Coming off their impressive performance in the Saline Invitational tournament last weekend, the Saline High School girls’ varsity softball team traveled to Ann Arbor Monday afternoon and won both games of a double-header, 10-8 and 12-3. The victories upped the team’s record to 4-1, 3-0 in conference play.
The Hornets needed an extra inning in the opening game to pull out the win. Pioneer jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The lady Hornets erased that lead scoring two runs in the top of the third.
Junior Alexandra Pace got things going with a one out double. She scored when senior Kelsey Alexander doubled to deep right center. Alexander scored on a single by junior Isabella Darmos.
The Hornets took a 3-2 lead when sophomore Elaina Walker smashed a solo home run over the left field fence in the fourth.
The lady Hornets stretched their lead to three in the top of the fifth when Pace led off with a double and then scored on the double by Alexander.
Alexander took third on a Pioneer wild pitch and scored on junior Emma Schwartzenberger’s single. The Pioneers came storming back in the bottom of the fifth sending nine batters to the plate. They scored five runs, on four hits and a walk to take a 7-5 lead.
Saline tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the sixth when senior Ashley Heren led off with a single. On the next pitch, she stole second base. With two outs, Pace sent a single into center field to score Heren. Pace took second base when Pioneer threw to the plate in an attempt to throw out Heren. A single by Alexander scored Pace to knot the game at 7-7.
The game went into extra innings. Softball rules call for the batter who made the last out in the previous inning to start the extra inning on second base. So senior Danielle Cobello took second to start the eighth inning.
Heren got the rally started by singling to right field, scoring Cobello. Walker sent a shot to right-center field that went all the way to the wall, for a triple, scoring Heren. Walker then scored the third run of the extra inning on an RBI single by junior Madison Shelton.
Hornet pitcher Elaina Walker gave up a run on a couple of hits but was able to get the Pioneers to pop up and then ground out to end the game. The lady Hornets walked off the field with a hard fought 10-8 win.
Saline Head Coach Alicia Seegert said that that the team is young, prone to making mistakes. “We are still working as a team to do the little things, like hitting the cut off person to prevent runners taking an extra base or concentrating at every at-bat,” said Seegert. “Little mistakes will cost you in close games.”
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Alexandra Pace (2 runs scored, 4 hits & 2 RBIs)
2nd Star: Elaina Walker (2 runs scored, 2 hits, 2 RBIs, 1 HR & winning pitcher)
3rd Star: Kelsey Alexander (1 run scored, 2 hits & 2 RBIs)
Saline High School 2015 graduate and current University of Michigan softball star Katie Alexander was on hand to cheer on the players from her alma mater as well as younger sister, Kelsey Alexander. The former two-time All-State and team MVP had high praise for this year’s team.
“They look great,” Katie said in between games.
Starting pitcher Alexandra Pace started game two a little shaky. She gave up three runs, on four hits to put the Hornets in a hole to start the game.
That three-run deficit was quickly erased. Sophomore Abigail Kleinschmidt led off the second inning with a double. Darmos lined a single to left to score Kleinschmidt. Cobello then sacrificed Darmos to second. Shelton got on base on an error by the Pioneer shortstop.
Elaina Walker then cleared the bases with a monster home run over the left field fence, her second home run of the afternoon. You know a ball has been hit a long way when the left fielder takes two steps back, stops and watches the ball sail far over the fence.
The lady Hornets scored another run in the fourth when they put together three singles, by Cobello, Walker and then Heren, which scored Cobello to give Saline a 5-3 lead at the end of four.
The Hornets blew the game wide open in the top of the sixth when they sent twelve batters to the plate, scoring seven runs, on five hits, three walks and two errors. While to offensive explosion put the game out of reach, it was the pitching of Pace that was the story of the second game of the double-header.
After giving up three runs in the opening inning, Pace slammed the door shut on the Pioneers. She gave up no runs, scattering nine hits while striking out three.
The wins upped the team’s record to 4-1 on the season, 3-0 in conference play.
The lady Hornets travel to Chelsea on Wednesday to take on the Bulldogs. Chelsea is currently 5-0 on the year, and features a pair of dynamic pitchers. Game times are scheduled for 4 & 6 p.m.
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Elaina Walker (2 runs scored, 5 hits, 4 RBIs & 1 HR)
2nd Star: Alexandra Pace (1 run scored, 2 hits, 2 RBIs & winning pitcher)
3rd Star: Madison Shelton (2 runs scored, 1 hit, 2 RBIs)