Sophomore Sadie Loney struck out eight in four innings in a 9-2 Blue Dragon win in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the Independence Pirates on Tuesday at Fun Valley. (Photo by Billy Watson)
Sophomore Sadie Loney struck out eight in four innings in a 9-2 Blue Dragon win in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the Independence Pirates on Tuesday at Fun Valley. (Photo by Billy Watson)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

The Hutchinson Community College softball team earned a doubleheader sweep of the Independence Pirates on Tuesday at Fun Valley, doing so in two completely different ways.

Sophomore pitcher Sadie Loney struck out eight in four innings as the Blue Dragons pounded out 14 hits in a 9-2 victory in Game 1. The Blue Dragons then had to rally from an early five-run deficit in Game 2, only to build a three-run lead and then hold on for an 8-7 win over the Pirates.

The Blue Dragons start the season 4-0 with the next two weekends to be spent in Texas. This weekend, Hutchison will play four games in the Grayson County Tournament in Dennison, Texas. The Blue Dragons play NOC-Enid and No. 3 Grayson on Friday and Weatherford and Vernon on Saturday.

Loney had a strong outing in the pitcher's circle and was staked to six early runs over the first three innings as the Blue Dragons out-hit the Pirates 14-3 in the opening game.

Working the first four innings, Loney struck out eight, including five in a row, striking out the side in the second inning. Loney (2-0) earned her 12th career pitching win allowing only one run – a wind-aided home run to Cheyenne Henry in the fourth – two hits and one walk.

Offensively, Carley Sterneker's two-run first-inning double capped a three-run first and started a run of six unanswered runs over the first three innings by the Blue Dragons. Leadoff hitter Ella Dougherty added a ground-rule RBI double in the second and two runs scored on an Easton Swanson fielder's choice in the third.

The Blue Dragons scored at least one run in 5 of their 6 offensive innings.

Dougherty posted her first career four-hit game, going 4 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. Sterneker, Aspen Goetz and Swanson all had two hits each in the opening game.

Emily Munson worked two innings of relief in the pitcher's circle. She gave up one earned run and walked two with a strikeout. Riley Wertz closed out the game with two strikeouts in a perfect seventh.

The Blue Dragons trailed in a game for the first time this season after giving up five runs, all with two out, in the Pirate second inning.

After stranding five runners on base in the first two innings, the Blue Dragons finally started the comeback with a two-run Goetz single in the third. The Dragons cut it to 5-3 when Dougherty scored from first on a Haley Miller sacrifice bunt and errant Pirate throw.

Then there was a bizarre fifth inning for Hutchinson.

Wertz led off with a walk and went all the way to third after Allie Stipsits' line-drive to center field was misplayed and rolled all the way to the fence. The Dragons then loaded the bases on a nine-pitch walk to Lexie Pitcher. After a Pirate pitching change, the Dragons cut the Indy lead to one run on a bases-loaded hit-by-hit to Dougherty and tied the game at 5-5 when pinch-runner Cheyenne Collins scored on a wild pitch. Hutch took the lead when Miller laced an RBI double to right-center and Madison Grimes singled up the middle. The five-run inning was capped when Miller scored on another wild pitch for an 8-5 Blue Dragon lead.

The Dragons looked to finally be in control after Wertz, who entered the game in the top of the fifth, struck out the side in the sixth. Wertz gave up a leadoff single to Sarena Sanders to start the seventh. She was at third with two out and the Pirates' Kenna Ferguson, who was down to her last strike, hit a two-run homer to left to cut the Dragon lead to 8-7. Wertz then closed out her first career pitching win with a strikeout of Parker Moore.

The Blue Dragons had nine hits in Game 2 led by Miller's 3-for-3 performance. Grimes was 2 for 2 with two walks. The Blue Dragons stranded a season-high 10 runners on base.

Relief pitcher Kiersten Weitze was an unsung hero for the Blue Dragons. She got the final out of the five-run Pirate second inning and worked 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief with two hits allowed and four strikeouts. Wertz (1-0) struck out seven in the final three innings.

Morgan Pennycuff started and worked the first 1 2-3 innings.