BEATRICE, Nebraska — The Cloud County Community College softball team put together its best day of softball to date on Tuesday, going on the road to sweep a doubleheader against Southeast Community College by the final scores of 5-4 and 4-1, respectively.
The pair of victories gives Cloud County (5-15 overall) four straight wins in back-to-back days in what head coach Aaron Acree said hopes is a sign his team has turned a corner.
"They're starting to believe in themselves," said Cloud County head coach, Aaron Acree. "You can see the confidence continuing to grow."
In Game One, the T-Birds overcame deficits of 3-1 and 4-3 to rally for a 5-4 victory, taking the lead for good in the sixth.
Freshman pitcher Mattison Hogrefe produced a RBI double before a run-scoring single off the bat of freshman designated hitter Sarah Mccown, who also added her fourth home run of the season — a two-run shot — back in the fourth inning.
Both Mccown and Hogrefe, and freshman Jacie Marcotte, all finished with multi-hit games in the opener, with Hogrefe going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and the RBI, Mccown posting a line of 2-for-3 with three driven in, and Marcotte adding a 2-for-3 performance with a run scored.
In the pitcher's circle, Hogrefe was able to nail down the final three outs as she stranded the bases loaded in the seventh by inducing a pop up to short stop Kennedy Doherty to end the ballgame.
It would be the first of two wins Hogrefe would pick up on the day as the right-hander out of Lincoln, Nebraska picked up right where she left off in Game Two.
Hogrefe tossed a career-high seven innings in Cloud County's 4-1 victory in the night cap, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out four.
"She was throwing that changeup for a strike and was able to move the ball inside and out all day," Acree said of Hogrefe. "She was able to get her fastball on hitters' hands so they couldn't control it or get the barrel of the bat to it. And what I really liked was she only needed 74 pitches. She was getting weak contact and worked efficiently."
To add to her career day, Hogrefe launched her first home run in the sixth inning, scoring Gillen who produced a two-out single, to provide herself with two big insurance runs and make it a 4-1 lead.
"We really needed to score there with two outs and Mattison was finally able to hit all the way through the ball and it took off," Acree said. "It was so good to see from her. She executed her swing to perfection in that last at-bat."
Hogrefe was one of five T-Birds to record multiple hits in Game Two as Mccown (2-for-4), Marcotte (2-for-4), sophomore third baseman Payton Gillen (2-for-4, 1 run) and freshman catcher Emily Wells (2-for-5) all helped lead the offense.
Wells' first hit of the day was her first career home run that she drove out to left-center field to tie the game in the third after Southeast had held the early momentum.
"Emily's home run was huge for us," Acree said. "Southeast had gotten out to another early lead, but after she hit that it was a brand new ballgame again and the girls settled down and adjusted."
The T-Birds will look to ride this momentum when they continue their current eight-game road swing Thursday against another non-conference opponent in Central-Community College-Columbus.
Game times for Thursday are set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.