By ERIC BENAC
News Sports Writer
The Alpena Community College softball team were definitely feeling more confident than they had all season after their 7-1 and 9-1 wins over Henry Ford Community College on Saturday and they rode that newfound confidence to commanding 14-4 and 14-3 mercy victories over Henry Ford on Sunday.
News Photo by Eric Benac
ACC’s second baseman Leann Strzelecki (20) snags a short pop up in the infield while right fielder Katie Cox backs her up in the second of two games on Sunday. ACC swept Henry Ford in four games on Saturday and on Sunday.
"It feels really good, it builds a lot of confidence for us and puts us in a good position for our makeup games," head coach Erin Riopelle said.
These wins couldn't have come at a better time for ACC as they were their last home games of the season and they may need that new confidence to get through so many away games.
That newly built confidence showed up heavily in the fifth inning where ACC was able to score six runs off of five hits, three walks and several passed balls. It was the first inning since the first to not feature an ACC home run as the Lumberjacks picked up one home run in the second, third and fourth.
The hitters who contributed the home runs included Leann Strezlecki in the second, Lindsay Ponik in the fourth and Karena Hipkins in the third.
Hipkins' homer was a three run zinger that contributed to a four run third inning that took ACC up 7-0.
ACC started quickly in the first game, with Lauren Seibert getting on first off a bunt. Alex Chmura was able to snag a base hit two hitters later. Sarah Mairose drove in Seibert to pick up the game's first run while Chmura scored on a passed ball.
Delta seemed to struggle finding a solid pitching groove to compensate with the Lumberjacks red hot bats. Losing pitcher Jodie Miller pitched four innings and gave up eight runs while relief pitcher Alicia VanDeraa did marginally better, giving up six hits and six runs.
Henry Ford was able to go on a brief four run rally in the fifth inning, including three hits highlighted by a triple from pitcher Miller but it wasn't enough to avoid a 14-4 mercy loss.
Winning pitcher Mairose pitched all five innings, gave up only three hits and four runs while striking out seven batters.
Things started quickly for ACC in the second as Seibert picked up a double off the first pitch of the game and was driven in by Ashleigh Monticello with the next pitch.
Monticello bats were on fire in the second game, going three for four, including two doubles and a triple and knocking in five runs and scoring three times.
The Lumberjacks continued hitting hard as Henry Ford struggled both offensively and defensively. Miller once again started as pitcher but was replaced by VanDeraa again in the second. Miller came back to finish up the game in the fifth. They gave up 16 hits between the two of them.
Henry Ford struggled to pick up a hit until the third inning when they got hot off the pitches of Ponik. They picked up five straights hits, their only hits of the game, as well as three runs. Janell Ghnaim of Henry Ford hit a big double that drove in a run while Erica Quattrin hit a single that knocked in two.
This brief moment of offensive glory wasn't enough for Henry Ford as everybody in the lineup got on base at least once and ending the game again in the fifth with an even wider spread.
Seibert led the way going 5-5, including two singles, a double and two walks.
"Everybody did really well today, everybody had a lot of confidence, especially in hitting. There was also a lot more movement in the outfield with players backing each other up. All in all, everybody contributed today," Riopelle said.
ACC is now 6-14 on the season. They play their makeup games Wednesday at Delta and Thursday in Macomb.