With wins and losses out of the pitcure at this point in the season, the main goal for the Dodge City Community College softball team is to work on the small things in their game that will allow them to be successful in the playoffs, and remain healthy while doing so.


With wins and losses out of the pitcure at this point in the season, the main goal for the Dodge City Community College softball team is to work on the small things in their game that will allow them to be successful in the playoffs, and remain healthy while doing so.
     Friday afternoon's double-header against Garden City may have just put a whole new spin on the Lady Conqs season.
     In a pair of grind it out, smashmouth games, the Conqs pulled out a late rally to win their 23rd game of the season with a 3-2 victory over the Broncbusters in game one, but fell cold in the finale as Garden won 7-1.
     "Things went a lot better today, we gave the kids the day off on Thursday to give them a chance to mentally step back and just kind of enjoy a day where they didn't have anything on their minds," said head coach Howie Smith. "We came out and played our type of softball game, we put the ball in play, we advanced runners, and really got back to doing the things that has made us successful."
     Perhaps most importantly, Dodge City could be looking at their upcoming playoff series without two of their stallworts on the mound, in the field, and in the heart of the batting order.
     In game one, Shelby Dill pitched a masterpiece for the Conqs, tossing a complete game, allowing only two runs, walking just one batter and striking out 10 Broncs.
     Garden City jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first as a double steal of second and home allowed the Broncs to grab the free run, as the Conqs have been focusing on what will make them a better team come postseason, rather than worry about runs.
     However, the Conqs knotted things up in the bottom of the first as Makensy Payne came home on a wild pitch from Garden City. Dodge took the lead in the fourth as Kayli Keate brought hom Dill after she led the inning off with a single.
     But the Broncs tied things up in the top of the sixth thanks to a solo home run. That would all be for naught, as in the bottom of the frame, Rhiannon Beck grounded out to the pitcher with the bases loaded. Her ground out plated Haley Kollenz, which was good enough to give the Conqs the 3-2 victory.
     In the series finale, Dodge City found themselves on the short end of the stick both in offense and in luck, as the bats went cold and the good turned into the ugly.
     Once again, the Broncs scored a run in the top of the first and the Conqs came right back with an answer as Amanda Best powered a ball past the outfield fence to give her another home run for her eye-popping total this season.
     Garden added runs in the second and third innings, as well as three in the sixth to effectively shut down the Conqs' attack. But the story of the day came from Dill and second baseman Sarah Penry, who both left the second game with injuries that could prevent them from finishing out the season.
     Dill, the team's clean-up hitter and one of the best contact batters on the squad, injured her knee when attempting to go for a ball. As for Penry, her injury came when she was going for a groundball late in the second game, where a collision between her and the Garden City runner sent her out with a left shourt injury.
     All that remains for the Conqs is a two game set with Central Christian College on Wednesday at home, and then it's time for their home playoff series, which is most likely against Hesston. Smith says he will get the prognosis for Dill and Penry on Monday, and if necessary, will use the practice time and games against Central to adapt players into their new roles.
     "We did everything today except get through injury free, but that's the game, those things happen and I told the team that we can't worry about it," Smith said. "Our motto all year long has been 'next person up,' and that's what we have to do right now."
     Now the Conqs will look to transform their game for their series against Hesston next weekend, as they will attempt to replace one of their best all-around players.
     "We went from a power-hitting team that didn't bunt a whole lot, to now we're going to have to really re-evaluate and re-examine what we're going to become," Smith said. "Against Central we'll look to improve our short game and allow those new defensive players 14 innings to work on their new spots."
     The contest against Central Christian is set to begin at 3 p.m., with the series finale scheduled for a first pitch of 5 p.m. at Legends Field.