NORFOLK, Neb. – Pushing runs across the plate on Saturday wasn’t an issue for the Northeast Community College softball team. The Hawks (6-6) went on to secure two victories over North Dakota State College of Science, 7-5 and 10-5 at Ta-Ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk.
Two runs in the first inning and four more in the bottom of the third propelled the Hawks to victory in the first game of the doubleheader, backed by a strong-pitching performance from Kierra Stewart (Dodge, Neb.) Stewart tossed three innings, allowed only an earned run off one hit, while striking out three batters and walking one.
Abby Balfour (Nebraska City, Neb.) hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the third to spark the Hawks’ scoring. Vada Kruse (Norfolk, Neb.) knocked an RBI single to score Balfour, while Alondra Martinez (Grand Island, Neb.) followed with an RBI single. Brianna Aguilera (Pierce, Neb.) later tallied an RBI single to push the Hawks’ lead to 6-1.
Aguilera went 3-for-3 with a double, a run, an RBI and a walk. Kruse added two hits, two stolen bases and two RBI, while Chantel Julian (Roseville, Calif.) had two hits, two walks and a run. Martinez went 2-for-4 with two runs, a stolen base and an RBI.
Northeast went to work in the finale, jumping out to a 3-1 lead after two innings and went on to add a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth to keep the Wildcats searching for answers at the plate.
Martinez went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Aguilera had three hits, including a double, two RBI and two runs, while Julian had two hits, a run and an RBI.
Stewart was also the winning pitcher of record. She threw two and one-thirds innings, allowing an earned run off three hits. She walked two batters and struck out one.
The Hawks are scheduled to square off with Central Community College in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Norfolk.