The Alpena softball team found the perfect remedy to break its three-game losing streak on Tuesday.
Backed by outstanding defense and contributions from everyone at the plate, the Wildcats picked up two Big North Conference wins against Ogemaw Heights, winning 9-1 and 7-0.
Alpena held Hits for Hope Day on Tuesday, wearing pink T-shirts in support of breast cancer awareness and prevention.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Brenna Bourdage is mobbed by her teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the second game of a softball doubleheader against Ogemaw Heights on Tuesday at Alpena High School. Bourdage’s home run gave Alpena an 8-0 lead in the sixth inning.
After a lengthy defensive battle, the Wildcats (13-8, 6-0 Big North) broke the first game open in the sixth inning, scoring eight runs on five hits. Bourdage led off the inning with a single and then capped Alpena's scoring when she launched a three-run home run off the scoreboard in centerfield to give Alpena an 8-0 lead.
"It felt so good because I've been having really good hits all year and that one, it just felt great," Bourdage said.
In between Bourdage's at-bats, Alpena collected three other hits and Kelli Stevens, Logan Myers, Alex Peters and Abby MacArthur each had an RBI.
"It was awesome because we got hitting and there was no stopping us and our defense stepped up too," Alpena pitcher Laura Lewis said.
Bourdage and Caten Teff led Alpena with two hits each.
The Wildcats scored a run in the second inning when Myers doubled in Teff, but the game was largely about defense with both teams collecting just two hits each through the first six innings.
Kayla Marshall made two big catches for the Falcons in the third inning to rob Alpena of hits and Claire Coopes-Meske came up with some big grabs of her own for Alpena in right field.
Lewis earned the win for Alpena allowing two hits and fanning two in six innings before being relieved by Corinn Gehrke.
Jena Noble scored Ogemaw's only run in the seventh inning and Makayla Brindley took the loss for the Falcons on the mound.
Lewis allowed just one hit through four innings in the nightcap and the Wildcats' offense backed her at the plate, with another big inning, scoring four runs in the fifth inning.
Bourdage led off the inning with a double and was driven in by Rhianna Adams. Stevens followed with an RBI single and Teff had an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Lewis scored the final run of the inning to give Alpena a 6-0 lead.
Ogemaw loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but left them loaded after Lewis struck out Brindley and Alpena got the final two outs on a steal attempt and a fielder's choice.
Lewis finished with three strikeouts and allowed four hits in seven innings.
Lewis singled in MacArthur in the second inning to give Alpena a 1-0 lead and the Wildcats added one run apiece in the fourth and seventh innings. Myers had a sacrifice fly to score Teff in the fourth inning and MacArthur had an RBI in the seventh to score Myers.
Lewis, Coopes-Meske, Bourdage, Adams, Stevens, Teff and Myers each had a hit for Alpena who will look to keep its hitting going on Thursday at home against Gaylord.
"It was such a confidence booster," Bourdage said of Tuesday's wins. "We came out, we were hitting right away, we had awesome defense and everything was just going perfect."