College sports: MCC softball team routs Rattlers on Sunday (4/11/22)

McCook Community College’s Rae VanMilligan heads home after a wild pitch gave the Indians a 7-3 lead over Ottero in Game 2 of a Sunday sweep.

After losing twice to Otero on Saturday, the McCook Community College softball team responded with a pair of wins on Sunday to split the Region IX series. MCC won 5-3 in Sunday’s opener and won the second game 11-3.

“The weekend is a perfect example of our mental approach to a match,” said MCC coach Kevin Kaalberg. “Saturday we weren’t engaged and didn’t play with a sense of urgency or intensity, but today we played as a team with intensity and enthusiasm.”

Sophomore Ashland Baca (sophomore, Byers, Colo.) hit a pair of home runs in Game 1 as four pitchers combined for the win. MCC was down 2-0 in Game 2, but got a second-inning grand slam by second-inning Taylor Thein (sophomore, West Branch, Iowa) to take the lead for good and put the game on. aside with a fifth-inning four run to claim the five-inning victory.

“I’m proud of the kids for bouncing back and playing the way they are capable of,” Kaalberg said.

MCC move to 23-15 and 9-5 in the region.

The Rattlers fall to 24-21 and 9-7 in Region IX.

On Tuesday, MCC will host Northeastern Junior College in a pair of Region IX games beginning at 2 p.m. On Wednesday, MCC travels to North Platte for a pair of games starting at 5 p.m. and Friday Lamar travels to McCook for a four-game series with the first pitch Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.

For all up-to-date information on MCC softball this season, including schedules, statistics, rosters and photos, please visit the official MCC Athletics website at:

MATCH 1 – McCook CC 5, Otero JC 3, McCook CC 7: Otero took the lead with a run in the first but MCC responded with three runs late in the inning. Nevaeh Ogden (freshman, Littleton, Colo.) led the inning with a hit. Alexis Cortez (sophomore, Aurora, Colo.) doubled down center to tie the game and Ashland Baca broke a two-run homer left to give MCC a 3-1 lead.

Avery O’Neil (sophomore, Ellsworth, Wis.) started the game from the pitching circle and held Otero scoreless in her two working innings. She allowed two hits, no walks and struck out two. Anna Wilcox (sophomore, Victoria, BC) followed with two scoreless innings in relief, she allowed a hit and struck out one.

MCC added another run on Baca’s second home run in the fifth inning, this one a solo shot to put MCC up 4-1.

Paige Smith (freshman from Perth, Australia) pitched two relief innings and allowed an earned run in the sixth inning. She allowed two hits and struck out two.

Tyler Mooring (freshman, Santa Clara, Utah) doubled to start the sixth inning and scored on a sacrifice steal off Smith to make the game 5-3. Mooring recovered the stoppage with a relief round, allowing a hit and striking out one.

MCC had nine hits in the game, led by three apiece by Baca and Ogden.

MATCH 2 – McCook CC 11, Otero JC 3: Otero took a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first inning against MCC starter Avery O’Neil, who allowed three hits and one strikeout in two sets of work.

In the second inning, rookie Madisyn Simms (freshman, Port Moody, BC) led off with a single and after two walks, Taylor Thein put MCC ahead for good with her grand slam to left field.

The Rattlers got back to reliever Anna Wilcox in third with a run to close the gap to 4-3. She pitched two innings, allowed three hits and struck out one.

Alexis Cortez led the third with a single and took a 5-3 MCC lead when driven home on an RBI pitch by Sydney Erlandson (freshman, Woodbury, MN). Simms then stole home to make it a 6-3 game.

Sophomore Rae VanMilligan (Marion, Iowa) started the fourth with a single and then came home on wild pitch to give the home side a 7-3 lead.

Paige Smith threw the fifth, allowed a hit, walked one and struck out two.

MCC sidelined the game with four runs in the fifth with the help of two walks from Otero with one out, error and back-to-back singles from Nevaeh Ogden, Emma Pennala (freshman, Tri-Cities, Washington) and Cortez.

MCC had 10 hits in the contest with three from Cortez and two from Pennala and Simms.

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