Cloud County take Game One from Labette, earn third straight split

Cloud County sophomore Nicole Dinkel (No. 10) had three runs driven in during Saturday's doubleheader against Labette
Cloud County sophomore Nicole Dinkel (No. 10) had three runs driven in during Saturday's doubleheader against Labette

PARSONS, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College softball team wrapped up its second KJCCC East doubleheader in as many days Saturday, and earned its third straight split, on the road against Labette Community College.

"I'm happy that we got one today because we needed it in the worst way," said Cloud County head coach Aaron Acree said. "It was tough not being able to win both games yesterday (against Coffeyville), and we had to fight from behind right away at the start of Game One (Saturday). But the girls battled, fought hard, and we were able to get some timely hitting in Game One."

Cloud County (12-18 overall, 5-11 KJCCC East) pulled away late in a 9-4 Game One victory, highlighted by a five-run seventh inning broke open what had been a 4-3 game.

The middle of the T-Birds' order led the way as sophomores Jordan Ummel and Nicole Dinkel, Cloud County's No. 4 and No. 5 hitters, combined to go 3-for-7 with six RBI.

"We've been waiting for (that production) all season and maybe that's a sign," said Acree of the big day from the heart of his batting order. "We were able to get runners on, bunt them over and give (Ummel and Dinkel) chances to hit with runners in scoring position. It was great execution on everyone's part and those two came through in clutch situations when they had to."

After falling behind 3-0 to Labette (14-20 overall, 11-7 KJCCC), Cloud County got two runs back in the top of the third inning when Ummel roped a two-run double, scoring freshmen Mikayla Leakey and Payton Gillen, who was 2-for-3 with two runs driven in of her own in Game One from the leadoff spot.

The T-Birds took their 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning on a two-out, two-run triple by Dinkel that scored Ummel and sophomore Autumn Adams.

Cloud County then broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning.

Adams and Ummel got the offense started with a walk and double, respectively, to lead off the frame. Ummel scored on a fielder's choice.

After a pair of Labette errors allowed a third run to score, Gillen capped off the rally with a two-run single that brought home freshmen Kelsey Bowers and Shania Schraad to put the game away.

On the mound, Ummel picked up her sixth win of the season. The right-hander wasn't her sharpest, finishing with five walks versus one strikeout. But she was able to shake off a tough three-run first inning to limit Labette to just one run over the final six frames.

"That first inning or two she had trouble getting going," Acree said. "But Jordan was able to settled in, started to hit her spots with consistency and our defense was great behind her. She was able to get out of a lot of jams and that's a credit to her and our defense."

As for Game Two, the Cloud County offense was unable to get going and were forced to settle for a split as Labette won the finale, 5-0.

The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the second inning without the benefit of a hit as they cashed in on four walks in the inning.

Labette would add a second run in the third inning, then broke the game open with a three-run fifth.

Dinkel led all Cloud County players in Game Two with a pair of hits (2-for-3).

The T-Birds will continue their season-long eight game road trip Tuesday when they head off to play a pair of non-conference games against Hesston Community College. Game times are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

After the road trip, the T-Birds will finish off the KJCCC East portion of their schedule with back-to-back home doubleheaders against Neosho County and Allen County.

"I told the girls to break the rest of the season down and go day by day. If we can pick up a few sweeps somewhere in there, we should be able to move up the standings and give ourselves a chance to host a first-round playoff game," Acree said. "We may need some help from some other teams to do that, but as a team we're starting to see the ball better and score runs. We're in a better place now and playing with more confidence."