Alexia Alley doesn't normally hit for herself when she's pitching for the Western Nevada College Wildcats. But Alley remained in the batting order after relieving Ali Lostra on Saturday, and she delivered her biggest hit of the season. Alley's three-run homer capped a five-run fifth inning, sparking the Wildcats to a come-from-behind 8-4 Scenic West Athletic Conference softball victory over Colorado Northwestern Community College at Edmonds Sports Complex.
"Nothing means more to me than to do good for my team," said Alley, who took a low fastball out of the park for her first homer of the season.
Western Nevada completed the four-game sweep by outscoring CNCC 10-6 in game two to raise its conference record to 12-17 and overall mark to 17-27.
WNC Coach Leah Wentworth has used a designated hitter for her pitchers for much of the season.
"I felt like it was time to let them hit," she said. "We see Lexi crushing the ball in the practice. This is a good weekend to get her confidence back."
Alley also picked up the win in the circle. She worked 2 2/3 innings in relief, surrendering just one hit while striking out two.
The Wildcats strung together seven hits to go ahead of the Spartans in the fifth inning. Melanie Pfeiffer started the rally with a double over a drawn-in outfield. After two of the longest outs of the day in her first two at-bats, Taleas Marble stung one on the ground to center field to score Pfeiffer with the tying run. Marble went to second on the throw home and made it to third on Ali Lostra's groundout to shortstop. A passed ball allowed Marble to scamper home with the lead run.
WNC wasn't content with being ahead 5-4. Niki DiSera lined a double to left field and Katirina Rand reached on an infield single, setting up Alley's home run over the left-field fence.
WNC went ahead in the second inning, scoring twice. Jordan Thomas' two-run single to right brought home DiSera and Rand. Alley's sacrifice bunt put DiSera and Rand in scoring position with one out.
The Spartans used a four-run third-inning rally to move ahead 4-2. Rand's throwing error on Taylor Dumas' bunt allowed Darrian Smith and Amanda Lanigan to score when the wide throw went down the right-field line. Dumas hustled to third base and scored on Ashleigh Lamoreaux's base hit to center, putting the Spartans ahead 3-2. Then a throwing error from the outfield put Lamoreaux in scoring position, and came back to hurt the Wildcats as Whitney Titus rapped a single to center to plate Lamoreaux.
"We needed to let that inning go and move on," Wentworth said. "We knew we had to get it back with our offense anyhow. I'm really happy with our offensive performance."
WNC picked up a run in the third on Lostra's sacrifice fly to right field. Pfeiffer started the inning by reaching second base on a dropped infield pop fly. Spartans center fielder Dumas robbed Marble of a two-run homer, but Pfeiffer advanced to third on the out, giving Lostra the chance at the RBI.
Neither starting pitcher lasted past the third inning. Titus threw three innings for the Spartans and returned in the fifth when Kelsey Kuentsler couldn't get the third out during the Wildcats' winning rally. Lostra worked 2 1/3 innings, leaving after four unearned runs scored in the third. Alley and Jordan Garcia shut out the Spartans the rest of the way as the Wildcat defense played errorless from the fourth inning on.
The Wildcats left Pfeiffer on third base in the first inning. She reached on a single to left field, stole second base and took third on Marble's deep fly ball to center field.
Colorado Northwestern also couldn't get a runner home from third in the top of the second. Whitney Titus doubled to the right-field fence to lead off the inning. She was sacrificed to third by Lindsey Spendlow, but Marble picked two consecutive hard ground balls at third to finish the rally.
Rand finished with three of the Wildcats' 12 hits. Pfeiffer, DiSera and Thomas contributed two hits to the winning cause.
In the second game, Marble hit her school-record 13th home run during a five-run second inning that put WNC in front 7-2 and finished a single short of hitting for the cycle. Marble also stroked a two-run triple in the third and lined a double in the sixth and concluded play with four RBI.
Press Release: April 9, 2012
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