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Pitcher grand slams as hitter

Emerson Keenan

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MEDIUM FILE FOR WEB

Alex Molina, senior pitcher, gets ready to bat during practice. Photo credit: Maisee Lee

Senior pitcher Alex Molina stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded. Humboldt State is holding on to a 5-2 lead and with a swing of the bat, Molina sends a grand slam over the fence giving the ‘Cats a 6-5 lead.

The Wildcats went on to win the game 8-7 March 2. Not only did Molina hit the grand slam to keep the ‘Cats in it, she also threw a complete game victory for her fourth win of the season.

She struggled early this season with hitting and was worried that head coach Angel Shamblin was going to take her out as a hitter, Molina said.

“I was worried she didn’t want me hitting due to being the only senior pitcher on the team and not wanting me to get hurt,” Molina said. “That is when I knew when I got the chance to hit again, I needed to perform.”

Having a pitcher hit in softball is uncommon for many teams. Most teams opt to have a designated hitter, whose job is to hit in place of the pitcher.

“If we have a pitcher who can hit, obviously pitching does come first, and that’s why we brought her here, but we’re going to create a lineup with our best nine hitters,” Shamblin said.

She has to work on both hitting and pitching because she can do both very well, something that can be a bit of a challenge, Molina said.

“When you’re just pitching, you feel kind of helpless the other half of the game,” Molina said. “It’s nice to be in the game on both sides. Maybe if I’m not doing so well on the mound, I can pick myself up with my bat or vise versa, so it’s definitely a nice talent to have.”

“It’s great to have a pitcher that can hit,” said junior outfielder Sammi Ridgway. “Because it gets another hitter in the lineup who can also pitch, so you don’t need a designated player.”

The team hasn’t recently had any other pitchers besides Molina hitting in the lineup, Shamblin said.

Currently, Molina is hitting .238 on the season but has a .407 on base percentage. She also has a pitching record of 7-6, a 2.93 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 43.

Molina’s early struggles this season seem to be in the past. She picked up two hits in the series against Cal State Dominguez Hills and another hit against San Francisco State. To top it off, she earned the California Collegiate Athletic Association softball Pitcher of the Week.

Chance Keenan can be reached at [email protected] or @chancelikelance on Twitter.

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Pitcher grand slams as hitter