A late season test
Wildcats, Hurons split twinbill before regional tournament
Alpena and Rogers City are just days away from beginning play in their respective regional tournaments.
The two teams got together and gave each other one final test before the weekend as the Wildcats and Hurons split a doubleheader on Wednesday at Alpena High School.
Abbie Funk came through with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored pinch-runner Allie DeRocher to propel the Wildcats (26-12) to a thrilling 3-2 victory in the opener.
Game two wasn’t nearly as close as Rogers City (31-5) began heating up at the plate and blasted five home runs to earn a 17-1 victory in the nightcap.
“We try to do this every year with Rogers City. We start off the year and try to finish up the year this way. Both teams always give each other a good game and prepare with quality pitching, good defense and good bats. It’s a tune up at the beginning of the season and a tune up at the end,” Alpena coach Paul Marwede said.
The Hurons wasted no time scoring in game one as Taylor Fleming blasted a two out, two run home run.
It were the only two runs that Rogers City would score the rest of the way as Alpena pitcher Jade Schultz settled in and tossed all seven innings, allowing just the two runs on five hits and struck out seven on her way to earning the victory.
The Wildcats scored a run in the first when Emma Fraser led off with a double and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Funk.
Alpena tied the game in the home half of the third when Schultz helped her own cause by belting a solo home run.
Both Schultz and Kyrsten Altman were solid in the circle, but the Wildcats were able to scratch across the winning run in the seventh. Fraser led off frame with a single. DeRocher came in to pinch run and stole second base. Two batters later, Funk hit a one out single up the middle to send DeRocher sliding across home for the game one win.
Fraser had three hits, scored two runs and stole a base. Funk had a pair of hits and two RBI and Riley Alexander collected two hits and stole a base.
“It was well played both ways. We were able to get a leadoff runner on and we chose to steal a base and just the different things that were happening in the game between both teams and situations the teams had to work on will make each team better,” Marwede said.
The nightcap was all Hurons as the hitting was once again contagious as Rogers City scored eight runs in the third and eight runs in the fourth. The Hurons hit five home runs in the game, including a walk-off three run shot by Brooke Daniels as Rogers City needed just four innings to earn the victory.
“Alpena has a great team and it is really good to come over here and we always battle hard with each other and the first game went down to the final inning. I was really happy with how we responded in the second game and I thought our girls came out focused and it was just a good day for ball and I think it’s going to help both teams for Saturday,” Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said. “It felt a lot like tournament ball tonight and we were just really able to hit the ball in the second game and we have to continue that on Saturday, but it’s one pitch at a time, one play at a time and we just have to play our best.”
Altman hit a solo home run in the second to give the Hurons a lead before Alpena things up in the third when Funk doubled and scored on an error.
Rogers City blew the game wide open in the home half of the third when Fleming hit a three run dinger to get the rally started. The Hurons scored eight in the third and eight more in the fourth as Kayla Rabeau hit a grand slam and Fleming followed in up with her third home run of the night, before Daniels ended the game with a three run shot of her own.
“Hitting is contagious and we work a lot on hitting. One girl gets it going and the rest tend to get relaxed, swing at good pitches and good things happened,” Grambau said.
Hannah Fleming finished the game a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Rabeau, Altman and Catheryn Hart each added two hits apiece for the Hurons.
Jayna Hance picked up the victory on the mound, pitching all four innings, allowing one unearned run on just one hit.
Rogers City will travel to Indian River where they will play Pellston at 10 a.m. in a Class D regional semifinal game Saturday.
Alpena will head to Saginaw Valley State University where they will do battle with Lapeer at noon in a regional semifinal contest on Saturday.
Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690.