By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Parma/Dayton Ohio---Tori Weidinger (Whitmer/Toledo, Ohio) hit three home runs in four games, Lexi Williams (Home School/Swanton, Ohio) picked up two wins, and Lesley Ducat (Evergreen/Lyons, Ohio) retired 17 straight in yesterday's second game as the Owens Community College softball team took three out of four games from conference foes Sinclair Community College and Cuyahoga Community College this weekend.
Game 1: Owens 8 Sinclair 6 (10 Innings)
Christina Huffman's (Monroe/Monroe, Mich.) pinch-hit, RBI single in the 10th inning helped Owens secure an 8-6 win in a wild first game on Friday.
Weidinger produced a sacrifice fly and a solo home run in the first and fourth innings, respectively, as Owens held a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Ducat then retired the first two batters she faced in the seventh, but allowed four straight singles to allow Sinclair to tie the game before getting a line out to end the inning.
That's when things got really wild as both teams combined for 10 runs over the next three extra innings.
Owens got things started in the eighth with a Brittany George (Elmwood/Wayne, Ohio) double and a Jacey Gray (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) single to lead off the inning. After Gray stole second, Weidinger hit a ground ball to Sinclair's third baseman, Brianna Bush, who threw wildly to first - allowing both runners to score.
Following that, Owens was retired in order and took a two run lead into the home half of the eighth with Sam Fowls (Maumee/Maumee, Ohio) entering in relief of Ducat.
However, Sinclair produced two singles and two walks to tie the game and chase Fowls, who was replaced by Williams. It was Williams who allowed the second inherited runner to score and tie the game before getting a groundout and a pop out to send the game to the ninth.
With one out, Bush made another throwing error on a ground ball from Breanna Buck (Springfield/Holland, Ohio), who came around to score three batters later on an RBI single from Gray to put Owens up 9-8 through eight and a half.
In the home half, Sinclair answered once again with a two-out RBI single from Alex Hendrix to tie it back up and force a 10th inning.
That's when Owens got three runs to finally pull away. Younker led off with a single. She was erased on a fielder's choice ground out by Williams. Following a walk by Hall, Owens got an RBI single up the middle by Huffman. A second runner scored on the play due to a throwing error by Sinclair's centerfielder, Hendrix. Huffman then scored on another infield error from Sinclair as Owens took a 10-7 lead.
Liz Hillen hit a one-out, solo home run in the bottom half, but Williams closed out her seventh win of the season.
Williams (7-3) allowed four hits, two runs and zero walks with one strikeout in three innings. Fowls allowed two hits, two runs and two walks without recording an out. Ducat, who started, pitched well over the first seven. She allowed nine hits, two runs and three walks while striking out nine in a no decision.
Gray (3-for-5, R, RBI, 2 SB) led the Owens offense, while Makayla Burtscher (Bedford/Temperance, Mich.), George and Younker also picked up two hits apiece.
Game 2: Owens 8 Sinclair 6
Both teams picked up where they left off in the first game by producing five combined runs.
In the top of the first, Younker's two-run single scored George and Gray, who doubled and singled with one out. A bases clearing triple down the left field line by Cassie Osterfeld then gave Sinclair a 3-2 lead through one.
Fowls held Sinclair down for a couple innings before Weidinger's two-run home run in the third inning gave Owens a 4-3 lead.
Sinclair answered in the fourth wiith a rally to chase Fowls. Ducat came in and allowed an inherited runner to score with a two-out RBI single. Sinclair then added two more runs off Ducat in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-4 lead.
However, Buck came through in a big way with her second home run in a week, this one a two-run shot in the top of the sixth to tie the game at six.
Then, in the seventh, Owens broke the tie for good as Gray led off with a walk and later came around to score on a wild pitch. Ericca Herzog (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) added a sacrifice fly for the game's final run.
Williams, who once again got the win in relief by blanking Sinclair over the final two innings, improved to 8-3 on the season. She allowed just one hit and one walk in an otherwise spotless outing. Fowls went the first three innings, allowing four hits, four runs and one walk while striking out two. In the middle two innings, Ducat allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) with one strikeout.
Younker finished 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI, while Gray was 2-for-3 with three runs and a walk. George (2-for-4, R) and Josie Hall (New London/New London, Ohio) (2-for-3) also picked up multiple hits.
Game 3: Cuyahoga 3 Owens 2
The Owens offense struggled to get much going against Cuyahoga's Meredith Chopka while dropping the first game of Saturday's road doubleheader.
Hall gave Owens an early 1-0 lead in the second. Paige Younker (Wilmington/Port William, Ohio) reached on an error to lead off the inning and Hall doubled her home with a shot to right center up the gap.
Ducat was pulled after her third walk of the game to lead off the third. Fowls replaced her, allowing the inherited runner to score along with one more as Cuyahoga took a 2-1 lead.
Cuyahoga got to Fowls for one more run in the fifth. After allowing the bases to fill up, Fowls exited for Williams, who allowed a bases loaded walk before getting a strikeout and a foul pop out to end the threat.
Emily Young (Maumee/Maumee, Ohio) pulled Owens within one in the sixth on an RBI single, but Gray was picked off at third to end the threat.
In the seventh, Owens got a leadoff single from Hall, but pinch runner Herzog was stranded at second to end the game.
Gray finished 2-for-2, while Hall was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The trio of Ducat, Fowls and Williams allowed three hits, three runs and eight walks while striking out three. The Owens offense actually out-hit Cuyahoga 6-3 despite losing by one run, while Fowls (3-5) took the loss in relief.
Chopka went the distance. She allowed six hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
Game 4: Owens 4 Cuyahoga 1
Weidinger's two-run home run in the sixth inning highlighted a three-run sixth to help Owens break open a tie game and prevent Cuyahoga from forcing a tie atop the league standings.
Cuyahoga scored once in the first off Fowls. After the game's first four batters, Ducat replaced Fowls and prevented any further damage in the inning.
In the third, Buck reached on an error and later scored on a Younker sacrifice fly to tie the game.
After this, Ducat continued dominating in the circle. She allowed a leadoff single in the second, but retired every batter after that, including the final 17 batters of the game to help her offense find time to score.
After Gray reached second with one out in the top of the sixth on a double error from Cuyahoga's second baseman, Weidinger homered to left center. Later, Cassidy Rolf (Eastwood/Pemberville, Ohio) laced an RBI triple to right for a 4-1 lead.
Ducat (10-5) picked up the win while producing seven strikeouts over 6.2 innings. She allowed just the one hit. In one-third of an inning, Fowls allowed one hit, one run and two walks.
Burtscher was the lone player with multiple hits for Owens as the freshman slapper finished 2-for-3. Gray, Weidinger, Hall, Rolf and Katie Jensen (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) picked up the other five hits.
With the 3-1 weekend, Owens is now 21-13 overall and 5-1 in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play. Sinclair is now 23-8 overall and 4-4 in OCCAC play, and Cuyahoga is 17-12 overall and 7-3 in OCCAC play.
After sweeping Lakeland Community College on the road earlier this week, Owens is now two games up in first place over Cuyahoga and three up on Sinclair. They will close out conference play with a home doubleheader against each team, starting with Tuesday's 3:30 p.m. tilt against Cuyahoga. On Wednesday, it's Lakeland at 3:30 p.m. before Sinclair comes to town on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Gray is now hitting a team-high .421 while also leading the team in runs (35), hits (45) and stolen bases (38). Weidinger now has a team-high eight home runs this year, along with a team-high 32 RBI. She is hitting .392.