ROGERS CITY-The Rogers City softball team didn't just win the Straits Area Conference title outright with two wins over Rudyard on Thursday.
The Hurons dominated the day from start to finish and earned the title with a force, pounding out 32 hits against the Bulldogs at Gilpin Field.
Linnea Brege hit her first career home run during a 12-run fourth inning for Rogers City (23-5, 9-1 Straits Area) in the nightcap as the Hurons won 18-2 in four innings and also took the opener 11-3.
News Photo by James Andersen
Rogers City’s Melissa Pomranke (8) slides safety into home plate to beat the throw from Rudyard first baseman Britany Brown, right, to catcher Dom Tremblay during the second inning of a softball game Thursday at Gilpin Field.
Ahead 6-2 entering the fourth inning of the nightcap, the Hurons broke the game wide open, scoring 12 runs on nine hits while sending 15 batters to the plate.
While seven Hurons hitters tallied RBI hits in the inning, it was Brege who came up with the big hit of the inning, sending a pitch over the left field fence for her first-ever home run, which drove in three players.
"It felt so good. I was just thinking, 'I've got to hit a pitch,' because I was in a bit of a slump," Brege said of her home run. "I hadn't got on base in a while and I was like, 'I've got to hit this pitch, I've got to hit a good one,' and I did."
Nikki Radke and Nikkie LaLonde led the Hurons at the plate with three hits and two RBI each; Logan Fleming had three hits; Linnea Brege had two hits and three RBI; Melissa Pomranke had a pair of hits and two RBI; Cassie Brege had two hits and an RBI; Courtney Streich had a hit and three RBI and Brooklyn Idalski had two RBI.
Rudyard managed two runs in the third inning on a pair of RBI hits, but could do little else against Pomranke, who pitched the first three innings striking out four and allowing two runs on four hits. Fleming pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth to end the game.
Rogers City scored three runs in the first inning, added two in the second and added another in the third. After Morgan Hall doubled to begin the fourth inning, the Bulldogs got two outs before the Hurons caught fire in the clutch, with Streich and LaLonde coming up with two-run hits before Linnea Brege's home run.
"We had some good hitting today. We can hit the ball really well. That's how we've been hitting this year and we just want to continue to get better," Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said. "Hitting is contagious. It's like anything else. We starting hitting there and everybody just kept hitting line drives. It was fun."
The Hurons opened the first game with a run after LaLonde doubled in Fleming and then erupted for five runs in the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. Rebecca Meredith had a two-run triple and LaLonde, Fleming and Cassie Brege added RBI hits.
Rudyard tallied a run in the third inning and added two more in the fifth, but not before Rogers City added two runs in the fourth inning on a single from LaLonde.
Rogers City tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning with Streich, LaLonde and Radke picking up RBI hits.
"We worked really hard to get it and it feels so good, especially with our team. We bond so good so it comes full circle," Linnea Brege said. "We tend to do that, we spark each other's bats."
LaLonde was 4-for-4 with five RBI to lead the Hurons; Fleming and Streich each had three hits and an RBI; Meredith and Radke each had an RBI hit and Pomranke and Brenna Hincka each had a hit.
Pomranke earned the win, fanning six while allowing one run on two hits in four innings.
Radke pitched the final two innings and allowed two runs on five hits with two strikeouts.
The Hurons plan to take today off to rest up before heading to a tournament on Saturday, but will keep their focus on finishing the regular season strong as they keep an eye on upcoming district play.
"We're really happy to win the conference outright," Grambau said. "It was a good year in the conference for us and I'm really proud of the girls."