SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON – River Queen Field was a hitter’s paradise for the Ashford University softball team on Wednesday night, as the Saints put on an offensive clinic against the Eagles of AIB.
Juniors Shelby Hobelman and Alex Bitto each connected for two home runs as the Saints produced a pair of five-inning wins, 15-3 and 13-5. With the wins, Ashford improves to 13-12 on the year.
“Our players love hitting in this ball park.” Head Coach Kevin Jannusch said. “Everyone seems to trust their swings in this park and tonight we showed what we can do. We know we can be a dangerous team offensively and hopefully this jump-starts a few of our kids that have struggled over the last few weeks.”
Game One: Ashford 15 – AIB 3 (5 inn.)
AIB jumped on top in their first at-bat of the game when Kaili Wells hit a towering three-run shot off Ashford starter Kendra Roth. The Saints would cut the lead down to one in the bottom of the inning when Siera Spaihu and Katelyn Hair drew a pair of bases loaded walks.
In the second inning, the Saints would blow the game wide open, scoring 10 runs on five hits and taking advantage of four Eagle errors. Nicole Interrante evened the score at three with a bases loaded walk, setting the stage for Hobelman to put the Saints ahead for good with a grand slam that just cleared the left field wall for her second home run of the season.
Later in the inning, Bitto belted her first homer of the year with a screaming line drive that cleared the center field wall for a two-run shot. The Chicago Heights, Ill.-native added her second dinger of the game in the fourth with a lead-off home run over the right field wall to make it 14-3.
Ashford would add one more in the fourth before shutting down the Eagles in the fifth to end the game.
Game Two: Ashford 13 – AIB 5 (5 inn.)
AU picked up right where they left off in game two, scoring three times in the opening inning before adding six more in the second. Bitto made it 4-0 in the second frame with an RBI single before Interrante plated two more with a single of her own. With two down and two on, Hobelman launched a no-doubter over the left field wall for her third long ball of the year, making it 9-1 Saints.
Taylor Ellestad made it 10-1 Ashford with a run-scoring single in the third, but the Eagles would battle back with four runs in fifth to keep the game alive.
But the Saints snuffed out any attempt at a comeback in the bottom of the inning, getting an RBI bases loaded walk from Ohlemeyer and a two-run single fro Brianna De La Rosa that ended the game.
Nicole Schmidt (7-5) picked up a win in her sixth straight start, giving up seven hits and five unearned runs while striking out a career-high nine batters.