News Sports Editor
News Photo by James Andersen
Cadillac’s Marianna Smith (17) slides into home plate, beating a tag from Alpena catcher Caten Teff during the first game of a softball doubleheader on Tuesday at Alpena High School.
The Alpena softball team did a lot of good things on Tuesday against Cadillac: the Wildcats hit the ball hard, made some solid defensive plays and rallied back from a deficit.
About the only thing Alpena didn't do was pull out two wins, settling instead for a split with the Vikings. Alpena rallied back to take the first game 7-5 and lost the second game 6-2.
"We did some nice things, but we also ran ourselves out of a few innings. Some of it was (that) we hit the ball hard into line drive double plays and the other half of is our runners didn't check up and they ran into that double play," Alpena coach Paul Marwede said. "It's a double-edged sword, we hit the ball hard in spurts, but sometimes we didn't have very much to show for it."
Cadillac broke a 2-2 tie in the opener with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Mary Emington started things off with an RBI triple and Alicia Poloski followed behind her with a two-run home run to left field. The Vikings left two more runners in scoring position after Marianna Smith grounded out.
The deficit lit a fire under Alpena (14-8, 8-1 Big North), who tallied five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Jenna VanDusen began the rally with a one-out, two-run double and Brenna Bourdage drove in two more runs with a home run to center field. Abby MacArthur singled in Alex Peters for another run and Alpena ended its turn at the plate with a 7-5 lead.
The Vikings managed just one base runner in the final two innings and went 1-2-3 in the final inning as Alpena hung on for the win.
Peters got off to a hot start on the mound, striking out the first five batters she faced. She finished with nine strikeouts, walked three, gave up five runs and scattered five hits.
Alpena scattered eight hits and Bourdage had two.
The Wildcats scored two runs in the first inning and Cadillac answered with two runs in the second inning after a two-run double from Jodi VanPelt.
Alpena scattered eight hits in the nightcap, but couldn't always tally the runs to go with it. Alex Peters led Alpena with two hits.
VanDusen doubled in Logan Myers in the first inning of the nightcap and MacArthur singled in Teff in the fourth inning.
Cadillac took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning after an RBI single from Emily Orcutt and the Vikings took firm control of the game in the next inning, scoring three times. Alayna Hess had an RBI triple and later scored on a fielder's choice. Cadillac also scored a run on a passed ball.
Alpena had three hits in the last three innings and stranded a pair of base runners. The Wildcats got two hits in the final inning, but sent just four batters to the plate.
"We hit the ball hard, but sometimes it ended up as a line out in the book. That happened to us 5-6 times today and the wind help up a couple balls," Marwede said. "I think we probably should've had a few more runs on the board than what Mother Nature gave us, but that's the way it goes."
Corinn Gehrke pitched for Alpena and allowed six runs, six hits, walked three and struck out 11.
Katlyn Agren pitched both games for Cadillac and allowed two runs on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts in the second game.
Alpena heads to the Pinconning Tournament on Saturday and will return home next Tuesday for a doubleheader against Traverse City West.
This weekend's action will mark Alpena's third straight weekend of tournament play and Marwede is looking for his team to continue to hit the ball well.
"We'll see good pitching, faster, more power pitching, inside-the-zone type pitching. We'll see if we can continue to hit well there and cut down on our strikeouts," Marwede said.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.