Fight until the end
ROGERS CITY-The Posen softball team had a little bit of luck and some clutch hitting when it counted most on Thursday.
The No. 5 Vikings took two games from top-ranked Rogers City at Gilpin Field, winning 2-1 and 3-2 in contests that saw the Vikings win in the bottom of the sixth inning both times.
“We battled and that’s what happens when you have No. 1 playing No. 5. You expect games like that,” Posen coach Glenn Budnick said. “It’s good to get the two wins, but it’s early in the season yet.”
In what could shape up to be a rematch sometime in the district playoffs, both teams were at the top of their collective games. They combined for five hits in the first game, eight in the second game and pitchers on both sides were more than good enough to win.
An error on a grounder by Akari Takesato in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed two runs to score and give Posen (10-2, 8-0 North Star) the win in the nightcap.
Rogers City (10-3) scored a run to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning after Courtney Streich singled to score Rachel Chojnacki. In the bottom of the inning, Ashley Meyers walked with one out and Jenna Hincka singled her to third before taking second base standing up.
After a groundout to second, Takesato hit a ground ball back to Hurons’ pitcher Alexa Quaine. The ball bounced off Quaine’s mitt and she bobbled it, eventually making a wild throw to first base that allowed Meyers and Hincka to score. Takesato reached on an error.
Meyers earned the second of her two wins on the day by striking out eight, walking none and allowing three hits.
“It was a (pair of) good games. Two good teams made really nice plays and the ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said. “Give Meyers credit, she pitched well and all three pitchers (Meyers, Quaine and Nikki Radke) pitched well enough to win.”
A home run from Cassie Brege gave Rogers City an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Posen responded in the bottom of the inning when Kayla Lenard doubled and later scored on a fielder’s choice.
Lenard’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth inning of the opener propelled Posen to a 2-1 victory after Meyers scored.
Meyers pitched another gem for the Vikings, allowing a run on one hit over six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
Logan Fleming reached on an error for the Hurons to lead off the sixth inning and eventually got to third, but Posen was able to escape the jam. Meyers struck out Streich, got Sara Meredith to ground out and got Morgan Hall to pop up to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, Meyers walked with one out and advanced to third after Hincka hit a bloop single into right field. Lenard then grounded out to score Meyers and push Posen to victory.
Takesato came up big in the opener as well, singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to score Meyers and tie the game 1-1. Hincka attempted to score on the play as well, but was tagged out at home.
Rogers City took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Autumn Idalski scored on a passed ball. Taylor Chojnacki doubled for Posen with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Hurons got a pop-up to end the inning.
Radke took the loss for Rogers City, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
As satisfying as Thursday’s wins might have been, Budnick knows his team still has bigger goals ahead.
“We could meet again (in districts), but there’s work to do before then,” Budnick said. “If they don’t carry this forward, they’re (Rogers City) just another two wins on our schedule.
Posen plays at Hillman on Monday. Rogers City plays at the Bridgeport Invitational on Saturday.
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.