Playing at home hasn't been kind to the Alpena Community College softball team this season.
It wasn't any kinder on Wednesday as the Lumberjacks dropped two games to Oakland, 11-7 and 9-2, in their regular season finale to finish with a 3-9 record at home.
Brittany Maki took both losses for ACC, who finished the regular season with a six-game losing streak and will face Oakland again next Wednesday in Battle Creek to begin the NJCAA playoffs.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Rachael Barnes (1) waits for a pitch during the first game of a softball doubleheader against Oakland on Wednesday. ACC lost to games to the Raiders in its regular season finale.
"These home games have been pretty brutal on us. Really not the way we wanted to end the regular season. (We've got) a lot of injuries right now. Not using that as an excuse, but it's really got to hurt us," ACC coach Pat Anderson said.
The Lumberjacks (13-11) fell behind early in the opener as Oakland charged out to a 6-0 lead after two innings.
ACC cut into Oakland's lead in the third inning with two runs after Maki had a sacrifice fly and Lindsay Ponik had an RBI double.
The Raiders gained the runs back in the fourth inning on a pair of RBI hits and then added two more runs in the fifth inning.
The Lumberjacks' bats finally came alive in the fifth inning as they tallied four runs. Ponik came up with the big hit of the inning, knocking in three runs with a double. Brianna Grimm added an RBI single before the end of the inning.
ACC loaded the bases again after Grimm singled and Christina Bednarski walked, but Oakland got Karena Hipkins to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"We did come back and had fought back, but we still had a lot of opportunities to come back and even win that game because we had bases loaded a couple times in each game and just couldn't deliver," Anderson said.
The Lumberjacks loaded the bases again in the sixth inning with two outs before Kasi Swajanen hit a deep fly ball to right field to end the threat.
Bednarski added an RBI single in the seventh inning to score Grimm for ACC's final run.
Ponik led ACC with two hits and four RBI; Ondreya Willis and Rachael Barnes each had two hits and Lauren Seibert and Barnes each scored twice.
The Raiders jumped out to an early lead again in the second game after Carly Shattleroe hit a three-run home run to center field. Oakland then added two runs each in the third and fourth innings.
"Their team hit the ball well. We didn't hit our spots well with pitching and teams are going to do that to you," Anderson said.
The Lumberjacks finally got on the board in the fourth inning after RBI singles from Ponik and Hipkins, but left the bases loaded. They suffered the same fate in the sixth inning and went hitless in the seventh inning.
Ponik and Hipkins each had two hits and an RBI to lead ACC. Oakland scattered 16 hits off of Maki and Ponik and added a run in the fifth inning on a solo shot from Jessica Sherman.
ACC swept Oakland to begin the season and started with a 9-1 record in its first 10 games. Since then however, it's gone 4-10 with nine of the losses coming at home and finished fourth in the MCCAA Eastern Conference.
The Lumberjacks, who have battled injuries as of late, will rest up before heading to Battle Creek where they'll need to beat the Raiders again if they want to move on.
"We need to rest right now with four or five people being hurt right now, we're going to take a couple of days off and then we'll probably get back to work Saturday," Anderson said.