Tuesday afternoon against Independence, the Dodge City Community College softball team (5-35) made sure not to have a repeat performance of what happened Sunday. After losing two games to Hesston two days ago, the Lady Conquistadors came back and split a doubleheader with Independence, losing the first game 8-1 and winning the second game 8-7 off a walk-off home run by Lillian Ward.


    Tuesday afternoon against Independence, the Dodge City Community College softball team (5-35) made sure not to have a repeat performance of what happened Sunday. After losing two games to Hesston two days ago, the Lady Conquistadors came back and split a doubleheader with Independence, losing the first game 8-1 and winning the second game 8-7 off a walk-off home run by Lillian Ward.
    “I think they understood how disappointed I was Sunday,” Conqs head coach Howie Smith said. “I thought we bounced back really well today.”
Game 1
    The Lady Conqs kept things close for about half the game, but then let Independence run away with the game in the later innings, losing 8-1.
    With the score at 2-1 in the first inning, Lady Conqs pitcher Tiffany Flax was able to shut out the Lady Pirates through the second and third inning, but then their bats started to catch fire as they produced one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the seventh to build a sizeable lead. Independence’s pitcher, Allison Love had no trouble after the first inning, as she shut out the rest of  Dodge, not allowing a single run to score. On the afternoon, she gave up five hits and struck out four.
    “Our approach wasn’t bad the first game,” Smith said. “But it seemed like everything we hit was right at them and everything they hit off Tiff found a hole. And you know, today was probably one of the three, four times we stayed within the pattern hitting wise.”
    What also didn’t help the Lady Conqs in the first game was the absence of their leading RBI and home run hitter Sam Liebhart. The third baseman missed most of the first game and all of the second game after she tore her ligaments in her ankle early in the first inning when coming into third base.
    “Coming to third, one out and came into third and caught her cleat,” Smith said. Smith added that Liebhart is out for the rest of the season.
    On the afternoon, DCCC’s Flax gave up 10 hits and struck out four in the loss.
Game 2
    The later match between the two ball clubs was a different story, as the Lady Conqs came out rejuvenated and started producing from the plate to nab the 8-7 win.
    After jumping out to a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth, the Lady Conqs defense let a few balls get past and Independence was able to gather some momentum on the offensive side of things and put themselves down just 4-3. Dodge added another run in the bottom of the fifth to push the lead back to two runs, but once again, the Lady Pirates bats continued to hit off Lady Conqs’ Kaci Nichols, scoring two runs to tie the game in the sixth. The Lady Conqs, however, showed their resilience adding a run in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead at 6-5.
    “You talk about a roller coaster, it was a roller coaster today,” Smith said. “We got up, then our defense goes and then we dropped a pop up and smothered a ball. And I hate to say it, that we were trying to make plays that we shouldn’t of. It just shows that if we put the ball in play, other teams will make mistakes too.”
    That’s exactly what happened as Independence scored two runs in the top of the seventh to make it a 7-6 ball game in its favor. But the Lady Conqs started things off as Jessie Baxter blasted a double off of Love bringing Ward up to the plate with no outs. The outfielder had no problem connecting with a pitch, as she sent it deep into right-center and over the fence for the walk-off home run.
    “I didn’t know what I was going to do with Lilly, because she’s really been swinging the bat well the last week,” Smith said. “And when I got the double from Jess, and I knew she was already in scoring position and I’m going to let Lill swing away. And walk-off home run happens. And that’s a great way to end the conference schedule and go home for Easter.”
    On the afternoon, Ward finished the second game with two hits and three RBI’s. As a team, the Lady Conqs pounded out eight hits, while giving up four errors. Independence had six. Nichols took the win for the team, going all seven innings, giving up eight hits and striking out six.