Alpena celebrates Senior Day with victory

There is no better way to celebrate senior day than by sweeping a conference rival and that’s exactly what the Alpena softball team did on Thursday as the Wildcats kept their Big North Conference title hopes alive against Traverse City Central.

The Wildcats took game one by a score of 4-0 behind another dominant pitching performance from senior Lauren Heath who tossed a one-hit shutout, while striking out nine in earning the victory.

Alpena opened the scoring in the second inning when Emma Fraser hit a two-out RBI double that scored Jordan Modrzynski. Fraser later scored on bunt single off the bat of Alexis Smith. The Wildcats added a third run on an error as Smith came around to score.

Alpena added another run in in the fifth after Lizzy Kendziorski hit a hustle double down the left field line and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Fraser.

Kendziorski went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate. Fraser collected two RBI and Smith went 2-for-2.

“We had good pitching, timely hitting and solid defense which added up to a solid win. We had seven seniors which is quite a few for a high school softball team and I’m really proud of every one of those kids. They have worked so hard and have been so dedicated,” Alpena coach Paul Marwede said.

This group of seniors that includes Heath, Modrzynski, Smith, Jenna VanDusen, Mary Schimmel, Elise Leeck and Mykayla Price has been a special group that have won a Big North Conference title in each year that they have been on the team and they are going for another this year.

Alpena got off to rocky start early in the first inning of game two as the Trojans jumped out to a three run lead. That would quickly be erased as the Wildcats batted around the order to take the lead right back scoring six in the inning. The big hit came from Modrzynski who hit a bases clearing double to tie the game.

Alpena added another run in the second inning as VanDusen hit a leadoff double and came around to score on a single by Mary Schimmel.

Traverse City added two more runs in the third inning to cut into the lead, but the weather delayed the rest of the game at the start of the fourth inning.

“We started out a little sloppy, but the good thing is we are up 7-5. It was key for us to battled back and we responded well. The game will be picked up from that point starting the fourth inning and there is a good chance it will be picked up after most of the other conference games so we’ll know where stand in the conference standings,” Marwede said.

The Wildcats will have some time off before they play their final BNC doubleheader of the season against Traverse City West.

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.