The 2019 season of the Saline High School varsity girls’ softball team is just six games old but already the team has experienced its share of emotional highs and lows. The lady Hornets won all three games of their round-robin play in the softball tournament in early April but then lost in the championship game.
Monday afternoon the Hornets swept two games from SEC Red Division rival Ann Arbor Pioneer, 10-8 and 12-3.
On Wednesday, Saline traveled to Chelsea to take on the Bulldogs in a double-header. The Bulldogs are a perfect 7-0, and their star pitcher, senior Maddie Kemp, is 5-0 on the season. It seemed as if maybe “David” was primed to finally slaw “Goliath”.
The lady Hornets gave Chelsea their biggest test of the season but… The Hornets took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. Saline Pitcher sophomore Elaina Walker was cruising along having limited the potent Chelsea batters to four runs on nine hits through six innings.
Walker got the lead off batter in the seventh to pop out to first. The second batter reached first on an error by Saline second baseman Isabella Darmos. Then, on a two ball, two strike pitch, Bulldog third baseman Peighton Root smashed a home run over the left field fence, for a come from behind 6-5 victory.
Walker could barely watch. She glanced towards left field, lowered her head and started walking slowly towards the Saline dugout. She and her teammates came that close.
The Hornets got on the board when Walker and junior Alexandra Pace opened the game with walks. Senior Kelsey Alexander came through with a solid single to left, scoring Walker.
Saline added to their one run lead in the top half of the third. Pace started the inning with s single. Junior Emma Schwartzenberger sacrificed Pace to second who scored on a single to right by sophomore Abigail Kleinschmidt. It was 2-0 Saline going into the bottom of the third.
Chelsea scored a run in the third, and three in the fourth on the strength of two home runs. The first was a solo shot by Maddy Scheese and then a two-run homer by Sydnee Liedel. Chelsea held a 4-2 lead heading into the fifth.
The Hornets sent eight batters to the plate in the fifth. Schwartzenberger led off with a double. Chelsea gave Alexander an ‘unintentional intentional’ walk to put two on with no outs. Kleinschmidt then singled to left, scoring Schwartzenberger, with Kleinschmidt taking second on the throw to the plate.
Senior Ashley Heren hit a sacrifice bunt, scoring Alexander who raced home from third. Darmos walked and then senior Danielle Cobello doubled to score Schwartzenberger. The Hornets led 5-4 half-way through the fifth inning.
Walker then cruised the fifth and sixth inning, holding the Bulldogs scoreless. Cobello doubled in the seventh with one out but Chelsea pitcher Maddie Kemp got the final two outs of the inning on harmless infield pop-ups.
And it took just one swing of the bat in the bottom half of the seventh to end it, giving Saline its first loss in the cross-over conference game.
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Abigail Kleinschmidt (1 run scored, 2 hits, 1 RBI)
2nd Star: Kelsey Alexander (1 run scored, 2 hits, 1 RBI)
3rd Star: Danielle Cobello (0 runs scored, 2 hits, 1 RBI)
The second game of the doubleheader with Chelsea was called with the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning due to rain and lightning. The Bulldogs had the bases loaded with one out when the game was called.
The Hornets had three runs, on three hits.
The lady Hornets will get back into action on Monday when they will host the Monroe Trojans in doubleheader action. Game times are scheduled for 4 & 6 p.m.
SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Abigail Kleinschmidt ((0 runs, 2 hits, 1 RBI)
2nd Star: Kelsey Alexander (1 run, 0 hits, 1 RBI)
3rd Star: Isabella Darmos (0 runs, 1 hit, 1 RBI)