The Western Nebraska Community College softball team won twice on Friday in contrasting fashion in the first day of the Region IX Tournament at Volunteer Field in Scottsbluff.
WNCC opened the game with a dramatic 3-2 win over McCook Community College as Bri George had a walk-off 2-run, 2-out single for the win.
WNCC built off the McCook win as Emma McMillan tossed a 2-hitter and the Cougars scored five first-inning runs in taking out Trinidad State Junior College 7-1.
The Cougars will battle the winner of the Trinidad/McCook game for the Region IX championship at 3 p.m. at Volunteer Field. Trinidad and McCook will face each other at noon.
Trinidad topped Otero 4-2 in their tourney opener. Then, in the nightcap, McCook earned an 11-9 8-inning win over Otero that saw Otero tie the game in the bottom of the seventh at 6-6. McCook scored five runs in the top of the eighth and then held on for the win.
McMillan, who picked up both wins on the day with complete game outings, said it was good team wins today.
“Every win is a really big win at this point in the regional tournament,” the sophomore pitcher said. “Our goal is to win the whole thing, so we have to come out as strong as we did today and play to the best if our abilities and take home the championship.”
The two games were won in contrasting styles. The first game the Cougars had some clutch at bats when needed to get the win. The second game the Cougars started early and played good defense behind McMillan’s pitching.
“We definitely had a lot of people come up clutch in the first game getting some walks in the last inning before Bri George drove those runs in, which was amazing,” she said. “We definitely came out strong [against Trinidad]. It was all about one step at a time, one hit at a time, one hit at a time. I think we definitely did that. We came out strong. We came out confident.”
WNCC trailed 2-0 to McCook after three innings. The Cougars sliced the deficit in half as Michaela Kelly hammered a solo home run in the fourth.
The lead stayed that way until the seventh when WNCC put together the rally. With two outs
Mickie Mills started things with a single. Abriana Ramirez and Kelly followed with walks to load the bases setting up George with the dramatics. With a full-count, George drove a ball to centerfield to score Mills and Ramirez with the game winner.
WNCC and McCook each had seven hits in the contest. Kelly and Baesler each had two hits. George had two RBIs in the game.
McMillan went the distance in in getting the win. She allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out six.
McMillan was even more potent in the second game against Trinidad State, McMillan went seven innings in allowing just two hits and striking out four,
Offensively, the Cougars had six hits in crucial times. Emma Glawson had two of the hits, while Sam Davis had the only extra base hit with a double.
The scoring started in the first as Ramirez and Kelly worked to get on base via walks. George then loads the bases on a sacrifice bunt. Hannah Baesler scores the first run with a hit that went for an error. McMillan than walked to force in another run and then Lindsey Allie singled in a run for a 5-0 lead.
WNCC added another run in the fourth as Sam Davis doubled and scored on a Emma Glawson single.
The Cougars added another run in the fourth with Mills singling and scoring later on an error.
McCook 011 000 0 – 2 7 2
WNCC 000 100 2 – 3 7 2
WP – Emma McMillan; LP – Shae Muggridge.
HR: WNCC (Michaela Kelly).
Trinidad 001 012 0 – 4 8 0
Otero 020 000 0 – 2 6 1
WP — Teddi Garcia; LP – Melissa Gellermann.
2B – Otero (Arianna Cordova, Janessa Rivera 2, Taylor Tremelling, B. Trengove)
HR – Trinidad (Rachel McKinley, Gabryella Williams).
Trinidad 000 010 0 – 1 2 2
WNCC 501 100 x – 7 6 0
WP – Emma McMillan; LP – Teddi Garcia.
2B – WNCC (Sam Davis).
HR – Trinidad (Megan Reidhead).
McCook 030 003 05 – 11 9 1
Otero 400 000 23 – 9 13 5
WP – Shae Muggridge; LP – Melissa Gellermann.
2B – McCook (Jenisha Miner, Jade Hollands, Chanel Sebenthal); Otero (Hannah Hackney, Janessa Rivera).
3B – McCook (Brooklyn Jensen); Otero (Kayla Kascak).
HR – Otero (Ariarina Cordova 2).