devil right-hander.

The sweep improved KCKCC’s record to 23-18 heading into a Thursday makeup game at Highland at 2 p.m. The Lady Blue Devils then close out their home season this weekend at Steineger Field adjacent to Turner Middle School. Sophomores will be honored between games Saturday when the Blue Devils are the host to Cottey College at noon and 2 p.m. KCKCC is also scheduled to be the host of a University of Missouri club team Sunday, again at noon and 2 p.m.

KCKCC used the long ball to win the 12-4 opener. Tiffany Killam and Mekayla Guerrero each ripped 2-run home runs and Mekayla Foskett crushed a two-run triple. It was the 15th home run for Killam, a KCKCC record, and the fourth for Guerrero.

LaTisha Thomas, who had four of the Blue Devils’ 15 hits, led off the Blue Devil first inning with a single and scored one batter later on Killam’s line home run to left-center for a 2-1 lead. KCKCC made it 4-1 with two out in the third on Foskett’s triple following singles by Geena Harris and Gustin.

Neosho knotted the game in the fourth, scoring three runs on five straight hits but KCKCC quickly re-grabbed the lead on Guerrero’s towering home run to right following a leadoff single by Thomas. The Blue Devils then put the game out of reach with four runs in the fifth on just two hits, a run-scoring single by Thomas and a 2-run single by Harris.

KCKCC then spread the game in the sixth on hits by Savannah Dukngan, Thomas and Morgan Oroke. In addition to Thomas’ four hits, Harris had three and Oroke and Gustin two each.

Gustin allowed only three hits in the first four innings of the 4-2 nightcap before Neosho scored its only two runs on a home run in the fifth. By then the Blue Devils had built a 4-0 lead.

The first two runs came in the first on singles by Thomas and Oroke and then added two more in the third on Gustin’s 2-run single following singles by Guerrero and Oroke. Oroke finished with three hits and Guerrero added a single and double.

KCKCC home softball season near end with games today, Saturday

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

The home season winds down this week for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s up-and-down softball team.

The Lady Blue Devils will wrap up home Jayhawk Conference play Tuesday, hosting Neosho County at Piper High School at 5 and 7 p.m. and then finish league action with a single game at Highland Thursday at 2 p.m.

The annual Sophomore Day will come Saturday when KCKCC entertains Cottey College at noon and 2 p.m. at Steineger Field adjacent to Turner Middle School. The Blue Devils are also scheduled to be the host of a University of Missouri club team Sunday, also at Steineger Field at noon and 2 p.m.

KCKCC got its final Jayhawk road trip started with an 8-0 win at Coffeyville Friday only to drop the nightcap 7-3 and then lose 10-0 and 9-2 at Labette Saturday. The series left the Blue Devils 21-18 on the season.

Tiffany Killam blasted a KCKCC record 14th home run of the season and Brittany Gustin allowed just two hits while striking out seven in the 8-0, five-inning win at Coffeyville. Killam’s home run came in the fourth inning, a 3-run shot following two walks and a run-scoring single by Mekayla Guerrero, all with two outs. The runs gave KCKCC a 7-0 lead.

The Blue Devils’ first three runs came in the second on a two-out, bases-loaded triple by LaTisha Thomas. Geena Harris ignited the rally with the first of her three hits in the game before a Gustin single and a walk loaded the bases for Thomas’ triple. KCKCC’s final run came in the fifth on a pinch single by Katherine Stringer, a double by Savannah Dungan and a single by Gustin.

A 6-run third inning foiled KCKCC in the 7-3 nightcap loss. Guerrero and Dungan each drove in a run with a double and single and Morgan Oroke doubled in a run for KCKCC. Coffeyville managed just seven hits off Elizabeth Seimears and Killam but five of the seven came in the 6-run outburst.

The Blue Devils were limited to just five singles in each game in the 10-0 and 9-2 losses at Labette. Gustin, who took the pitching loss, had two of KCKCC’s five hits in the 10-0, 5-inning opener while LaTisha Thomas had a pair in the 9-2 nightcap. The Blue Devils only scoring in the doubleheader came in the third inning on two hit batsman, a run-scoring single by Thomas and a Guerrero ground ball. Labette put both games out of reach in a hurry, scoring three runs in th first and second innings of both contests.