Three-Run Sixth Inning Powers Hornets Past Jets

Chelsea Wee -- Alameda High senior Madi Wellnitz went 1-for-3 against the Jets on March 31.
Chelsea Wee -- Alameda High senior Madi Wellnitz went 1-for-3 against the Jets on March 31.

Three-Run Sixth Inning Powers Hornets Past Jets

The Alameda High School (AHS) softball team used a three-run sixth inning rally to emerge victorious over Encinal High School (EHS), 4-1, in a highly competitive and exciting matchup.

The game took place on a sunny March 31 afternoon at Lower Washington Park in front of a substantial and lively crowd filled with supporters of each team. Freshman Cameron Tran started on the mound for the Jets, while junior Katy Lambert started for the Hornets. Both teams scored a run in the first inning. The Hornets scored first after Hornet senior Jenna Kwong dashed home on a double steal attempt where the throw from Encinal’s catcher went to second base. The Jets responded right away with a single from junior Lola Whalen that brought home sophomore Jazzy Alcantar who reached base on a double.

Following the action-packed first inning, the game settled down. Neither team scored a run in the next four innings. Both teams displayed great pitching and defense during these scoreless frames. The Hornets were close to scoring in the third inning, but EHS third baseman Celeste Hurtubise made two good defensive plays in a row preventing Alameda from scoring after Madi Wellnitz hit a leadoff double.

In the bottom of the third, AHS’ new pitcher, junior Jasmine Whorley, a travel-ball teammate of EHS’ Whalen, put a stop to the Jets’ rally as the hosts left two players on base against the hard-throwing right hander who seemed to throw the ball past the Jets’ hitters with ease.

In the fourth inning, the Hornets once again threatened but failed to score as Hurtubise took to the mound mid-inning and got her team back in the dugout. Whorley and Hurtubise continued to pitch well through the fifth inning. However, in the top of the sixth inning, the wheels came off for the Jets as their defensive mistakes largely contributed to the Hornets taking the lead.

After Whorley’s third hit of the game, Lambert connected on a hit down the right-field line that was not picked up cleanly by the Jets’ right fielder, allowing Whorley to score and Lambert to make it to third base. Then, with two outs and Lambert still at third, Hurtubise fielded a ground ball, but threw the ball over the head of the first baseman, allowing Lambert to come home. The Hornets scored one more run before the third out was finally recorded.

Seeking another quick response, a double by Hurtubise set up another scoring opportunity for the Jets with runners on third and first and just one out. However, Whorley shut down the comeback attempt, snagging a line drive comebacker and then throwing to the third baseman to complete the inning-ending double play. The Hornets proceeded to play out the rest of the game, securing a hard-fought victory over their cross-town rival.

Despite the loss, Encinal’s head coach Maureen Layag was relatively upbeat after the game, noting how far her team has come.

“Lots of positive takeaways. We have not come this close to beating Alameda in six or seven years, so it was a great game,” said Layag. “They beat us in a scrimmage in the beginning of the season by 10 runs in the fifth inning, so to go seven and have it that close. We made three errors and it cost us the game. There is not much they did wrong. They just fell apart at a certain time."

Whorley finished the game going 3-for-4 from the plate, while also pitching five scoreless innings and striking out six batters.

The Hornets’ record moved to 6-3 overall on the season. The Hornets will play Piedmont on Monday on the road and San Ramon Valley High of Danville on Wednesday at home. The Jets lost to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, 7-5, the next day. The Jets are now 3-6 overall on the season. EHS will play Pinole Valley High School on Monday on the road and St. Joseph Notre Dame on Wednesday at home.

Chelsea Wee -- Encinal High junior Celeste Hurtubise pitches against Alameda on March 31.