Though the Chargers softball team’s six-game winning streak ended over the weekend, the team swept the Northwood Timberwolves and split with the GLIAC-leading Saginaw Valley Cardinals for a 3 – 1 weekend.
Hillsdale held Northwood to five innings in game one, taking an early lead and a final score of 10 – 1. The Charger scoring started in the top of the second, when freshman outfielder Victoria Addis drew a walk. A two-RBI single by freshman catcher Sydney San Juan scored sophomore second baseman Amanda Marra, who reached on an error, and sophomore left fielder Katie Kish, who walked.
The Chargers answered a solo home run in the bottom of the second with two home runs of their own in the top of the third. Freshman shortstop Sam Catron had a three-RBI home run, scoring Addis and Kish, and then Marra followed with her first collegiate home run. A San Juan single, which scored junior first baseman Haley Lawrence, and a single from senior center fielder Bekah Kastning scored sophomore outfielder Carly Gouge brought the score to 9 – 1. The final run of the game came from Kish off a Catron single.
In the circle, freshman pitcher Dana Weidinger got the win for the Chargers, striking out eight of the 19 batters she faced over the game’s five innings.
In game two, the Timberwolves took an early 5 – 1 lead after 1 1/2 innings. Three Charger runs in the first three innings and almost four innings of work from freshman pitcher Erin Gordon, however, kept the Chargers competitive.
“We just battled back, and the team had the feel that we were going to battle back,” head coach Joe Abraham said. “It’s hard in this league to come back and win if you’re down 5 – 1, but we managed to do it.”
The breakthrough came in the bottom of the fourth, when Kastning’s double scored junior third baseman Jessica Taylor. A sacrifice fly from junior catcher Kelsey Gockman brought home senior designated player Cassie Asselta, and a groundout from Addis sent Kastning home. A Catron double scored Kish to conclude the four-run inning.
In the end, the Chargers were able to come back for a 7 – 6 win, completing the sweep against Northwood.
“It was really nice to sweep Northwood, because we have not done that in a very long time,” Gockman said. “Usually, they’re one of those teams that’s really similar to us in the rankings.”
On Sunday, Hillsdale faced Saginaw Valley State University and opened game one on a strong note with nine runs in the top of the second.
“It was a combination of us doing well and them making some key errors that helped us score,” Gockman said.
In that inning, Lawrence, Kish, Gordon, Taylor, freshman shortstop Julia Huebner, Gouge, Kastning, San Juan, and Marra all scored.
“Everyone contributed,” Gouge said. “There wasn’t one person who wasn’t doing something great hitting-wise, pitching-wise, or in the dugout. Everybody was so up, and it was like we were unstoppable.”
Freshman pitcher Alexis Newby started the game with three shutout innings, and Weidinger got the win in four innings of relief work.
Though the Cardinals scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth, runs from San Juan and Gouge in the fourth and seventh innings contributed to the final score of 11 – 3.
Though the Chargers began game two with a 2 – 0 lead, Saginaw’s six runs in the top of the third, followed by three more runs later in the game, brought the score to 9 – 4.
“It was a lot of unfortunate hits, right to people, and they pitched their ace, so it was a little harder,” Gouge said. “We did hold them down pretty well, and scored a few runs to begin with, but we didn’t end up finishing that.”
Over the course of the weekend, Kish went 8-for-12 with two walks, Kastning went 7-for-16 at the plate, and Asselta reached base eight out of 12 times after going 4-for-4 in game two against Northwood and getting hit by four pitches.
“Those three really sparked our offense for the weekend,” Abraham said. “What we got this weekend was a lot of clutch hitting performances and a lot of great execution on offense, which we haven’t always had this year.”
Hillsdale, now 8 – 4 in the GLIAC, will face Lake Eerie University and Walsh University in away doubleheaders this weekend.
“I think we’re all doing a lot better than we expected to do coming in with such a young team,” Gockman said. “It’s really exciting to see us do this well, and just the promise of doing well in the years to come.”