Sweeping seniors: Gremlins win two for senior teammates in sweep of Hematites
LAKE LINDEN — The Houghton Gremlins softball team earn two wins in doubleheader play against the visiting Ishpeming Hematites, 5-2 and 12-4, at the Boneyard in Lake Linden.
Houghton’s Kricia Jenkins got a light touch to second base, sending McKenna Foster in the top of the second inning for a 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the third, senior Cassidy Becia hit a line drive towards first to score two runs from Ally Ronis and Josie Connors to extend Houghton’s lead to 3-0. The Gremlins were not done yet as Becia scored on a sacrifice and Molly Bugni struck on a double to center field to build a 5-0 lead.
“The first game, Josie (Connors) pitched an awesome game (and) hit all of her spots like she was supposed to,” said Gremlins manager Melissa Baker. “We started putting some hits together as a team to get some runs.”
Ishpeming’s Willow LaChapelle hit the right side out field to send Madison Precek home and get the Hematites on the board.
Houghton was held off the board in the top of the fourth and Myah Mcnob of Ishpeming scored off a line drive to right to cut the hosts’ lead to three, 5-2.
“That first game was a well-played game,” Hematites manager Ben McGuire said. “Good pitching on both sides. We just didn’t hit the ball. I think we had six hits. We didn’t hit the ball hard. We put the ball into play, but we really didn’t hit it hard (so) we need to get more consistent doing that.”
The Hematites were up to bat first in the second game and wasted no time stringing hits together. Precek and LaChapelle both touched home back-to-back and jumped ahead 2-0 for their only lead of the night.
Bugni hit a ground ball to left allowing Connors to run home and put Houghton on the board. Ishpeming was held in the top of the second before Foster slid home off of a dropped ball with bases loaded to even the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning.
Houghton pulled ahead after a hit by Quinn Donnelly was dropped for a triple. Bugni scored on the play. Houghton would add four more runs from Donnelly, Isabelle Cleary, Foster and Jenkins for a 7-2 advantage.
Connors made short work of the Hematites in the top of the fourth en route to a 15- strikeout game.
“In the second game, they came out strong with their bats and we answered back,” Baker said. “Josie pitched another good game but she had fielders to back her up.
“In the third inning we had hits that we put together and we were aggressive on the bases and made some things happen with that.”
The Hematites made a slight comeback in the top of the fifth inning when Precek slid home off a dropped ball and LaChapelle ran home off a fly ball.
“(It was) a lot more of the same thing,” said McGuire. “Defensively, we had a couple of lapses and that hurt us. Pitching was pretty decent. We didn’t hit the ball like we’re capable of. A few people did, but we’ve got to get more consistent (from) top to bottom in the batting order.
“I have a freshman pitcher and a freshman catcher and that was the first time that our pitcher threw both games. I thought she did pretty well. (She) hung in there and threw some really good pitches. Other than that, we’ve got a lot of work to do before districts. We’ve got six games left.”
Houghton’s Madi Williston, Ally Ronis, Becia and Connors all touched home plate for a 12-4 victory before the team recognized the three senior athletes.
“We have three seniors and we’re going to miss all three of them,” said Baker. “Once Cassidy (Becia) is gone in that outfield, we’re going to have some shoes to fill there.
“They’ve been awesome leaders on and off the field.”