JUCO softball: Warriors slug way to sweep of Southwestern

Apr. 8—CRESTON — The Indian Hills softball team connected on six home runs Sunday to power the Warriors to an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) sweep on the road vs. Southwestern Community College. Indian Hills moves to 19-15 overall on the year and 5-3 in league play bouncing back after dropping a pair of regional contests on Saturday to Iowa Western.

Sparked by three home runs in the opening game from sophomore All-American Julia Kwakernaak, the Warriors ran away with the afternoon series, picking up a 10-3 win in game one followed by an 11-3 run-rule victory in the nightcap over the Spartans. The Warriors have now won 20 consecutive games over Southwestern and are 28-1 all-time against the Spartans.

Indian Hills jumped all over the Spartans in the opener, scoring four runs in the first frame as sophomore Claire Tipton delivered a two-run home run followed by a solo shot to right field from Kwakernaak. Kwakernaak delivered a second round-tripper in the fourth inning, a three-run shot to push the lead to 8-1. The sophomore added a solo home run in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Kwakernaak becomes just the fourth player in school history to hit three home runs in a game, and just the fifth instance overall. The sophomore finished the contest 3-4 with three runs and five RBI. The three home runs gives Kwakernaak 18 for her career and a team-high eight this season.

In total, the Warriors saw eight individuals collect a hit, including four individuals with a multi-hit performance. Sophomore Eva Fulk went 2-4 while Tipton added two hits and two runs scored. Courtney Locke added two hits, including a double to aid the offense.

Freshman Alivia Ruble secured her first-career victory in the circle, going five innings with five strikeouts to lead the Warriors. Freshman Ashlyn Sheets closed out the contest with two shutout innings of relief.

Game two once again saw an early outburst from the Warriors for an early edge. Ava Smith delivered an RBI double in the first before Tipton delivered a three-run knock in the second for the early advantage. Smith delivered the knockout punch later in the second, a two-run home run to push the lead to 7-0. Tipton put the game out of reach in the third with a two-run home run, the sophomore's 17th career longball.

Smith finished the game 3-3 with three extra base hits and three RBI. Tipton, Kwakernaak, and Jenna Lemley each tallied two hits for the Warriors.

In the circle, sophomore Sara Reid went the distance with five innings of work to improve to 9-6 overall on the year.

With hits in each of the contests on Sunday, both Tipton and Fulk extended their season-long hitting streaks for the Warriors. Tipton has now collected a hit in 16 consecutive games while Fulk has hit safely in 10 straight.

Jenna Lemley's sixth-inning RBI single proved to be the only Warrior run scored in Saturday's opening game at Iowa Western. Madeline McCall struck out 11 batters for the Reivers over seven innings in a 4-1 win over the Warriors to open the doubleheader.

Indian Hills appeared to be on the verge of salvaging the split against Iowa Western, leading 5-3 entering the sixth inning of game two. The Reivers rallied in the bottom of the seventh, scoring a pair of runs on a throwing error to walk off with a 6-5 win to complete the doubleheader sweep.

Tatum Aragon singled in a pair of runs in game two for Indian Hills during a three-run opening inning. Tipton added an RBI single in the second inning after scoring the third run of the first inning for the Warriors.

The Warriors host a doubleheader against North Central Missouri College on Tuesday at R.L. Hellyer Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. Indian Hills then returns home on Thursday for a pair of games against NIACC starting at 2 p.m.