Posted 3 months ago
By John Axtell
Jessica Ball and Shelby McGraw hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to propel the Western Nebraska Community College softball team to a walkoff, come-from-behind 7-6 win over McCook Community College in the Region IX Tournament on Thursday in Lamar, Colo.
The tournament’s six team field is split into a pair of 3-team round-robin pools with the pool winners to meet in a best-of-3 series to decide the Region IX champ and advance to the district tournament in Kansas.
McCook and Northeastern (Colo), the third team in the pool with the Cougars, will play this afternoon at 1:00 with the winner facing WNCC at 4:00…having to beat the Cougars twice to advance. McCook defeated NJC 17-9 yesterday before taking on the Cougars.
In the other bracket…which includes Otero, Lamar, and Trinidad…regular season champion Otero is in the drivers’ seat after topping Lamar 14-0 yesterday.
WNCC looked to be cruising early against McCook yesterday, answering the Indians’ one run in the top of the 1st with 3 of their own in the bottom of the inning on 4 hits, including back-to-back doubles by Ball and McGraw.
The Cougars made it 4-1 with a single run the next inning on an RBI single by Angel Council, but McCook got 2 runs in the 3rd and tied the game in the 4th.
Lindsay Guymon put WNCC back in front in the 5th with a 2-out solo home run for a 5-4 lead. McCook got a run in the 5th and threatened to take the lead, but McGraw got a strike out with the bases loaded to leave the score 5-5.
McCook did take the lead in the top of the 7th, but Ball and McGraw…the team leaders all season…responded in the bottom of the inning. Ball, who leads the nation in home runs, put a 1-2 pitch over the rightfield fence to tie the game and McGraw sent the second pitch she saw over the centerfield fence for a walk-off home run.
WNCC had four players finish with multiple hits. McGraw had a single in addition to her double and homer, scored twice and drove in 3 while Council had 3 singles, an RBI, and scored once. Ball had 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored with her double and homer.
McGraw wasn’t her usual dominating self in the circle, but went the distance for the win…scattering 11 hits and striking out 7 while giving up 6 runs, 3 of them unearned.
All games of the tournament are available online at njcaatv.com/lamarcc.
McCook 102 101 1 — 6 11 2
WNCC 310 010 2 — 7 12 2
WP — Shelby McGraw; 2B — Shelby McGraw, Jessica Ball; HR — Ball, McGraw, Lindsay Guymon.