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Jacks softball continues late-season streak

HSU softball beats Dominican University 3-2 and 10-9 in two exciting games

It was a road doubleheader for the Humboldt State softball team that felt like a home game as Lumberjack fans packed Penguin Field in San Rafael. Powered by the chants of “let’s go Jacks!” and “Huuumboldt” the Jacks were able to take both games against the Dominican University Penguins by scores of 3-2 and 10-9.

Sunday’s games were a doubleheader that any softball fan (or even a casual supporter) would love. The opener was a pitcher’s duel that stayed deadlocked until the last moments.

Game two became an emotional rollercoaster. Both offenses trading runs and multiple lead changes between innings.

The first game of the doubleheader started with the Jacks jumping out to an early lead. Third baseman Haley Suter ripped a line drive single into left field and gave the Jacks the 1-0 lead in the second inning.

The Jacks needed more offense in the fourth inning and Mariah Tovar delivered with an RBI single. Tovar’s 24th RBI this season tied the game at two.

In the fifth and sixth innings, the pitchers took over. Jacks pitcher Jasmine Hill and Penguins pitcher Lauren Persi held the bats scoreless. They battled, trying to keep their offense in position to win the game late.

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Junior outfielder Lauren Lipe scored in the fourth from Mariah Tovar’s single to tie the game at three. | Photo by Matt Shiffler

The top of the seventh inning and the Jacks looked for the go-ahead run. Freshman shortstop Maddie Allen stayed patient and drew a four-pitch walk. While on first Allen darted for second base getting the steal and put herself into scoring position. The steal was key because second basemen and the team hits leader Danica Grier stepped to the plate.

Grier worked herself into a 2-1 count and then hit a screaming line drive towards left field. Penguin left fielder Karitza Reyes looked helplessly up into the Bay Area sun as the ball bumped off of the end of her glove and bounced into the wall. This seventh inning run became the deciding factor and the Jacks took game one, 3-2.

“She left a fat pitch hanging over the plate and I drove it into a spot in deep left field,” Grier said.

Game two proved to be a game that makes any pitcher wake up in a cold sweat. Several lead changes and the bats started hot. Dominican took an early 2-0 lead in the first, and then HSU would strike back with two runs in the second inning and three runs in the third with help from Haley Suter. Suter knocked in two runners in off her double that bounced in the left-center gap. At the end of the third, the Jacks held the lead 5-2.

Dominican didn’t back down, in the fourth inning Peyton Mott hit a two-run home run to left field and Mady Christensen hit an RBI double to tie the game 5-5. Dominican would add three more runs in the sixth to make the score 8-5 in favor of the Penguins.

But these Jacks were not out of the fight. In the top of the seventh and three outs away from losing a tough game, the offense exploded for five runs. Illa Haley hit a two-RBI double and then the go-ahead run scored on a passed ball with Hanna Holland at the plate that got past Penguin catcher Alexis Chinchilla.

The Jacks would storm back and take a 10-8 lead going into the final frame. Closing out the game would not prove to be easy for Jacks pitcher Lexee Sheiring as she allowed two singles, a walk, and a run. Sheiring eventually settled in, sealed the game, and closed the series. Her final pitch forced a fly out to center field and the Jacks won a stressful 10-9 game.

“It makes you smile knowing they are going to fight no matter how the season is going or what happened in their last at-bat,” head coach Shelli Sarchett said.

“We have struggled a bit this year, so every win is awesome, and it felt good to be a major part of it,” outfielder Hanna Holland said.

The Jacks are currently on a four-game winning streak, improving their record to 15-23. Their next games are this Friday and Saturday back home in Arcata vs. Cal State San Marcos.

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