JUCO softball: Warriors split twinbill at Johnson County

Mar. 11—OTTUMWA — The Indian Hills softball team split of pair of road games on Sunday afternoon, dropping Johnson County Community College 5-2 in the opener before falling to the Cavaliers 1-0 in the nightcap. The Warriors move to 10-8 overall on the year.

The Warrior offense exploded for four runs in the top half of the first inning, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back home runs, to build an early lead. Sophomore pitcher Sara Reid took control the rest of the way, holding the Cavaliers to just two earned runs to secure the win. The Warrior offense fell short in game two, but freshman Ashlynn Sheets put together another dominant performance in the circle to keep Indian Hills within contention throughout the contest.

The game one victory for the Warriors snapped Johnson County's 10-game winning streak. The Cavaliers had been held to less than five runs in a game just once through the team's first 14 contests of the year, and the Warrior duo of Sheets and Reid limited Johnson County to just three runs total in Sunday's twinbill.

Indian Hills opened Sunday's slate with all the offense it needed through the first five batters of the contest. A one-out triple from Eva Fulk ignited the offense before freshman Ava Smith delivered a two-out, two-run home run to straight-away centerfield for the 2-0 lead. Sophomore Hannah Simpson followed up with a solo shot of her own to a near identical location in center while returning All-American Julia Kwakernaak sent a shot to dead centerfield for a 4-0 advantage.

Simpson extended the lead to 5-0 with a run-scoring single in the third to drive in Tatum Aragon. With a comfortable advantage, Reid went into cruise control, scattering seven hits throughout the day to pick up the win and move to 4-3 on the year.

Fulk picked up a pair of hits in the opener to push her season batting average past the .400 benchmark.

The nightcap saw the Warriors fail to collect a hit in the seven-inning contest as the bats fell silent against the Cavaliers. Despite the loss, Sheets starred in the circle for the Warriors, allowing just four hits with one earned run that came in the second inning. The freshman allowed just two baserunners over the final four frames.

Sheets struck out five batters without issuing a walk on the day and lowered her team-leading earned run average to 1.44 on the year. The southpaw owns a 3.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year.

Along with Sheets, Reid lowered her season earned run average to 1.46 on the year as both marks rank in the top-25 in the nation. Sheets currently ranks 22nd overall while Reid ranks 24th nationally.

After returning to Kansas for a doubleheader at No. 11 Butler on Monday, the Warriors will be heading to Oklahoma for a pair of doubleheaders this weekend. Indian Hills plays at Seminole State on Saturday afternoon before heading to Murray State on Sunday.