Steady as they go
Consistency helps Wildcats beat Garden City
Consistency at the plate and in the field helped the Alpena High softball team to a win against a familiar opponent on Friday.
Rachel McDonald hit a two-run home run to right field and the Wildcats defeated Garden City 9-2 at Alpena High School.
Alpena (15-4) scored in all but one inning and won after scoring two runs in four separate innings.
McDonald’s blast came with one out in the fifth inning, scoring Riley Alexander to give Alpena a 7-2 lead. In the sixth inning, Alpena plated two more runs after Allie DeRocher and Alexander both hit RBI singles.
Alpena starter Emma Fraser threw five strong innings for the Wildcats before Lilly Lewis closed the game out. Fraser allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Lewis allowed two hits, walked two and struck out three.
The two teams faced off in the 2008 Division 1 final with Garden City winning 2-1. In recent years however, Alpena has had Garden City’s number, outscoring the Cougars 68-19 in the last seven matchups.
The Wildcats led 5-0 after three innings on Friday and withstood several attempts by the Cougars to rally with solid pitching and good defensive play. The Cougars were limited to six hits for the game and stranded nine runners.
Garden City struck together three two-out hits in fourth inning, including back-to-back RBI doubles Stephanie Arnold and Emma Gausden to score twice, making it 5-2. The Cougars loaded the bases after scoring, but Alpena got out of the jam on a fielder’s choice.
Garden City loaded the bases again with two outs in the sixth inning, but the Wildcats got out of a jam again when Lewis recovered on a liner back to the mound and tossed to first base to end the inning.
The Wildcats started strong with two runs in each of the first two innings. In the first inning, Sydney Chojnacki singled home Abbie Funk and Corine Donajkowski scored Kali Spomer on a groundout. In the second inning, Funk scored on a passed ball and Fraser singled to score Maddy Saddler.
Funk singled in Aubree Sheldon in the third inning to give Alpena a 5-0 lead.
Fraser led Alpena with three hits and an RBI; Alexander had two hits and an RBI; Jade Schultz had two hits; McDonald had a hit and two RBI and Funk, Chojnacki and DeRocher each had a hit and an RBI.
Alpena will host its annual tournament on Saturday. Alpena will play Grand Blanc at 10 a.m., Clarkston at noon and Garden City at 2 p.m.
On Alpena’s JV field, Clarkston will play Garden City at 10 a.m., Garden City will play Grand Blanc at noon and Grand Blanc will play Clarkston at 2 p.m.