If Lana Ross learned anything about her 2020 Kansas City Kansas Community College softball team Tuesday, it was that the Blue Devils have a lot of fight.
Trailing State Fair 12-5 after five innings, the Blue Devils rallied in both the seventh and eighth innings for a wild 14-13 opening game and then posted a 9-1 5-inning win in the night cap.
The wins boosted the Blue Devils' record to 5-1 heading into some early season showdowns. At Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., Thursday, KCKCC hosts No. 9 ranked Kirkwood Friday at 1 and 3 p.m. and then goes to Northeast Oklahoma A&M in Miami on Sunday.
The Blue Devils won Tuesday's 14-13 on three straight doubles with none oute in the eighth inning. State Fair had taken a 13-12 lead in the top of the inning on a two-out fly ball that was inches fair but Hannah Redick and Alexis Rymer rapped doubles to left to tie the game and Alaina Howe won it with a high drive to the fence in centerfield.
Down 12-9 in the seventh, the Blue Devils pulled even on Bradi Basler's ground ball to leftfield that scored two runs. Singles by Lisa Seichepine, Devin Purcell and Abby Henson set up the game-tying hit. KCKCC started its comeback from the 12-5 deficit with four runs in the sixth, the big blow a bases-clearing double by Redick.
Redick finished the day with a solo home run in the fifth, two doubles, a single and five runs-batted-in. Purcell and Leah Seichepine also had four hits and Henson, Basler, Rymer and Howe two each and Jennica Messer deliver a double that ignited the four-run sixth.
The pitching winner in both games, Basler (3-1) got the win in the opener with two innings of one run, one hit relief. Shay Grosstephan worked the first 5.1 innings, giving up nine runs on 14 hits. Freshman Nerida Elson finished the 4-run sixth inning, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks.
The Blue Devils made the nightcap easy for Basler, getting two-run home runs from Rymer and Grosstephan and scoring five runs in the first inning on the way to the 9-1 win. Grosstephan and Howe each doubled in a pair of runs in the first inning; Rymer homered after a Redick single in the third; and Grosstephan followed a walk with a 2-run shot in the fourth. Rymer finished with three hits and three RBI; Purcell and Henson each singled and doubled; and Grosstephan drove in four.
Basler faced just 21 hitters in five innings, allowing one run on four hits. She struck out seven and walked two. Fielding-wise, the Blue Devils were errorless in both wins.
"I wasn't really happy about how we gave up runs in the first game but very pleased the way we battled back in the first game and then settled down in the second," said Ross.