After a rough Tuesday series against No. 4 Butler, the No. 18 Labette Cardinals returned to Kansas Jayhawk Conference play on Thursday with a 9-0, 10-1 sweep of the Fort Scott Greyhounds in Parsons on Thursday.
Both games ended early to the run rule as Labette’s offense exploded multiple times. The Cardinals ended Game 2 in the sixth inning with seven runs, capped off by a three-run home run from first baseman Grey Holland.
“We got stagnant in the middle of the second game,” Phillips said. “We hit a switch and decided to hit all in one innings. Which is nice, I’ll never be upset with putting up some runs. But it took us a bit to get in a groove in Game 2.”
Jadeyn Wyrick allowed two hits in a complete game shutout in Game 1 for the Cardinals. Layney Steging earned yet another win in relief in Game 2, last 3.2 innings and allowing no hits and no runs.
Steging entered a bases loaded, one out jam in the third inning and escaped without any damage.
“That’s a big turning point,” Phillips said. “If they come up with a hit, they score two and we’re battling from behind. But she shuts them down and that’s a huge momentum shift for us.”
Steging has proven to be the make-it-stop pitcher out of the bullpen for Labette.
“We’re trying to test some things out,” Phillips said. “I’d like to see her do some things in a starting role. But she does a great job shutting it down in relief. As of now, that’s where she’s shown her most consistent productivity.”
Labette’s heart of the lineup shined on Thursday. Catcher Coralys Santiago-Pomales notched five runs, four hits and two RBI while Holland had four RBI and three hits.
Hallee Boyd also had a two-hit, two-RBI game in the second tilt while Chloee Sams had a team-high five hits in the series.
“We’ve got several hitters that looked really good,” Phillips said. “(Coralys and Grey) seem to be the most consistent when it comes to power numbers. It’s nice to have a little pop in the middle of the lineup. They always have big, key hits.”
Labette’s normal starter at center field, Morgan Schmidt, missed her third straight series with an injury.
“She’s our tone-setter in the offensive lineup,” Phillips said. “She gives us a lot of versatility. We have to move a couple people to put somebody else out there defensively. We don’t want to push her too quick. But we need her back.”
Labette’s two wins improve the Cardinals’ record to 18-10 overall and 9-1 in KJCCC play while Fort Scott dipped to 1-29 and 1-13 respectively.
The Cardinals were coming off two run-rule losses to Butler, an on-paper contender for the NJCAA Division I national title, on Tuesday.
“We made a lot of silly mistakes that compounded,” Phillips said. “They’re tough in the circle, they can hit and are well rounded as a team. But I’m tired of saying that they’re a good team. We’ll have to beat those type of teams at the national tournament.”
Labette heads north to face Allen on Saturday.
“They’re always gritty and a team that puts the ball in play to put pressure on you,” Phillips said. “They’ll hang around. We’ve got to be able to hit and execute on the defensive side.”
NO. 18 LABETTE VS. FORT SCOTT
Labette 9, Fort Scott 0 (5 inn.)
Fort Scott: 000 00 — 0
Labette: 204 3x — 9
Labette: Keira Jackson 1 R; Coralys Santiago-Pomales 2 H, 3 R, 2 RBI; Grey Holland 2 H, 2 R, 2 RBI; Chloee Sams 2 H, 2 RBI; Karlee Kinder 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Natalie Oxendine 1 H, 1 RBI; Megan Scyrkels 1 R; Jadeyn Wyrick (W) 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Fort Scott: Tittle 1 H; Clark 2 H; Jennings (L) 3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K; Whisenhunt 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Labette 10, Fort Scott 1 (6 inn.)
Fort Scott: 100 000 — 1
Labette: 012 007 — 10
Labette: Halen Boyd 2 H, 2 R, 2 RBI; Coralys Santiago-Pomales 2 H, 2 R; Grey Holland 1 H, 1 R, 3 RBI; Winter Snyder 1 R; Kelly Hipsher 1 H; Chloee Sams 3 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Makayla Davis 2 H, 1 R; Natalie Oxendine 2 H, 1 R, 4 RBI; Sunny Crawford 1 R; Layney Steging (W) 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K; Katelyn Kotlarz 2.3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Fort Scott: Sample 1 R; Maple 2 H; Clark 1 H, 1 RBI; Whisenhunt 1 H; Whisenhunt (L) 3.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K; Boydston 2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K