Team effort leads Alpena softball past Gaylord

A total team effort carried the Alpena High softball team to success on Tuesday.

Nearly every player on Alpena’s roster got a hit in the Wildcats’ two Big North Conference wins over Gaylord and every player had an RBI or scored a run.

Added all up it equaled two wins over the Blue Devils; Alpena won 10-2 in the opener and 15-0 (three innings) in the nightcap.

“We had nice weather here in Alpena this afternoon and our kids came out with a relaxed attitude. A lot of them working on some individual things that may have (had them) snakebit(ten) over the last few games,” Alpena coach Paul Marwede said. “We put those things into action and we were able to put a lot of runners on base and play good defense.”

With a focused approach at the plate, the Wildcats collected 11 hits in the second game and used their speed to their advantage on the basepaths.

Jenna VanDusen started the scoring off for Alpena in the first inning after she walked and later scored after stealing her way home. Alpena scored twice in the first inning and added four five more runs in the second inning.

The Wildcats added eight more in the third inning to win via-mercy rule and many of the runs came simply from playing station-to-station softball. Of Alpena’s 11 hits, only one went for extra bases and six different players had RBI singles.

Ahead 7-0 after two innings, Alpena sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning to finish off the game. Eight of the first nine batters scored a run and four of those came on RBI singles. Alexis Smith and Taylor Kunath drew bases-loaded walks to score two more runs.

Alyssa Gehrke had two hits and two RBI for Alpena and VanDusen had two hits and an RBI; Jordan Modrzynski had two hits and Kunath, Jessica Marwede, Mary Schimmel and Elise Leeck all had a hit and an RBI. Mykayla Price had a hit and two RBI.

“We talked about doing things individually where you think you need to work on some of your attributes. (We knew we would) come together as a team and everybody played a lot today,” Marwede said. “Everybody got to contribute today and everyone got to a big part of the team.”

After a quick first inning from Lauren Heath, Emma Fraser took over pitching duties for Alpena and allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one.

Heath pitched the first two innings of the opener before Price finished the game. Heath scattered two hits and struck out four. Price allowed two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

With many of the starters resting for the second game, Alpena’s reserves took care of business on offense and defense. Alpena went scoreless during the first inning, but scored at least one run in each of the next six innings while scattering 12 hits.

Price’s two-run home run in the third inning gave Alpena a 4-0 lead and seemed to fuel the Wildcats’ offense. Alpena added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout from Fraser and collected four more runs in the fifth inning.

Jasmyn Schultz had an RBI single in the fifth inning and Alpena earned two runs thanks to heads up base running after Schultz stole home and Gehrke scored on an error.

Schultz added another RBI single in the seventh inning to compete Alpena’s scoring.

Price had three hits and two RBI and Schultz had four hits and two RBI; Gehrke, Fraser and Kunath each had a hit and an RBI.

Alpena will play two games at home on Friday: a 4:30 p.m. matchup against Garden City and a 6:30 p.m. matchup against Escanaba. The game against Garden City pits the Wildcats in a rematch of the 2008 Division 1 state championship game and Marwede said he’s looking forward to the matchup.

“Garden City will be fun. Coach Barry (Patterson) and I, we’ve been at it (coaching) for awhile and sometimes your networking (makes these games happen),” Marwede said. “We’ve been sharing stories from 2008 and it’s great they’re coming up here.”

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.