MCCOOK – The Western Nebraska Community College and McCook Community College split an Empire Conference doubleheader on Monday as the two teams enter the final weekend of the season jockeying for playoff seeding.

                WNCC managed just four hits in game one with a double and triple from Ashton Ross, but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars fell 9-1.

                The second game saw the Cougars hammer five home runs and plate 15 runs in the 15-4 run-ruled win.

                WNCC moves to 14-10 in conference play and 23-28 overall. McCook is 18-6 in conference and 27-22 overall. Both teams will have key conference games that could determine playoff seeding. McCook will have a 4-game series with conference-leading Southeast Community College on Friday and Saturday. WNCC will have four games with Northeastern Junior College with single 9-inning games on Wednesday and Saturday and a doubleheader at Cleveland Field in Scottsbluff on Friday.

                The second contest saw WNCC’s offense come alive with 17 hits and 15 RBIs. The Cougars belted five home runs in the game with Tyler Easter getting a home run and a double. Also blasting home runs in the win were Ashton Ross, Calvin Johnson, Arturo Montiel, and Hunter McCollum.

                At the plate, Easter and Shintaro Inoue led the team with four hits apiece. Inoue had four singles with three runs scored and an RBI. Easter had two singles, a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.

                McCollum, Bryce Peterson, and Dylan Harris all finished with two hits. McCollum had a home run with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Harris had a double and two runs scored. Peterson had two singles with two runs scored and an RBI.

                The Cougars also saw a strong pitching performance as Valentin Blanc and Gus Allred combined on giving up three hits with six strikeouts. Blanc went five innings with just one hit and four strikeouts, while Allred went two innings in allowing two hits, four runs, and two strikeouts.

                WNCC struck first with two runs in the opening frame. With two outs, Inoue single followed by a Ross 2-run home run. WNCC added two more in the third for a 4-0 lead. The third saw Inoue single followed by a 2-out 2-run home run from Easter.

                WNCC added three more in the fourth and sixth innings for a 10-0 lead. The fourth saw Harris lead off with a four-pitch walk. McCollum then singled. Peterson and Inoue followed with run-scoring singles. The final run came on an Easter sacrifice fly.

                The sixth saw Montiel blast a 2-out 3-run home run.

                McCook came back with three in the bottom of the sixth to make it 10-3, but the Cougars answered with five in the seventh. Johnson led off with a solo home run. Harris was then hit by a pitch. McCollum followed with a 2-run home run. WNCC loaded the bases and Montiel scored one with a walk and the final run coming on a Tucker Deal sacrifice fly.

                The first game saw McCook with the offense and the Cougars with the offensive blows. WNCC managed just four hits with Ross getting two of the four hits with a double and triple.

                McCook led 7-0 before WNCC plated one in the fifth as Inoue singled in Harris. WNCC couldn’t get any other runs the rest of the game.


Game 1

WNCC                000 010 0 – 1 4 0
McCook             030 420 x – 9 12 1
LP – Adrian Short.

2B – Ashton Ross.

3B – Ashton Ross.


Game 2

WNCC                202 303 5 – 15 17 0

McCook             000 003 1 – 4 3 0
WP – Valentin Blan.

2B – Dylan Harris, Tyler Easter.

HR – Ashton Ross, Calvin Johnson, Arturo Montiel, Hunter McCollum, Tyler Easter.