The Hornets managed a split in the first two games of a four-game weekend tournament Friday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park in Ann Arbor.
In the tournament opener, Saline beat the Wayland High School Wildcats 2-1, with junior hurler Alexandra Pace pitching a one-hit gem. Pace gave up a two out double in the first inning then shut down the Wildcats over the final six innings, striking out seven.
Pace helped herself out by going 3-for-3 at the plate, hitting three singles, scoring a run and picking up an RBI.
Wayland opened the scoring in the second on a walk and a Saline error. The Hornets tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Pace smacked a sharp single to center and then scored when junior Emma Schwartzenberger hit a two out double to right center.
The Hornets have sometimes struggled this season to finish close games. But not in the first game on Friday. Pace turned in a true pitching gem, retiring 15 of the final 17 Wildcat batters. One Wayland batter reached base on a walk, the other on a Saline error. That was all the offense Wayland could muster against Pace.
Though Saline committed four errors in the game, they also made some terrific defensive plays in support of their pitcher.
The Hornets punched across the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Ashley Heren led the inning off reaching first on a Wildcat error. Elaina Walker converted a sacrifice bunt to send Heren to second.
Pace calmly hit a sharp single to center, scoring the speedy Heren from second.
Pace then retired the Wildcat batters in order in the seventh to pick up the win. Following the game, Pace was asked about her pitching performance.
“I felt really good before the game. I was confidant,” Pace said. “I wanted to just go right after their hitters and my team made some great defensive plays behind me.”
Saline Coach Alicia Seegert agreed with her pitcher. “Alex had a great game. She was in control of her pitches and we played some great defense for her today.”
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Alexandra Pace (1 run scored, 3 hits, 1 RBI & superb pitching)
2nd Star: Emma Schwartzenberger (0 runs scored, 1 hit, 1 RBI)
3rd Star: Abigail Kleinschmidt (0 runs scored, 0 hits, 0 RBIs & great defense at third base)
Hornets Fall to Escanaba Eskymos
The Hornets dropped a 6-2 decision in the second game of the tournament to the Escanaba Eskymos. Elaina Walker picked up the loss giving up six runs on eight hits. Walker did manage to strike out seven Eskymo batters.
Escanaba scored two runs in the first inning and another four in the third.
Saline picked up a run in the top of the second when senior Kelsey Alexander reached first on an error. Alexander stole second and took third when Schwartzenberger grounded out.
Kleinschmidt drew a walk, putting runners on first and third. Alexander scored when senior Madison Shelton grounded out.
The lady Hornets picked up their second run of the game when Walker singled to center. She took second on a ground out by Pace and scored on an Alexander single to right.
The Hornets will continue in tournament action on Saturday taking on South Lyon High School. Game time is 8:30 a.m. at Vets Park in Ann Arbor.
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Kelsey Alexander (1 run scored, 1 hit, 1 RBI)
2nd Star: Abigail Kleinschmidt (0 run scored, 2 hits, 0 RBIs)
3rd Star: Elaina Walker (1 run scored, 1 hit, 0 RBIs)