February 22, 2014

Hospodka Twins Power WNC to Five-Game Conference Winning Streak

Wildcats Complete Series Sweep of Colorado Northwestern

One Hospodka presented enough of a challenge for Colorado Northwestern Community College pitchers to contain on Saturday, but two Hospodkas in the top half of the Western Nevada College lineup proved to be too much for the Spartans to handle.

Twin sisters Makenzie and Meghan Hospodka hit two-run homers as WNC completed a Scenic West Athletic Conference softball doubleheader sweep of CNCC with a come-from-behind 7-5 victory in Carson City.

WNC started its second doubleheader sweep in two days with a 10-2 win as sophomore Carlee Beck pitched a complete-game three-hitter and the Wildcats made offensive contributions throughout their lineup.

“I think we were just rolling over from (Friday’s) wins, and I just think we are looking really good at the plate and concentrating,” said Makenzie Hospodka, who attended Damonte Ranch High School in Reno.

Makenzie Hospodka’s two-run shot over the right-field fence snapped a 5-5 tie in the sixth. Pitcher Lindsey Ashbaugh took it from there, retiring the Spartans in order in the top of the seventh.

It was WNC’s fifth straight SWAC victory after starting the conference season 0-6. Wildcat coach Leah Wentworth said that her Wildcats are benefiting from playing a difficult early season schedule.

“If you look at basically all of the games leading up to this series, 90 percent of the teams we’ve played are in the top 20 in the nation right now,” Wentworth said. “It’s always tough to start out like that, but at the same time when you play that kind of competition, it only helps you improve.

“They are taking a lot of what they’ve learned in the past couple of weeks and applying it today and yesterday.”

Meghan Hospodka gave the Wildcats’ offense a jolt in the first inning as her two-run blast tied the score at 2. The twins combined for five hits, six RBI and three runs scored.

Ashbaugh earned her first conference victory, blanking the Spartans over the final three innings. The Carson High product retired seven of the final eight batters she faced.

CNCC jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Amanda Cook doubled in Mackenzie Gray, who reached on an error. Shannen Andersen’s two-out hit down the left-field line plated Cook.

But WNC struck back in its first at-bat to tie the score. Madi Gonzalez beat out a groundball for an infield hit and Meghan Hopsodka followed with a two-run homer to center.

When the first four Wildcats reached base in the second inning, CNCC elected to replace starting pitcher Kellie Percival with Rilee Lutz. A single by Ashbaugh and a botched throw to first by Percival on a sacrifice bunt by Gonzalez put both runners in scoring position. Katelyn Bomar and Makenzie Hospodka followed with RBI singles to make the score 4-2. But Lutz came in to put out the rally, retiring the next three hitters.

The Spartans came back with two runs in the third on the strength of a couple of extra-base hits. Gray doubled to center to begin the rally, then Cook brought her home with a double to left. Cook took third on the throw home and beat a relay to the plate on Jaisha Webb’s groundout.

In the fourth inning, CNCC moved in front 5-4 on a two-out base hit by Gray.

However, the Wildcats recouped the run in their half of the fourth. Makenzie Hospodka was nearly robbed by left fielder Gray, who left her feet in an attempt to flag down the drive into the gap. By the time, the ball was relayed into the infield, Makenzie Hospodka was on third base. After a walk to Gonzalez, Meghan Hospodka plated her sister with the tying run on a deep fly ball to center.

The Wildcats stranded Heather Septon on third base in the fifth, but Makenzie Hospodka delivered the decisive blow in the sixth.

“This weekend, they have been doing a great job of still pushing runs through and getting hits with two outs. They are showing a lot of fight in that regard, and I don’t see a lot of quit in these girls,” Wentworth said.

In the opener, Beck surrendered just two hits while shutting out the Spartans through the first four innings.

Six Wildcats lined two hits as WNC pounded pitcher Nicole Durfey for 15 hits. Gonzalez, Meghan Hospodka, Makenzie Hospodka and Jenny Rechel each collected two hits and crossed the plate twice. Andi Lee and Katilyn Covione blasted a pair of hits and scored a run. Knocking in a run were Gonzalez, Covione, Rechel and Septon.

WNC missed a chance to close out the Spartans in the fifth inning when two Colorado Northwestern baserunners scored on a dropped infield fly with one out.

Leading 9-2 in the bottom of the inning, Gonzalez nearly ended the game when her one-out line drive hit off the protective plastic topping the outfield fence in left. After the double, Gonzalez moved to third on a groundout but was left there when Cook snared Rechel’s liner that was headed into right-center field.

Beck bounced back in the sixth, retiring the Spartans 1-2-3.

Then, the Wildcats finished off the Spartans in the sixth. Lee doubled to center and moved to third on Ashbaugh’s high fly ball to center. Covione delivered a two-out base hit to center to plate Lee.

The Wildcats scored four runs in the first inning and three in the second to build a quick 7-0 lead. Makenzie Hospodka, Gonzalez and Meghan Hospodka came through with his in the first frame, while Gonzalez and Rechel delivered run-scoring base hits in the second.

WNC (8-12 overall) continues SWAC play with a four-game set at North Idaho College on Feb. 28 and March 1.

“The confidence that they are getting through this series is really going to help propel them in the future games, and next time when we see those teams, there will be a difference,” Wentworth said.

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