Clark’s softball team snapped an eight-game losing streak after they swept the visiting Chemeketa Community College in a double-header Wednesday afternoon.
The shutout 5-0 game, pitched by sophomore Kelsey Oldham, was followed by freshman catcher Sarah Hoechlin’s grand slam in the sixth inning of the second game to clinch a 10-5 win.
Clark(3-11 and 15-17) is currently ranked No. 18 in the NWAC RPI rankings and needed these back-to-back wins against the No. 16 ranked Storm(2-12 and 8-24) to keep aspirations of postseason play alive. The first two teams of each division along with the next eight best RPI ranked teams will gain a playoff seed.
“One game would have been great, but two games really boosts us up,” said head coach Mandy Hill. “So hopefully now we are not on the bubble.”
With Chemeketa holding the cutoff ranking for the NWAC playoffs on May 27-30, the heat was on Clark to perform in the overcast and blustery doubleheader. Oldham responded to this pressure by exploiting the Storm’s batting weaknesses in hitting screwballs and curveballs.
“I threw a lot of spins for them,” Oldham said. “They didn’t like the different movement.”
The Penguins capitalized on this knowledge after Oldham pitched a whole game and passed the torch onto freshman Madison Plummer, who also pitched a whole game.
“Physically, we can do anything,” Hill said. “But they mentally have to know ‘I can do this.’”
Clark was tied 3-3 coming into the bottom of the sixth when seven runs came around the bases, including four by Hoechlin, who cracked a grand-slam over the left-center wall. Hoechlin has three home runs and 15 RBIs on the season.
The Penguins will host the Lower Columbia Community College Red Devils May 7 in a noon doubleheader. Clark fell 3-5 in the 11th inning during the last encounter with each other on April 19 at the Red Devils field in Longview.