AURORA | Mackenzie Hochstetler now appears in the home run column for her Eaglecrest softball team and she has slugging teammates Kailey Wilson and Rachel Sabourin in part to thank.
The Raptors’ senior pitcher got caught up in the power-hitting wave produced by Wilson and Sabourin — who combined for five home runs — as she drilled a grand slam for her first homer of the season in an eight-run rally that sparked Eaglecrest to a 21-8 Centennial League victory Tuesday at Grandview.
On a crisp fall day with not much wind to speak of, balls flew out of the Wolves’ cozy ballpark early and often, as the teams combined for five home runs in the first inning alone and 10 for the game, including three from Wilson and two from Sabourin, plus one apiece from Grandview’s Sophie Herrera, Jacqueline Ley, Morgan Quimby and Amy Vallejos.
Hochstetler got to experience the home run trot for the first time this season.
“I hit one every once in awhile, but not as consistently as they do,” Hochstetler said, referring to Wilson and Sabourin, who now have a combined 13 home runs.
“Especially with this team, hitting is definitely contagious,” she added. “I do my part on the mound and if I can, I bring it at the plate as well.”
Wilson finished the day 4-for-4 with 7 RBI and 4 runs scored and might have had more driven in if Sabourin (4-for-5, 5 RBI, 4 runs) hadn’t cleared the bases in front of her.
The Creighton commitment hit a towering solo homer in the first inning, deposited a two-run shot over the center field fence in the third, laced a two-run single to right-center in the fourth inning to break a 6-6 tie, hit a frozen rope over the right field fence in the fifth and drove in a run with a deep sac fly in the sixth.
“At first, it was like home run derby out there and both sides were just hitting them and hitting them,” said Wilson, who ranks second in 5A with a .721 batting average and leads the classification with 30 RBI.
“I thought if we just kept hitting line drives, we’d be OK,” she added. “My approach up there was I was looking for my pitch and my pitch only. I wasn’t going to swing at anything high or low, I was just waiting for the perfect pitch.”
Hochstetler — who came on in relief of starter Braelyne Crenshaw in the first inning — pounded a two-out grand slam over the fence to cap an eight-run rally in the fourth inning and become the sixth different player for coach Yvette Hendrian’s Eaglecrest team with at least one home run.
Her smash ignited the bench and put the Raptors (15-1 overall, 4-0 in Centennial League) up for good.
“Coach just told me to have confidence, get my hands to the ball and just hit it,” Hochstetler said.
As much as she liked the power display, Hendrian was most pleased that most of the home runs came with the good, solid swings they’ve been working on and not as the product of trying to hit one out of the park.
Sabourin had two-run bombs in the first and fifth innings that were rockets, two of Wilson’s three were line drives and so was Hochstetler’s, to the deepest part of the park.
“I hate playing here to be honest, it’s hard to keep the girls focused because it’s very easy to see 190 (feet down the lines) and start drooling,” Hendrian said.
“As much as we love watching them hit it over the fence, when it comes down to it, it’s not about the home run swing. It’s about hitting the line shots in the hole and at this field, getting a line shot in the hole goes out a lot.”
Coach Dave Thies’ Grandview team (5-10, 2-2) came in with three wins in its last four games, including quality Centennial League victories over rival Cherokee Trail and Smoky Hill.
The Wolves got off to a flying start as they responded to the Raptors’ first inning with a three-homer barrage in the bottom of the inning as Ley and Quimby connected on their second home runs of the season and Herrera her first.
Freshman Emilia Coffman’s run-scoring double staked Grandview to a 6-3 lead in the second inning, but it wouldn’t score again until junior Amy Vallejos’ solo home run in the fifth inning staved off the 10-run mercy rule.
Junior Taryn Moan doubled as part of a 3-for-4 day and scored in the sixth for Grandview.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
EAGLECREST 21, GRANDVIEW 8
Score by innings (r-h-e):
Eaglecrest 302 835 — 21 17 1
Grandview 510 011 — 8 13 2
Brandee Morris c 5-3-3-0, Braelyne Crenshaw p-rf 4-1-1-0, Rachel Sabourin ss 5-4-4-5, Kailey Wilson 1b 4-4-4-7, Hannah Jensen 3b 5-1-0-1, Shayelyn Allen 2b 3-2-2-0, Mackenzie Hochstetler p 3-1-1-4, Reese Waggoner rf 3-0-0-0, Alicia Frairie cf 4-2-2-2, Anna Keefe 0-1-0-0, Isabelle Coffman 1-1-1-0, Sadie Runia 0-1-0-0. Totals 37-21-18-19. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Braelyne Crenshaw (0-4-5-5-1-0), Mackenzie Hochstetler (W, 6-9-3-3-1-1).
Taryn Moan ss 4-3-3-0, Emilie Coffman rf 2-1-1-2, Jacqueline Ley 1b 4-1-1-3, Morgan Quimby 2b 4-1-2-1, Sophie Herrera 3b 4-1-1-1, Elly Smith c 4-0-2-0, Amy Vallejos dh 3-1-2-1, Delanie Daughenbaugh cf 3-0-1-0, Caitlin Smith 1-0-0-0, Lyla Michels 1-0-0-0, Jenny Allen 1-0-0-0. Totals 31-8-13-8. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Ashley Vallejos (L, 6-15-19-11-1-1), Marion Schweitzer (o-2-2-2-0-0).
2B — Eaglecrest (2): Alicia Fraire, Brandee Morris; Grandview (5): Taryn Moan 2, Emilia Coffman, Morgan Quimby, Elly Smith. HR — Eaglecrest (6): Kailey Wilson 3, Rachel Sabourin 2, Mackenzie Hochstetler; Grandview (4): Sophie Herrera, Jacqueline Ley, Quimby, Amy Vallejos.