Big day for Alpena

ALPENA -Things couldn’t have gone any better for the Alpena softball team for its “Strike Out Cancer” games against Gaylord on Tuesday, during which T-shirts and other items were for sale to the general public.

Alpena (15-4, 4-0 Big North) scored at least two in every inning of a 12-2 five-inning mercy in the first game while mercying the Blue Devils 15-0 in four innings in game two.

All proceeds from both games go to supporting cancer research and cancer awareness.

Lead off hitter Alex Peters started the Alpena offense in the first inning with a single, followed by a single from Logan Meyers. Both advanced on a Kara Gehrke ground out. Alexis Smith then drove them in with a double to give Alpena a 2-0 lead.

Alpena pitcher Lauren Heath pitched three innings for the win, holding Gaylord hitless. She struck out six out of nine batters faced. Gehrke pitched the last two innings giving up three hits, two runs and striking out one.

Mary Schimmel singled in the second and made it to second on a throwing error at first. Peters then reached first on another first base error, driving in Schimmel from second while Peters later scored on a passed ball, stretching Alpena’s lead to 4-0.

Smith led off the third inning with her second double of the game. She was driven in by a Jessica Marwede double. Marwede scored two passed balls to give Alpena a 6-0 lead.

The fourth was the Wildcats’ biggest inning.

Peters started things off with a single and was driven in by a Myers triple. Smith drove in Myers and was later driven in by a Desiree Robertson sac fly.

Marwede was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on an Elise Leeck single to push the Alpena to 10-0 after four.

Alpena just needed to put away three in the fifth to get the mercy. However, Gaylord picked up a couple of runs to narrow the Wildcats’ lead and force the bottom of the fifth.

Gaylord scored when Joslyn Rider reached first on an error. Haley Smith then drove in Rider with a double while Smith scored on a Caroline Smith single to make it 10-2.

Peters started out the bottom of the fifth by hitting what should have been a routine out at first. However, the ball slid between the legs of Blue Devil shortstop Lauren Hintz and rolled deep into center field.

Peters was rounding second before the Blue Devils’ center fielder got control of the ball. She then scored when the ball was bobbled at the cutoff and giving Alpena a 11-2 lead.

Myers reached second on an error; Gehrke singled to drive in Myers and end the game 12-2.

Sobeck pitched all five innings for Gaylord, allowing 13 hits, 11 runs and struck out four.

Alpena held its annual “Youth Daze” event between games. Players held drills for the area’s youth softball players, showing them how to field, hit and catch.

The Wildcats bats came out even stronger in the second game. They picked up 13 hits. Lauren Heath pitched all four innings, giving up only three hits and one walk while striking out nine.

The Wildcats scored four in the first inning when Peters and Myers earned walks. They stole second and third and Peters scored off a sac fly from Gehrke. Smith reached first on an error while Marwede drove in Myers.

Smith scored on a sacrifice bunt by Desiree Robertson while Marwede scored on a passed ball.

Alpena scored one in the second when Myers singled with two outs, stole second and scored following two separate wild pitches to give Alpena the 5-0 lead.

Smith doubled in the third and scored off a Marwede single. Robertson walked and was driven in by Leeck. Mary Schimmel knocked in Robertson on a fielders choice. Several runs later, including a two RBI myers single and Alpena had the 13-0 lead.

The game ended in the fourth when Leeck and Schimmel were driven home by Jasmine Schultz for the 15-0 mercy.

“We had a great team effort today. Everybody hit really well and our pitchers did what they needed to do,” Alpena coach Paul Marwede said.

The Wildcats travel to Sault Saint Marie on Thursday and to the Flint Kersley Tournament on Friday. They are back at home next Wednesday against Ogemaw Heights.