A weekend that had been largely a disappointment for the Alpena Community College softball team, ended on a good note on Sunday.
Although they struggled in the opener, the Lumberjacks rebounded and used solid hitting, pitching and fielding to split a softball doubleheader with Mott.
Alpena lost the first game 4-3 and won the second game 4-3. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Lumberjacks.
News Photo by James Andersen
ACC’s Karena Hipkins runs toward third base as Mott’s Allie Newman prepares to make a catch during a softball game Sunday in Alpena. Hipkins was called out on the play.
Mott jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second game after Emily Ockerman hit an RBI double and later scored on an error.
From there however, the game belonged largely to the Lumberjacks (10-4). ACC erupted for four runs on seven hits in the top of the second inning as Lauren Seibert, Karena Hipkins, Kasi Swajanen and Greta Grambau all had RBI.
Brianna Grimm led off the inning with a triple and was driven home by Hipkins. After Ondreya Willis singled, Grambau hit a sacrifice fly to score Hipkins. Two batters later, Seibert drove in Willis with a single and Swajanen followed soon after with a single to score Rachael Barnes.
Behind the pitching of Lindsay Ponik, the Lumberjacks allowed just one run and three hits after the first inning. Mott collected a run in the third inning after another RBI double by Ockerman.
It was a good boost of momentum for the Lumberjacks who were swept by the Bears 6-4 and 2-1 in a doubleheader on Saturday.
"I really believe it pumped the girls up, this win. It showed that we can beat the top teams," ACC head coach Pat Anderson said. "It also showed that by playing a pretty solid ball game, the only people that are going to beat us is ourselves."
The second inning would prove to be ACC's only inning of offense as Ashley Mousseau shut them down the rest of the way, but ended up with the loss.
Swajanen led the Lumberjacks with two hits.
Late mistakes and missed chances cost ACC a win in the opener as the Bears came up with some timely hits in extra innings.
Trailing 3-1 with two outs in the seventh inning and with two runners on base, Jamie Howell ripped a triple to right field to drive in two runs and tie the game.
After Mott left the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Howell walked with one out in the ninth and later crossed home plate for the winning run after an RBI double from Mikayla Smith.
"(I was) very, very disappointed in that first game," Anderson said. "We just didn't do the little things to win that ball game; keep the ball in front of us, baserunning, mental errors on the base paths. When you don't do those little things, good teams like Mott will beat you."
The Lumberjacks scattered 16 hits off of Bears pitcher Briana Hicks, but managed only two in extra innings.
Mott took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Alpena came back to tie the game in the third inning after Brittany Maki singled to score Seibert.
An RBI single from Ponik in the fifth inning scored Seibert again to put Alpena ahead 2-1 and the Lumberjacks added a third run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Grimm which scored Swajanen.
Ponik and Christina Bednarski had three hits each to lead Alpena and Maki took the loss on the mound.
Mott went quietly in each inning until the seventh, when two singles sent Howell to the plate as the winning run before she was left on base.
Two singles and an error allowed Mott to load the bases with no outs in the eighth, but Maki induced two flyouts and a groundout to escape the jam.
After starting the season 9-1, Alpena has hit a bit of a rough patch in its last few games, but Anderson believes his team his on the rebound after Sunday's win.
"We've been in a bit of a slump lately as far as hitting, but during the last four games, we've made strides in every game to get better," Anderson said. "We hit the ball pretty well here this second game and I've got to believe we're on the rebound."