The Alpena Community College softball team hasn't had much reason to smile in the first few weeks of conference play.
But at the end of a long day of games on Sunday, the Lumberjacks had plenty of reason to be happy after they took two of three games from St. Clair in a triple header on Sunday at Alpena High School.
The Lumberjacks won the first game 7-5, took the second game 13-9 and just missed out on a sweep with an 8-7 loss in the third game in a seven-inning thriller.
News Photo by James Andersen
ACC’s Lauren Seibert, center, fields a throw from teammate Ashleigh Monticello in an attempt to tag St. Clair’s Charli DeKam (10) out at third base during a college softball game on Sunday at Alpena High School.
News Photo by James Andersen
ACC’s Lindsay Ponik pitches during the second game of a triple header against St. Clair on Sunday.
The two wins gave ACC its first victories of the season and first two wins under rookie coach Erin Riopelle.
Allysa Ambu hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning of the final game to give St. Clair an 8-7 victory after the Lumberjacks tallied four runs in the top of the inning.
After scattering a handful of hits and stranding several baserunners, the Lumberjacks (2-12) caught fire in the sixth inning. Alyssa Griffore came up with an RBI double and Lauren Seibert had an RBI as the Lumberjacks knotted the game at three.
With two outs in the seventh inning, ACC went to work again at the plate. Paige Lewandowski, who led ACC with four hits, drove in a run before Katie Cox hit a bloop single that enabled two more runs to score. Lewandowski scored ACC's last run when she stole third base and came home on a throwing error as St. Clair attempted to throw her out.
"Something clicked it in them and they really put it to them (St. Clair)," Riopelle said. "They pushed through the cold, tired and just did what they needed to do."
In the bottom of the inning, Lindsay Ponik got two quick outs for ACC before St. Clair got runners on first and second with a fielder's choice and a single. Ambu came up and blasted a shot over the leftfield fence to give the Skippers the win.
Laura Lewis pitched the first five innings for ACC and allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Katie Neitzke earned the win for St. Clair.
ACC loaded the bases twice before the sixth inning, but couldn't take advantage. In the fourth, ACC loaded the bases with two outs before Kristen Krhnke got Seibert to pop up to end the threat.
St. Clair scored in the second inning on a passed ball and added two more runs in the fifth inning.
Cox and Seibert each added two hits for the Lumberjacks.
ACC got going early in the second game, scoring three times in the first inning. The Lumberjacks added three more runs in the second inning thanks to a three-run shot from Ponik. ACC scored seven more times over the next two innings. St. Clair tallied three runs each in the third and fourth innings, but couldn't quite catch up.
Ponik and Griffore each had three hits and Leeann Strzlecki and Alex Chmura each had two hits.
The Lumberjacks earned their first win over the season in the opener on Sunday and once again got going early. After getting a couple of early baserunners in the first inning, Chmura blasted a three-run home run to centerfield. ACC scored six runs in the inning and did a solid job of holding St. Clair at bay early on.
"They worked hard and they played with their hearts," Riopelle said. "I think the (home crowd) support helped them too."
St. Clair loaded the bases twice early in the game, but ACC kept them off the board until the third inning when Amanda Aldrich hit a two-run single. The Skippers ended that inning with the bases loaded as well.
The fourth inning was highlighted by a great defensive play by ACC. After Lewandowski caught a fly ball for an out in centerfield, she threw a strike right to Chmura at home and Chmura tagged Charli DeKam to end the Skippers' turn at bat.
Seibert hit an RBI single to score Cox in the fourth inning to give ACC a 6-1, but the Skippers countered in the sixth inning after RBIs from DeKam and Kellie Diem.
Sara Mairose earned the win for Alpena, allowing five runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and four walks. Seibert led Alpena with three hits.
The two sides played only one game off a scheduled doubleheader on Saturday with St. Clair winning 7-6. The second game was moved to Sunday due to cold weather.
ACC returns to action at home against Oakland on Friday at 1 p.m.