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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Home runs seal victory for softball over Vikings, Rockets

The Wildcats beat Whitman on Thursday, Richard Montgomery on Friday, with home runs from Bonior, Gilder, Langley and Reynolds
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Seyun Park
The Wildcats gather around in celebration as sophomore catcher Alina Bonior approaches home plate following her 2 RBI home run in the bottom of the third inning. Bonior’s home run was the first by a WJ player on the WJ field over the fence.

After Whitman sophomore Sydney Altman hit a home run in the top of the third inning, WJ softball head coach Richard Carter made a pointed observation: no WJ hitter had ever hit a home run over WJ’s softball fence (installed in 2022) during a regular season game — only players on visiting teams had managed to clear the fence.

But Carter’s words would not fall upon deaf ears. Ultimately, it would be sophomore Alina Bonior who would get the final say. Stepping up to the plate in the bottom of the third inning, Bonior swung hard on a pitch from Whitman pitcher senior Katherine Frick, sending the ball deep into left, flying over the head of senior left fielder Greta Berglund and rolling on the grass behind the fence.

Bonior’s home run was no one-hit wonder either. Bonior carried the Wildcats to a 10-6 win over the Whitman Vikings on Thursday evening, April 11, going 3 for 3 at the plate with a single, double and her home run while recording 3 RBIs.
Whitman entered the game with an undefeated record (3-0) while the Wildcats had picked up key wins against B-CC and Churchill HS.

The Vikings attacked first, gaining an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, The Wildcats responded with an RBI double by Bonior in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the third inning, Altman’s solo home run extended the Viking’s lead to 3-1.

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In the bottom of the third inning, the Wildcat offense got to work with sophomore third baseman Ella Reynolds recording a single. Bonior’s 2 RBI home run then leveled the game at 3-3.

“During my next at-bat, I knew I needed to make sure I didn’t over-swing or swing at a bad pitch, which can happen because I’m fired up and eager to hit…I have hit home runs in travel, but that was my first home run for WJ, so it was really exciting,” Bonior said.

With seniors Ellie Langley, Carly Gilder and Mackenzie Norris loading the bases immediately after Bonior’s home run, senior right fielder Allie Berube stepped up to the plate and grounded the ball, recording a 3 RBI double off a Whitman error and giving the Cats a 6-3 lead.

Carter presents the home run ball to Bonior following the Whitman game, which finished past 9 p.m. Bonior was joined in the Wildcats’ home run club by Reynolds, Gilder and Langley less than 24 hours later. (Seyun Park)

In the next few innings, senior pitcher Sami Rosenberg and the defense steadfastly held off the Whitman offense with Rosenberg recording 10 strikeouts across seven innings, sophomore shortstop Addie Strbak making multiple throw-out plays to first base and Bonior throwing out two runners trying to steal second.

The Wildcats would pick up insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning courtesy of a sac fly from Langley and a 2 RBI single from Norris to extend their lead. In the top of the seventh inning, the Wildcats gave up three runs before sophomore left fielder Abby Koenig ended the game on a caught pop fly.

Less than 24 hours later, the Cats returned to their home turf to face off against the Richard Montgomery Rockets for their fourth game in five days.

“Having four games in a week was definitely a challenge, but we kept our spirits high and were encouraging to each other every day. I think just being with the team is what gets me through the week because we are such good friends,” Reynolds said.

Despite having pitched over 130 pitches Thursday night, Rosenberg manned the circle again for the full five innings and led the team to a 16-6 mercy rule win over the Rockets.

“We went into the week understanding that it would be extremely demanding on Sami. With only one pitcher she is obviously going to get tired. We did what we could to back her up … It obviously showed with the rest of the team’s performance,” Gilder said.

Rosenberg pitched a total of 454 pitches in 24 innings across the week, giving up nine earned runs and striking out 35 batters. Following Bonior’s Thursday night lead, the game was a home run derby for the Cats with Reynolds, Gilder and Langley all hitting over-the-fence home runs.

“Hitting the home run was really a confidence booster for me as I have not been hitting the best, but I hope that I can continue to do what I did this game in the future,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds went 3 for 4 at the plate with a single, double and her home run. Strbak also broke out of a short-lived hitting slump, recording three hits against the Rockets.

The Cats next play Montgomery Blair High School (6-1) at home on Tuesday. The Blazers have scored an average of 12.7 runs per game, including beating Richard Montgomery 15-9 and Churchill High School 11-10, but were shut out on Friday 6-0 versus Damascus High School. In comparison, the Cats have scored an average of 10.7 runs per game in their first six games and have improved to 5-1, putting them in first place in their region.

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Seyun Park
Seyun Park, Print Editor-in-Chief
Junior Seyun Park is in his third year of the Pitch, happy to join this year as a Print Editor-in-Chief. Outside of Pitch, Seyun plays tennis and cello, and likes to follow hockey.
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