by Kirstin Anderson
Shortstop Savannah Dixon's two home runs powered the Hope College softball team on Wednesday, and left fielder Noelle Jackson's arm made sure the Flying Dutch walked away with a 9-2 and 7-6 sweep of the non-league games and improved to 14-4 on the season.
Jackson, pictured right, threw out the tying run at home plate in the bottom of the sixth inning to preserve a one-run Hope lead. The senior from Grand Blanc, Michigan (Grand Blanc) had an amazing throw to catcher Morgann Kanouse, head coach Mary VandeHoef said.
Aurora (9-9) already had scored twice in the inning when the Spartans got a two-out single with runners on first and second against reliever Avery Slancik of Scotts, Michigan (Vicksburg). Jackson, however, stopped the rally.
Slancik then tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh for her second save of the season. Reliever Janelle Baar of Byron Center, Michigan (Byron Center), picked up her fifth win of the season.
Hope overcame a 4-1 deficit after three innings.
In two-run fifth, Kanouse knocked in Pinhey on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded. Second baseman Arinn King of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) followed with an RBI single.
Dixon, pictured left, delivered the go-ahead blast with a three-run homer in the sixth. The sophomore from Niles, Michigan (Edwardsburg HS) now has four home runs on the season.
Two batters later, King drove home first baseman Kaelin Callow of Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield) with what proved to be the decisive run. King went 3-for 4.
In Game 1, Dixon broke the ice in a big way by blasting a two-run homer to left that brought home Pinhey in the first inning.
The Flying Dutch added to its lead until Aurora scored twice in the seventh.
Dixon scored again in the third inning on a Callow RBI single Callow went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and one RBI.
King delivered a run-scoring single in the third for a 4-0 Flying Dutch lead.
Haskins (6-1) went the distance. The freshman from Brighton, Michigan (Brighton) struck out six while allowing six hits and not walking a batter.
The Flying Dutch return to Wolters Stadium on Saturday, April 6 where they will face Calvin College at 1 p.m.