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Home runs help ’Cats earn first conference win

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The WSC softball team looks to get its season back on track after picking up their first conference win of the season on Saturday.

The WSC softball team looks to get its season back on track after picking up their first conference win of the season on Saturday.

Photo By Thadd Simpson

Photo By Thadd Simpson

The WSC softball team looks to get its season back on track after picking up their first conference win of the season on Saturday.

Shawn Henley, Staff Writer

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Wayne State College softball used two home runs to finally pick up its first win in conference play at home last Saturday against Minot State.

“It felt good finally winning a conference game,” Head Coach Shelli Manson said. “They did well with it for the short-lived time.”

The ‘Cats split the doubleheader against Minot State, losing the first game 8-4. Sophomore Emily Chandler hit an RBI single to score junior catcher Katelyn Wobken for the game’s first score.

The Beavers responded with one run in the second and two in the fifth inning to lead 3-1. WSC tied the game 3-3 in the sixth as Wobken and junior infielder Jordyn Breitbarth hit RBI singles. The

‘Cats left the bases loaded as the Beavers got out of the jam.

In the seventh inning, Minot State displayed a flurry of offense, scoring five runs on seven hits to take the 8-3 advantage. WSC scored one run in the bottom of the seventh, but that was all, as the Beavers held on for the victory.

“The defense just had a hard time adjusting to the pressure,” Manson said. “It wasn’t for lack of want that we lost the game, we just couldn’t quite execute.”

Game two held a much different outcome, as WSC came out on fire and won its first NSIC conference game of the year, 13-5, in five innings.

Chandler got things started in a big way as she crushed a two-run homer in the top of the first. This was followed up by a solo home run by senior infielder Melanie Alyea as WSC took the early 3-0 lead. Minot State countered the fast start by WSC with four runs scored in the second, taking a short-lived 4-3 lead.

Melanie Alyea hit her second home run of the game in the bottom of the second, this time scoring three runs. Her sister, senior catcher Monique Alyea, along with Chandler, both had RBI singles in the inning to put the ‘Cats up 8-4.

The Beavers got back to within four runs, but Melanie Alyea continued her phenomenal game in the fourth with an RBI double. Breitbarth and freshman outfielder Blair Shanks each had RBI singles in the fourth as the ‘Cats held on and ended the game early.

“We usually hit well at home,” Manson said. “It was only a matter of time before Emily and Melanie came around and played great.”

WSC did not find the success it had against Minot State, dropping both games versus the University of Mary at home on Sunday 11-3 in five innings and 7-4 in nine innings.

In game one, the Marauders struck first, scoring twice to take a 2-0 lead. Senior infielder Alyssa Schropp hit a two-run single and junior outfielder Rachel Shumaker hit an RBI double as the ‘Cats took a 3-2 lead headed into the second.

The Marauders’ defense stepped up and held WSC hitless for the rest of the game. Mary scored nine runs on eight hits in the third and held on for the victory.

“Emily went down against Minot so we had to move some people around,” Manson said. “Now we have a lot of players out-of-position.”

In game two, Mary picked up where it left off in game one, scoring two runs in both the first and third innings. WSC had a single run in the first, second and third innings, and the game was 4-3 headed to the seventh.

Wobken hit a double down the left field line to start off the seventh, but was tagged out at home as she was trying to score on a fielder’s choice hit by Monique Alyea. Breitbarth singled and scored Monique Alyea to tie the game 4-4.

Shumaker walked to load the bases up for the ‘Cats with only one out and a chance to win. However, the Marauders caught a fly ball and used a strikeout to end the inning with the bases loaded.

The game was still 4-4 in the ninth, as Mary had two hits and scored three runs to sweep the Wildcats at home. WSC’s record after the weekend of play is now 7-29 overall and 1-11 in conference play.

“We couldn’t get into a rhythm in the second game,” Manson said. “There was a lot more extra pressure on us because of the players that were playing out of position.”

Junior pitcher Nataliah Hopkins pitched two complete games throughout the weekend, allowing 20 hits and 12 runs, and had nine strikeouts. Sophomore Riley Vanderveen and freshman Allison

Niemeier pitched the other two games for the ‘Cats.

WSC is back on the road today (Wednesday) for a conference doubleheader against the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, S.D., beginning at 3 p.m.

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Home runs help ’Cats earn first conference win