LA JUNTA, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College softball team split a Region IX conference doubleheader Friday against Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado.
The opener saw Otero pound out 15 hits in rolling to the 14-6 win. WNCC came back to earn the split in game two with the two teams combining for 25 runs and 37 hits and the Cougars receiving a gutsy seventh-inning pitching performance from Reagan Solomon in picking up the 13-12 win.
The split moves WNCC to 7-11 in conference play while Otero goes to 9-9. WNCC and Otero will be back at it again on Saturday for another doubleheader in La Junta.
Game two was an offensive contest for WNCC. The Cougars finished with 15 hits, including three doubles from Madi Jackson and two home runs from Emma McMillan. Jackson went 5-for-5 in the contest with two RBIs and three runs scored.
McMillan belted two home runs while finishing with six RBIs and three runs scored.
WNCC also received 2-hit performances from Michaela Kelly, Gabby Loya, and Solomon. Loya had a double with three RBIs, while Kelly had two singles, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Solomon had two singles with two runs scored.
McMillan got things started in the first as the freshman from Canada blasted a 2-out, 3-run home run for the quick 3-0 lead. WNCC went up 6-2 with three more in the third frame. Jackson led off with a double and scored on a Kelly single. McMillan followed with a single and both scored on a Loya double.
WNCC added two in the fourth as McMillan picked up her second home run of the game, a 2-run, 2-out shot to center field for the 8-4 lead.
WNCC plated four more in the fifth all with two outs. The big hit was run-scoring double by Jackson for a 12-5 lead. Otero came back to slice the lead to 12-10. The Cougars added a single run in the sixth, which proved to be the game-winner as Jackson singled home Solomon.
Solomon then put two runners on base with free passes, but came back with two strike outs before inducing a groundball to first baseman Hannah Schaefer for the final out.
McMillan earned the win in the circle, going 5 1/3 innings in allowing 12 runs on 22 hits while striking out five. Solomon picked up the save, tossing the final 1 2/3 in striking out two and not allowing a hit or run.
The first game saw WNCC grab a 1-0 lead on a Jackson home run. After that it was all Otero as the Rattlers plated two in the second and eight in the third for a 10-1 lead. WNCC sliced the lead to 11-6 with a four-run fifth inning. Jackson had a 2-run single in the fifth.
WNCC finished with eight hits. Jackson went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Schaefer also tallied two hits with a double and a run scored.
WNCC 100 140 – 6 8 4
Otero 028 103 – 14 15 3
LP – Reagan Solomon
2B – Madi Jackson, Hannah Schaefer
HR – Madi Jackson
WNCC 303 241 0 – 13 15 5
Otero 022 152 0 – 12 22 2
WP – Emma McMillan, S – Reagan Solomon
2B – Madi Jackson 3, Gabby Loya
HR – Emma McMillan 2