Saline softball goes to 19-1 on year with sweep of Lincoln
There hasn’t been much to complain about this year as the Saline softball team has steamrolled its way past nearly everyone on its schedule.
But going into a doubleheader against Lincoln Thursday, coach Alicia Seegert singled out the seven, eight and nine portion in her lineup, one of the only areas her team has struggled in.
Her team got the message: in the first game, the bottom third of Seegert’s lineup had six of the team’s 10 hits, drove in five runs and scored four in a 9-0 win over Lincoln.
“That’s just as important,” Seegert said of the bottom of her lineup. “So we’ve been focusing on the end too.”
No. 7 hitter Alyssa Heren had three hits and two RBI, while No. 9 hitter Ashley Harmon had two hits and three RBI. Sophomore catcher Katie Alexander added a solo home run, and Sam Bruley had two hits.
In the second game, Heren had another two RBI as the Hornets won the nightcap, 6-0.
And on the mound, Kristina Zalewski was all but unhittable. The Michigan State-bound senior started both games, giving up just one hit in the first game and two hits in four innings of the second game.
Laura Vaccaro relieved her in the second game, and gave up no hits in three innings.
“They’re just totally different pitchers,” Seegert said. “Laura’s a movement pitcher of course, not as quick as Tinny. Tinny just throws heat. I don’t think there’s anybody in the state that wouldn’t like to have Tinny. It’s a blessing for us to have her.”
Lincoln, our AnnArbor.com Team of the Week, was playing its fifth and sixth games in the last four days, after sweeping Skyline Monday and splitting with Dexter Wednesday.
The team’s leadoff hitter Arielle Matthews had the flu, and still started both games before coach Wes Strickland took her out in the second. Left fielder Raven Lee was hobbled after taking a ball of her ankle.
“We’re beat up a little bit,” Strickland said.
To counter Zalewski, Strickland decided to go against conventional wisdom with his pitching lineup. Instead of starting hard-throwing junior Emily Eickhoff, who usually starts the first games of doubleheaders, he went with freshman Brooke Snyder, who throws more offspeed pitches.
“Everybody always goes into playing them trying to throw their stud,” Strickland said. “I was hoping her offspeed junk would maybe catch them off a little bit.”
The Hornets managed just one hit in the first, but piled on seven runs in the second and third to pull away.
Eickhoff fared better in the second game, giving up six runs on seven hits.
For the Hornets, the only blemish on the record remains a tournament final to Monroe last month, in a game lost on a play at the plate in the final inning.
And as they close in on the end of their regular season schedule, the matchup circled on the schedule is Monday at Monroe, a potential district preview.
“Next Monday’s going to be fun,” Seegert said.