ACCC softball bows out of playoffs

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Allen County Community College’s Kate Gibson unloads on a pitch for a hit in the Red Devils’ playoff win at home a week ago. Gibson and the Red Devils advanced to the Region VI Division II District E tournament in Wichita this past weekend. They went 1-2 ending their season.

WICHITA — Allen County Community College’s Red Devils upended eighth-ranked Pratt Community College in the first round of the NJCAA Region VI, Division II District E tournament. But when the two teams met again in the losers bracket Saturday there was a different result.
Pratt used a six-run first inning to stake the lead and never allowed ACCC in the game. Allen County stranded eight runners on base as it fell 8-2 to end its playoff run.
Allen County’s defense played very well behind freshman Brianne Campbell to open the tournament Saturday at Two Rivers Sports Complex in Wichita. Campbell limited Pratt to five hits in a 1-0 win for the Red Devils.
The lone run of the game came in the fourth inning. Whitney Sullivan singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kristina Popejoy.
Autumn Lamle delivered a two-out single to drive in Sullivan. That was all that was needed.
Other hits by Allen County were two singles by Chalice Schmollinger and a double by Kate Gibson. Campbell struck out eight Pratt batters.
The win put Allen County in a winners bracket game against Johnson County Community College. Johnson County plowed over Labette Community College 13-0 in the first round.
Allen County didn’t fare much better. The Red Devils lost to the Lady Cavaliers 12-0 in five innings. Campbell took the loss as she allowed 14 hits, walked three and struck out two.
The Red Devils were down 5-0 when Christi Clevenger hit a grand slam for Johnson County in the third inning.
Popejoy doubled and Schmollinger had a single for ACCC in the game. The loss dropped the Red Devils into the losers’ bracket final.
Pratt had dispatched Labette 6-0.
Falling behind 6-0 in the first inning, Allen County never mounted a big threat to get back in the contest with Pratt. The Red Devils saw their season come to an end on a 6-2-3 double play to end the seventh inning in the 8-2 loss.
Allen County scored in the second inning. With two gone, Amy McAfee singled followed by walks issued to Terra Woods and Shawna Blakesley. Sullivan had an RBI single.
In the seventh, McAfee, Woods and Blakesley each singled to load the bases. With one gone, Popejoy singled in a run. Then came the double play.
McAfee, Popejoy and Sullivan each had two singles in the game. Blakesley, Jordan Talley and Woods had a single apiece.
Sullivan took the loss on the mound. She surrendered 12 hits, walked two and had one strikeout.
Pratt had no better luck than the other two teams against Johnson County. The Lady Cavaliers won the Region VI, Division II District E championship with a 10-0 win over Pratt.
Johnson County advances to the NJCAA Division II national softball tournament in Normal, Ill., May 14-16.
Cowley County or Fort Scott will join Johnson County at the national tournament. Those teams play for the Region VI, Division II District D championship today.
The Red Devils finished the season 29-30 overall. They were sixth in conference play at 15-11.
Campbell, a freshman, ended up with a 14-11 pitching record. Sullivan, a sophomore, went 8-7. Sullivan also played third base and was third in batting at .321.
Gibson and Talley played their final games for ACCC as sophomores.
Gibson was the Red Devils’ starting catcher and batted .258 for the season. Gibson was second on the team with six home runs. Talley played right field and had a batting average of .273 with 51 hits.
Allen County played without its leading hitter, sophomore Dana Stephenson. Stephenson was suspended for the first day of the tournament because of an arrest for driving under the influence a week ago. Stephenson would have played if the Red Devils had made it to the championship game on Sunday.
Stephenson hit .477 with 95 hits which included a team-leading 13 triples and three home runs. She drove in 47 runs during the season. Stephenson played third and shortstop for the Red Devils.
Allen County also had a freshman pitcher, Jenna Wendt, leave the team late in the season.
Blakesley, a freshman, was the team’s second-leading hitter with a .360 batting average. The third baseman/shortstop led the team in doubles with 17. Freshman center fielder Autumn Lamle led the team in home runs with eight.