Home Run City: Six solo shots help defeat Mercyhurst

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By Joshua Laska - Sports/Managing Editor

Jillian Russell (16) celebrates one of her two home runs with teammate Shelby Lia (9).

The California Vulcan softball team continued their home stance last week with three wins. They opened up the week with the rescheduled double header against Lock Haven, where they lost the first game 2-0, followed by a 4-3 walk off win. Next the Vulcans took on Mercyhurst in a PSAC West doubleheader match up; they took both games from the Lakers, 7-1 and 6-4. The Vulcans are now 21-5 on the season and 3-1 in the PSAC, with 16 games remaining in the regular season, eight of those being PSAC West match-ups.

In the loss to Lock Haven, freshman shortstop Breanna Morris led the way with one hit on two attempts or a .500 batting average. Sophomore second basemen Natalie Wideman, freshman right-fielder Shelby Heyd and freshman catch Paige Johnson each added one hit as well.

On the defensive side of the diamond, senior catch Alyson Johnson led the way with eight putouts. Sophomore first basemen Shelby Lia and Wideman both added five putouts, while freshman center fielder Katie Natter, Heyd and Morris all added one. Senior third basemen/designated hitter Jillian Russell and Morris both added two assists; sophomore pitcher Hope Spancake, A. Johnson and Heyd added one assist each. Spancake took the loss for the Vulcans giving up only two unearned runs in seven innings. She faced 26 batters, picked up eight strikeouts and threw 111 pitches.

The victory over Lock Haven in the second game was lead by Natter who had three hits on four at bats including the walk off single that scored A. Johnson. Wideman added two hits on four attempts and one run. Freshman designated hitter/first basemen Madison Yanek went one for three with one run, while A.Johnson pinch-hit scored one run and drove in one run. Russell scored one run and drove in one run on one hit, sophomore left-fielder Stephani Ellis rounded out the Vulcans hitting with one hit and one run batted in.

Lia paced the defensive with eight putouts and added three assists as well. Wideman added four putouts, while Yanek, P. Johnson and Morris added three, two and one, respectively. Ellis, Heyd and sophomore center fielder Paige Onuska all added one putout each as well. Sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Schilling led the way with four assists, while Natter and Morris each added three. Schilling pitched five and two thirds innings giving up three unearned runs. Freshman pitcher Madison Cashner pitched one and a third innings striking out two batters and only throwing 16 pitches. Cashner picked up her second win of the season and moved to 2-1.

In the 7-1 victory over Mercyhurst, P. Johnson led the way going three for three with her third home run of the season. Natter went one for four with a home run in the seventh inning, after her home run Russell came up to bat and hit another home run for the Vulcans. Russell went two for four in the win, while Heyd and Wideman collected two and one hit, respectively. Ellis went one for two and scored once; Johnson and Lia both scored once as well.

For the second game in a row Lia led the defense with seven putouts and added two assists. Wideman added five putouts and one assists; P. Johnson added four putouts. Heyd added two putouts, while Ellis, senior left-fielder Kristen McKenzie and Morris all added one putout each. Spancake picked up her 10th win of the season after giving up only one earned run in seven innings pitched. Against the 26 batters she faced she picked up five strikeouts and threw 96 pitches.

Sophomore second basemen Natalie Wideman (2) got the Vulcans rolling with her first career home run, in the first inning against Mercyhurst. Wideman is currently second on the team with a .373 batting average.

The second game against Mercyhurst started off looking like the Vulcans were going to lose. In the bottom of the first inning Wideman led off with her first career home run as a Vulcan. Wideman scored twice in the victory, following her lead off home run Russell also went yard for her 39th home run as a Vulcan. That home run moved Russell into first place all-time for home runs. A. Johnson went three for three and scored twice with a home run in the victory. Morris and Ellis both picked up one hit on three at bats. Heyd not only picked up one run but made an incredible play in right-field in the seventh inning to help preserve the Vulcans victory.

Lia posted an impressive 15 putouts in the victory, followed by Heyd with two. Wideman, A. Johnson, Morris and P. Johnson all added one putout each, with Wideman adding four assists. While, Schilling added an impressive six assists, Russell added three and Morris added two in the victory. Schilling picked up her ninth win of the season after giving up four earned runs, all in the first inning, and picked up two strikeouts in only 69 pitches thrown.

The Vulcans returned to PSAC action on Tuesday, April 3 at Edinboro but that game ended to late for press time. They take on Slippery Rock today at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in a double-header at Lilley Field. The Vulcans travel tomorrow to take on Millersville in non-PSAC action at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. A recap of all six games will be available in next weeks Cal Times.

After picking up one win last week and only giving up one run in 14 innings pitched, Spancake was named PSAC West Pitcher of the Week.

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