Facing an Independence Community College squad that entered Tuesday's doubleheader averaging over 8.5 runs per game, the No. 6-ranked Cowley College softball team shut down the No. 9-ranked Lady Pirates' high-powered offense in a sweep of the two games.
Cowley won the opener by a score of 8-1 before winning the nightcap 5-2.
"I kind of challenged our pitchers and I thought they pitched really well," Cowley head coach Ed Hargrove said.
Following a difficult split of a doubleheader against Hesston on Monday, Hargrove spoke to the team's sophomores prior to Tuesday's games.
"We talked about leadership and what we expect of ourselves," Hargrove said. "I think the talk helped, all of the sophomores had key plays in the wins."
The doubleheader got off to an ominous start for the Lady Tigers as Independence freshman Tori Hawk led off the first game with a home run. However, Lady Tiger pitcher Jessica Seay settled down after that and allowed only two more hits the rest of the way.
Seay struck out nine and walked two in the complete game victory as she improved her record to 8-2 on the season.
Sophomore third baseman Caitlyn Cosme tied the game up with a home run leading off the bottom of the second. The home run for Cosme was her second of the season.
Cowley later got a two-run double from sophomore Taylor Watham in the bottom of the fourth inning to go in front 3-1 and then pulled away thanks to a three-run homer by Rondeci Oliver in the fifth inning. The homer by Oliver was her first of the season. The sophomore outfielder went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and is now batting .455 on the season.
"Rondeci can be such a key player for us," Hargrove said. "I have been preaching to her to pull the ball and she did that on the home run."
Cosme added three hits and three runs scored as she raised her average to .361.
Laura Wilson, who leads the NJCAA Division II in strikeouts, allowed 11 hits and eight runs in six innings. She also was held to only five strikeouts.
In the nightcap, Cowley got a two-run double by freshman Taya Haney in a three-run second inning. After the Lady Pirates cut Cowley's lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning, the Lady Tigers got a leadoff triple by Cosme to start the bottom of the sixth and four batters later sophomore second baseman Stephanie Couser came through with a two-run single to provide the game's final runs.
Oliver, Cosme, and Couser each had two hits in the win.
Sophomore Brooke Benge did not allow an earned run in six innings of work as she improved her record to 8-1 on the season. Benge struck out four and walked none. Seay came in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning as she earned her second save of the season.
Cowley is now 18-4 overall and 6-2 in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division. The losses drop Independence to 23-11 overall and 6-4 in the conference.
The Lady Tigers will play a doubleheader at Johnson County Friday at 2 p.m. The Lady Cavaliers are 15-3 overall and 12-1 in the Jayhawk East.
"Johnson is always tough, but we hope to carry this momentum into Friday," Hargrove said. "We know there is not a lot of margin for error in the conference."
Score by inning:
Game one R H E
Indy 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 3 2
Cowley 0 1 0 2 4 1 x - 8 11 0
Game two R H E
Indy 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 - 2 6 0
Cowley 0 3 0 0 0 2 x - 5 9 2