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Sam Catron awaits a pitch during Sunday’s exhi­bition game against Kent State. Julia Mullins | Col­legian

The Hillsdale Chargers relied on pow­erful offense Sat­urday, picking up two exhi­bition vic­tories and recording just one loss on the road in Columbus, Ohio. The fol­lowing day, the Chargers took on Division I Kent State Uni­versity and tied with the Flashes. 

Five players recorded home runs during the weekend, including two freshmen. 

Freshman infielder Lauren Renner was over­whelmed with emotion after hitting the Chargers’ first home run of the season in their game against Miami Uni­versity Hamilton on Sat­urday.

“It felt so good coming off the bat, and I couldn’t stop smiling,” Renner said. “It was an amazing feeling hearing my team­mates cheer for me, seeing my coach so pumped up, and also unfor­get­table having my parents there to see my first col­le­giate home run.” 

Head coach Kyle Gross said he knew his team had home run potential and was excited to see adjust­ments made during practice lead to a breakout weekend for hitters so early in the season. 

“We’ve been working on things that add power to their swings, not com­pletely changing their swings,” Gross said. “Just changing little things within their indi­vidual swing mechanics that can add power.” 

Freshman Elaine Townley also hit a home run in the game against Miami Uni­versity Hamilton and said she expe­ri­enced similar feelings as Renner. 

“I was happy to see the adjust­ments Coach Kyle had made on my swing we’re already working, and I felt like I had just proved to myself that I could hang with the level of play here,” Townley said. “It’s a little intim­i­dating to come into such a tal­ented team as a freshman and with a new coach who doesn’t know my abil­ities, but hitting the home run made me feel like I deserve to be a part of Hillsdale softball.” 

Sophomore out­fielder and pitcher Natalie Walters hit a home run in the Chargers’ game against Otterbein Uni­versity and said the team did a great job adjusting to the pitchers it faced throughout the weekend. 

“During the first game, our hitting turned on like a switch and it was con­ta­gious,” Walters said. “Everyone was hitting, and this carried on through the rest of the weekend.” 

Senior out­fielder Jessica Taylor hit two home runs and said she has never felt more con­fident at the plate.

“We go up there and attack, Coach Kyle keeps saying, ‘Just go up there and hack,’ which is cool, because it takes the mental side out of it,” Taylor said. “I think that’s good for our team because a lot us are thinkers.” 

The Chargers took dif­ferent offensive approaches to man­u­facture runs in each of their games. 

“This weekend we did a lot of hit and runs,” Taylor said. “It was just cool to be able to try dif­ferent things and see it work, espe­cially right away, because a lot of times that doesn’t happen.” 

Junior infielder Sam Catron also hit a home run during the Chargers’ game against Otterbein. Catron said the team made offensive adjust­ments throughout the weekend and took an aggressive approach at the plate. 

“When the other team would score, we responded imme­di­ately and never let up,” Catron said. “That was great to see, and I’m really proud of our team for doing so well in this area.” 

In addition to a pro­ductive weekend at the plate, Gross said the Chargers’ pitching staff had its best weekend. 

“One of the biggest things we talk about is exe­cution of pitches, one pitch at a time,” Gross said. “We charted and kept track of per­centage of pitch exe­cution, and their per­centage of exe­cution has gone up tremen­dously from the first week.” 

The Chargers will face Jackson Com­munity College in a dou­ble­header at home Sat­urday and Division I Toledo Uni­versity Sunday.

For the upper­classmen, this upcoming weekend will give them an oppor­tunity to play against former head coach Joe Abraham, now in his first season coaching at Toledo. 

“I’m excited,” Taylor said. “We’re just gonna go out there and show Abraham what we can still do.”