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Big hits propel hot-hitting Owls past Vikings

News Photo by James Andersen Posen pitcher Arianne Chojnacki winds up to throw during the first game of a doubleheader against Oscoda on Monday at Posen High School.

POSEN–All winter long, the Oscoda softball team put a lot of time into making contact at the plate.

Practice paid off for the Owls in a big way on Monday as they took a doubleheader from Posen, winning 11-0 and 24-4 (three innings).

Spurred on three home runs, the Owls took the fight to the Vikings early, staying patient at the plate and waiting for good pitches to hit.

“We hit the ball well one through nine. We were squaring the ball up and hitting the ball into the gaps and that’s big,” Oscoda coach Mark Whatley said. ” We’re in Northern Michigan and all winter long we’ve been in the gym. We’ve got a lot of swings in.”

Sam Lamrock and Jessica Ridgway each hit their first career home run and Oscoda (3-3) collected 22 hits to improve to 3-1 in North Star League play.

Oscoda was consistent at the plate all day and scored at least two runs in each of the last five innings of the opener. A two-run homer from Lamrock gave Oscoda a 3-0 lead after three innings and the Owls took advantage of some errors to add four runs in the fourth inning.

Ridgway added a two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning to put Oscoda up 9-0 and the Owls scored twice more in their final turn at the plate.

“That was kind of fun,” Whatley said of the home runs. “That’s what it does, it lights up the team.”

Lamrock had two hits and two RBIs for the Owls and Katie Cox had two hits and an RBI.

Lexi Johnson earned the win for Oscoda, striking out six and walking one while allowing four hits. She retired 10 straight batters during one stretch and limited Posen to two hits over the first five innings.

“Lexi threw really well. She had a great curve ball (and) great control of her curve ball,” Whatley said. “She had a good add-on fastball and we could pick our spots and put them where we wanted today.”

Brooke Ciarkowski led Posen (4-2) with two hits and Arianne Chojnacki took the loss.

Lamrock homered again in the second game, hitting a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the first inning to give Oscoda a 5-0 lead. Cox had a three-run triple later in the inning and the Owls led 10-0 before Posen stepped to the plate in the nightcap.

While the Vikings made better contact in the second game against Oscoda pitcher Briannah Conly, they continued to struggle defensively and on the mound. The Owls took advantage of 13 walks in the second game, many coming with the bases loaded and continued to hit the ball out of the reach of Posen’s fielders.

“We’ve just come back to work harder. We haven’t been outside a lot so that showed on the defense,” Posen coach Wayne Karsten said. “I told them just come back to practice and work harder every day.”

Chojnacki singled home Hannah Stone in the bottom of the first inning and later scored on an error to make it 10-2. Posen added two more runs in the second inning on a two-run single by Stone, but the Vikings were held in check the rest of the way.

“You’d like to see them a little bit closer, but definitely better caliber teams let you know what you need to work on,” Karsten said.

Oscoda scored nine more runs in the second inning with Conly and Cox both collecting two-run singles. The Owls added five more runs in the third inning with several players earning RBIs on bases-loaded walks.

Cox led Oscoda with three hits and six RBIs; Conly had two hits and two RBIs; Skylar Barnes had two hits and an RBI and Lamrock had four RBIs.

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

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