With three home runs and 28 hits, the Hillsdale College softball team swept Lake Erie College on the road to begin conference play with a 2 – 0 record.
“We’ve been playing well, and it was just another weekend where we played well,” head coach Kyle Gross said. “This team believes in themselves and what they’re doing, and it’s really fun to see.”
Saturday, March 27 (Game 1): Hillsdale, 10, Lake Erie, 2
Pitching the first game of the doubleheader, senior Dana Weidinger secured her 10th win of the season by striking out six, walking one, and conceding only three hits in seven innings.
The Chargers’ lineup showcased its power through home runs from seniors Madison Stoner and Sam Catron. An RBI double by freshman Hailey Holtman led the Chargers to a 4 – 0 lead after the first three innings.
“I was a bit nervous going into the game,” Holtman explained. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first collegiate conference game, but once the game began, I lost the nerves and really just had a good time on the field with my teammates.”
Lake Erie hit a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to try and recover from its deficit, but the Chargers answered by totaling six runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
“Both Dana and Camryn pitched lights out this weekend,” Gross said. “Dana just continues to be dominant in the circle and Camryn had her first conference start in well over a year and looked the best she’s been all season.”
Saturday, March 27 (Game 2): Hillsdale, 11, Malone, 0
Junior Camryn Olson pitched the entirety of the second game against Lake Erie and picked up her first victory of the year. Olson pitched a shutout over six innings with four strikeouts, one walk, and only allowing three hits.
The Chargers began the first inning with a 2 – 0 lead, breaking it open in the fifth inning with a three-run homer from freshman McKenna Eichholz and an RBI single by senior Madison Rathbun. Holtman finished the day driving in two more runs with another double, winning the game 11 – 0.
“It was my third at bat,” Eichholz said, describing her first collegiate home run. “It felt right. I was at ease, it was the first pitch, and I just swung. I knew it was a home run right away, it was a perfect shot right over center field and I was smiling from ear to ear.”
Holtman attributed the team’s, specifically the freshmen’s, strong performances to the energetic and supportive atmosphere of Hillsdale’s softball team. Having every teammate and coach cheer from the field and the dugout makes a difference, Holtman said.
Looking forward to this weekend, the Chargers are hosting Tiffin University on Saturday, April 3 at noon and 2 p.m. for their first home game in 711 days.
“This week is all about preparing for Tiffin and trying to have another weekend like we just had,” Gross said.
This will be the first time the Chargers play the Dragons in an official game since Hillsdale defeated Tiffin in the semifinal game en route to their 2019 conference tournament title.