*This article was featured in the May 2 edition of the Hastings Tribune.
Corrin Ziepke is good at hitting softballs.
The sophomore from Gretna, Neb. crushed her 14th and 15th home runs of the season Sunday night in a sweep over Mount Marty College. Her fourteenth was a two-run walk-off shot to win game one and number fifteen, which is now the new school record for home runs in a single season, came in the form of a grand slam in game two.
“It felt really good,” Ziepke said. “Being young and learning from the seniors has been really good.”
After her two home runs tonight, she sits second in the all-time home run record books for Hastings College with 25 home runs thus far in her career. And yes, she’s still just a sophomore.
Head Coach Troy Baker had high praise for Ziepke.
“If Corrin stays healthy, she’s going to break every single record there is,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of great players here, and some of them are her teammates right now, but Corrin has a chance to be the greatest of all time.”
Despite the dreary and cold conditions at the Smith Softball Complex on Sunday, the Broncos used power hitting and effective pitching to sweep Mount Marty College.
Senior Taylor Erlenbusch started strong on the mound, tallying four strikeouts and allowing no runs in the first two innings. But in top half of the third, the Lancers nabbed three runs with one swing of the bat.
Olivia Rodriguez belted a three-run homerun over the left field wall off of Erlenbusch to take a 3-0 in the top of the third. In the bottom half of the third Hastings got one back, as Erlenbusch singled and later scored to cut the deficit to two.
Erlenbusch went back to her dominant ways on the mound – and at the plate – to close out the game. She redeemed that homerun she gave up in the third with a two-run homerun of her own in the bottom of the sixth.
She rocked a pitch towards the left field wall and after it deflected off a Lancer outfielder’s glove, was deemed a homerun. The blast knotted the game at three all heading into the top of the seventh.
Mount Marty went down one-two-three in the top of the seventh and Hastings had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh.
After a flyout to start the inning, junior Chloe Boeka slapped a single into left field and took first base with the chance to be the winning run. The next at-bat, sophomore Corrin Ziepke – who entered today’s games with 13 home runs this season — crushed a two-run, walk-off home run over the left-center wall to give the Broncos a 5-3 victory.
“They made a mistake on an 0-2 pitch to Corrin and it’s hard when you throw down to her,” Baker said. “You do that, you’re going to pay.”
After a dramatic walk-off victory in game one, the Broncos picked up right where they left off in game two, drumming the Lancers 13-1 in five innings.
The Broncos dominated in all facets of the game and received a nice outing on the mound from Adams Central grad Josie Bumgardner. Bumgardner pitched a complete-game, tallying nine strikeouts and allowing just one earned run.
“Josie pitched really well,” Baker said. “If she figures out how to pitch, she’s going to be a phenomenal pitcher for us at Hastings.”
Hastings broke open the scoring in the second inning, where they batted around the order and scored seven runs on six hits. Ziepke led the team with three hits and five RBIs in game two.
The Broncos tacked on three more runs in the third and one in the fourth to win 13-1.
The win sets the Broncos up nicely for a potential deep run in the GPAC Tournament.
“We’re playing extremely well…I think the seniors want it and it doesn’t matter who we play,” Baker said. “I like where we’re at, but I don’t think we’ve peaked. I think this team has a higher ceiling if we can get there.”