MANKATO, MINNESOTA -- The Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois took both halves of Saturday's doubleheader against the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota at Caswell Park, with home runs from Holly Speers and Jennifer Gilbert powering the Wild to 3-1 and 4-1 wins in the day's games.
The Wild got the scoring started early, taking a lead in the first for the second straight game.
Emma Entzminger tripled, and came home on Speer's fly out for the 1-0 lead. That lead held up until the third when the peppers were able to get the run back on a sacrifice fly of their own off the bat of Stacey McManus.
The two teams stayed deadlocked until the sixth. With Entzminger on first after leading off the inning with a single, Speers blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence for a 3-1 lead that the Wild wouldn't relinquish. Speers was the Park Planet Player of the Game for the first game, going one for two at the plate on the night and was responsible for all of the Wild's runs in the contest.
Game two was another quick start for the Wild offense, with two runs in the second.
The first came courtesy of Kaleigh Rafter, who's groundout scored Speers for the 1-0 lead.
Janet Leung extended the lead to 2-0 in the inning with a single to center that scored Jennifer Salling from third. Gilbert's homer in the fifth inning extended the lead to 4-0 for the Wild.
The Peppers would get a run on the board in the sixth with a leadoff homer from Stacey Porter, but the Wild hung on in the seventh to claim the win.
It was another in a string of strong starts for Sara Groenewegen in game two on the day.
Groenewegen went six innings and allowed a run on five hits while striking out four and only walking one. She now sits atop the league in innings pitched (51.2) and is second in strikeouts with 44.
Jenna Caira came on in the seventh and closed out the game for the Wild without allowing the Peppers to get any closer despite pressure from the home team.
The Wild are off from league action until July 18, when they open a road series down in Viera Florida against the USSSA Pride.
From July 9-14, 19 members of the team will compete as Team Canada at the Canada Cup International Softball Championship in Surrey, British Columbia.