NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder softball climbed back on top of the Region XVI standings with a sweep of Three Rivers.
On Monday, the Roughriders swept a home doubleheader against the Lady Raiders, winning the first game, 11-2, and the second, 12-0.
The second game marks the first time Three Rivers has been shutout since May 16 of last season in the NJCAA World Series against College of Southern Idaho.
"It was disaster all day," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "We didn't show up. We got down 4-0 in the first inning both games, just kind of set the tone. The wind blew about 30 mph. It was just brutal. We struggled."
Bailey Buffington pitched all five innings in game one and held the Lady Raiders to three hits and two earned runs, striking out 10. It was Buffington's sixth time striking out 10 or more batters this season.
"They made plays," Null said. "We hit a few balls at them, it was just kind of rough. I told them after the game, I said, 'Hey. This is our one day.' Everybody seems to have a day where nothing goes right, and we picked a bad time to do it against a good team."
Offensively, No. 12 Crowder (46-2, 18-2 Region XVI) generated four runs in the first inning to build a sizeable lead early on. Three Rivers committed a pair of errors in the inning, finishing with two in the game.
The Lady Raiders (30-5, 15-3 Region XVI) broke through with a run in the third inning. Mary Yandell was hit by a pitch and was moved to second base by a bunt. Katie Young drove her home with an RBI single. Young made her way into scoring position by stealing second but got stranded after a strikeout ended the inning.
No. 20 Three Rivers cut the lead in half in the fourth inning when Kryslyn Colvin hit an RBI double to score Allison Pingel. Crowder responded quickly in the fourth, scoring seven runs to put the game out of reach and end it via run-rule. At one point, Crowder connected on two straight doubles and followed with two straight home runs to score all seven runs in seven pitches.
The Lady Raiders had a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage on a rundown between home and third, but the runner was called safe on the tag, scoring a run.
"We just didn't make plays," Null said. "I don't even know. … Everything snowballed all day. It was just one of those days. Nothing went right."
Abbey Gann had a rare off-day in the circle. She pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed 11 hits and 11 runs, 10 earned. She also struck out four and gave up a walk.
Adrienne Stucker pitched the final 2/3 innings, striking out one without allowing a hit.
Crowder again came out strong in game two. The Roughriders put four runs on the board in the first inning and eventually ended the game in five innings to finish the day.
Three Rivers will look to rebound with a visit to State Fair on Tuesday. Opening pitch of the region doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m.
"I expect us to be totally better," Null said. "Everybody kind of felt like it was on them. Nobody had a real great day today, so everybody's kind of hungry to get back and get another chance at it."
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic