Alves’ homers keep the Panthers rolling

Senior catcher Olivia Alves hit a pair of home runs as the McKinleyville Panthers defeated the Fortuna Huskies in softball action on Monday afternoon to take over sole possession of top spot in the Big 5.

The Panthers broke open a tight game with seven runs in the top of the fourth on the way to a 10-0 win in five innings.

It was their third shutout win in four league games.

With the victory, the Mack girls remained undefeated on the season at 9-0, while moving to 4-0 in league play, one win ahead of arch rivals Arcata, which is 3-0 in the Big 5.

The two teams play a three-game series this week.

The Panthers have been getting help from throughout a deep lineup early in the season, and on Monday it was Alves who led the way, hitting the two homers and driving in four of her team’s 10 runs.

Lexi White and Jaycee Morais each also had two base hits and a pair of RBIs, including a double by Morais, while Jada Bailey was 2-for-3.

Triple-specialist Ashley Ballew finished 1-for-3 with another triple, while Morgan Viale added an RBI.

Pitcher McKenzie Gonsalves was commanding once again for the Panthers, registering her fourth win in four league outings in just four days.

The senior tossed three innings, allowing two hits while striking out seven and walking one.

Gonsalves pitched 19 innings going back to Friday afternoon, allowing just two runs in her four appearances.

Mikayla Minton continued to impress in relief, tossing two hitless and scoreless innings to preserve the shutout.

Minton struck out two and walked one, as the two Mack pitchers combine to hold the Huskies’ bats to just two hits.

For Fortuna, which dropped to 0-4 in the Big 5, Morgan Murray and Renee Metz each finished with a base hit.

The Huskies, who are now 3-8 overall, will play next at McKinleyville on Monday.

The Panthers will travel to Arcata for a single game on Wednesday at 4 p.m., and will host the Tigers in a doubleheader on Saturday.

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