LA JUNTA, Colo. – Mickie Mills blasted three homers and drove in five runs in the Western Nebraska Community College softball team’s 15-6 win over Otero Junior College on Saturday afternoon in La Junta, Colorado.
The teams split the conference doubleheader as Otero earned a 6-3 win in the opening game.
Otero entered action ranked No. 16 in the nation.
WNCC coach Katelyn Groves said it was two different games offensively.
“Game one we did not hit very well. We got outhit by them but our outfield did a great job of cutting off balls. AB [Ramirez] cut off a couple balls that kept us in the ball game and Ty [Davis] and [Emma] Glawson had diving plays in the outfield that were huge that didn’t allow the momentum to get away from us. Hannah Baesler did a good job and was our only kid with an extra base hit. She had a great game one.
“Game two was a totally different story. Mickie Mills leads off the game with a home run. We then score two more runs in that inning. But then we put ourselves against the wall a little bit and go down 5-3. Mickie Mills is pitching in the second and gives up one run to make it 6-4 and then doesn’t allow another run the rest of the game which was huge for us. She really shut down their offense and our defense really stepped up.”
Offensively, there was plenty of offense in game two. WNCC finished with 17 hits and six extra base hits compared to the first game where they had eight hits and one extra base hit.
“Mickie Mills had a phenomenal day at the plate again,” Groves said. “That kid is doing something special right now and we are excited for her to play in front of our home crowd and teammates. Mickie had three home runs in that game. She was 4 of 6 from the plate with three bombs and a single. Michaela Kelly had a home run. Bri George had a home run. Michaela Kelly drew a walk in a crucial situation. It was a real team win. We are starting to play as a team right now and learning that we don’t have to do it by ourselves.”
In Saturday’s victory, Mills led off the contest with a solo homer. She followed that up with another solo blast in the fourth inning and added a three-run bomb in the seventh. Kelly and George also went deep for WNCC in the win. Kelly drove in three runs and scored three runs.
WNCC scored three times in the first. After Mills’ bomb, Baesler and Glawson had run-scoring singles for a 3-0 lead.
Otero followed with five runs in the first. WNCC cut the lead to 5-4 when George took a 1-2 count over the rightfield fence. Otero led 6-4 after three.
WNCC exploded after that, scoring three in the fourth on a solo home run by Mills and a 2-run dinger by Kelly to retake the lead.
The Cougars added a single run in the fifth for an 8-6 lead and then busted the game open with a 7-spot in the seventh. Mills blasted a 3-run home run to start the inning followed by a Besler single to score another run to go up 15-6.
Mills led the offensive attack with four hits. George followed with three, while Kelly, Abriana Ramirez, Baesler, Glawson, and Sidnee Hogan each finished with two hits. WNCC totaled 17 hits in the game.
Mills also picked up the pitching win in the circle. She allowed six hits, no earned runs and struck out four in 6 1/3 innings of work.
In the first game, Otero scored three runs in the sixth inning to pull out the win.
Baesler led WNCC at the plate with three hits and two runs scored. She had the team’s only extra-base hit with a double. Mills added a pair of hits and drove in one. Ramirez and Sam Davis also were credited with a run batted in. Tylar Davis scored one run.
WNCC, now 16-16 overall on the season and 8-4 in conference play, will be at home for the first time next weekend. The Cougars will host Otero in a doubleheader on Saturday at Volunteer Field at 3 and 5 p.m. The teams will play two more games on Sunday.
“We are definitely excited to be playing at home,” Groves said. “Playing on the road for 32 games gets tiring and we have the best fans in the country. We are super excited to have people at Volunteer Field on Saturday and Sunday to help us pick up more wins.”
WNCC 021 000 0 — 3 8 2
Otero 110 103 x — 6 10 3
WP — Melissa Gellermann. LP — Emma McMillan.
2B — WNCC (Hannah Baesler).
WNCC (16-16) 301 310 7 — 15 17 2
Otero (19-5) 501 000 0 — 6 10 1
WP — Mickie Mills.
2B — WNCC (Abriana Ramirez).
HR — WNCC (Mills 3, Michaela Kelly, Bri George).