Penguins softball team doubled up by Detroit
By Tom Williams
Even though she has 24 career homers for Youngstown State, Cali Mikovich says it’s not often she leaves home plate assured she’s connected for one.
In Friday’s second game against Detroit Mercy, Mikovich hit a line shot over the left-center field fence for a two-run homer, her first of the season.
“Honestly, that might have been one of the only home runs that I’ve had that actually felt like a home run,” the 5-foot-1 Austintown Fitch graduate said, “because I always question whether they are going to go over [the fence].
“That one actually felt pretty good,” said Mikovich who ranks sixth on YSU’s career list for homers. “I said, ‘This would be great right now.’”
Mikovich’s homer made the first dent into Detroit Mercy’s four-run lead. Although the Penguins tied the game in the fourth inning, the Titans scored twice in the seventh inning for a 6-4 victory at the YSU Softball Complex for a doubleheader sweep.
In the opening game, the Titans’ Ashley Mauser limited the Penguins to two hits in a 4-0 victory. Mauser struck out 15, then relieved Lindsay Brandon in the sixth inning of the second game to earn two victories in one frigid afternoon. “She kept us off balance,” YSU coach Brian Campbell said, “She did a really good job throwing the ball low in the zone.”
Campbell expects to see Mauser again in the series finale at noon today.
“We’ll just have to be disciplined hitters,” Campbell said.
In her next at-bat, Mikovich hit a RBI double down the right-field line, scoring Stevie Taylor (South Range) with the Penguins’ third run.
“I knew [starter Liz Murphy] was [going] inside to lefties so I knew what was coming,” Mikovich said. “I was happy when I saw it went fair and I saw [Maddi Lusk] score.”
Freshman Elle Buffenbarger (2-4) took the loss in the second game, but kept the Penguins in the game after she relieved Lusk in the second inning with YSU trailing 3-0.
Kori Keys drove in the Titans’ fourth run with a deep hit to left field but was thrown out at second base trying for a double.
The Titans didn’t score again until the final inning.
Buffenbarger said she spent time in the first game warming up in case Campbell lifted Paige Geanangel (5-8) so she was ready.
“It was freezing,” Buffenbarger said, who didn’t mind the extra activity. “I had to make sure I was ready to come in at any moment.”
Buffenbarger said Mikovich’s homer provided a huge lift.
“The energy went through the roof because everyone was so excited for Cali,” Buffenbarger said. “That was a game-changer.”
Tatum Christy’s solo homer in the fourth inning tied the game at 4.