T-Birds sweep road series at Pratt

Cloud County Sports
David Wilson, Sports Information Director

PRATT — The Cloud County Community College baseball team started the second half of its season in resounding fashion, sweeping a four-game road series against Pratt Community College on Friday and Saturday.

The T-Birds rolled to 5-0 and 21-13 victories on Friday before pulling out 9-7 and 14-12 nail-biters on Saturday, bumping their record back to .500 at 16-16 overall and moving to 6-10 in the KJCCC West.

“I’m really proud of our guys and their effort. It was a really competitive weekend and we had some awesome things happen all the way around,” said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland. “It was an awesome weekend for our group.”

Cloud County started the weekend with a 5-0 victory in Game One on Friday behind a complete-game effort by sophomore pitcher Drew Scrimsher.

The right-hander only needed 91 pitches to go all seven innings, limiting the Beavers (12-18 overall, 2-10 KJCCC) to five hits while not walking a batter and striking out six.

“He’s pitched well almost every time out and this time we played really well behind him,” said Gilliland, referring to Scrimsher. “He was really sharp and just the bulldog he’s been all along. It was a pretty complete performance and probably the best game we’ve played all year.”

Offensively, Cloud County broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning on RBI singles from Tauren Langleyand Garrett Graveline sandwiched around a two-run double by sophomore Kolton Meyer.

The T-Birds kept right on hitting in Game Two as they produced 21 runs on 21 hits en route to a 21-13 victory.

All nine Cloud County starters had at least one hit, led by redshirt freshman Casey Garner as the outfielder was 4-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI. Leadoff man Ryan Simons was one of four T-Birds who had three hits, going 3-for-6, while scoring four runs and driving in three.

Freshman shortstop Tucker Catlett, freshman utility man Brett Fields, and Graveline all tallied three hits apiece in the blowout.

On Saturday, Cloud County had to withstand a counter punch from Pratt and earn both its victories in come-from-behind fashion, starting with a 9-7 victory to begin the afternoon.

Cloud County trailed 7-6 and was down to its final three outs before rallying for three runs in the top of the seventh.

Catlett hit a two-run double with the bases loaded to tie the game and Simons delivered the go-ahead RBI single two batters later.

Freshman pitcher Koby Spicer was the unsung hero in the victory for the T-Birds as he picked up his first collegiate win with three solid innings in relief. Spicer pitched three innings, allowed one run on two hits, and struck out three.

The T-Birds used the same formula of late timely hitting and relief pitching to pull off another comeback win in Game Four.

Cloud County faced deficits of 8-4 and 12-6 following a four-run seventh inning by Pratt, but answered with a six-run eighth inning to tie the game.

In the ninth, freshman outfielder Matt Bondarchuk led off with a single and stole second. Langley, who finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and four runs scored while extending his hit streak to 15 games, followed with a walk.

Meyer put the T-Birds back on top with an RBI single two batters later to score Bondarchuk, while Langley came home on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Jacob Grady. Both Meyer and Grady recorded three hits in Saturday’s series finale.

Freshman right-hander Ryan Krolikowski, who picked up his first win on Saturday, tossed a scoreless ninth inning as part of his 2 2/3 of shutout relief work to nail down the 14-12 victory.

“(Saturday’s games) were a couple of grinders,” Gilliland said. “We got everything Pratt had today. It came back with a lot of energy and focus, but credit to our guys for competing to the end. We had good at-bats all day long and then the big thing today was we got two huge stops in our bullpen from Spicer and Krolikowski.”

Cloud County will look to build off the momentum when it returns to action Wednesday with a road doubleheader against Hastings College JV. Game times are set for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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