Six area softball teams entered regional tournaments Saturday afternoon and two survived to earn a spot in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
Schoolcraft rallied for a 5-4 win against defending Division 4 champion Centreville in the regional semifinal, then eliminated defending Division 3 champ and regional host Coloma 3-2. Elsewhere, Kalamazoo Christian topped Lawrence 5-2 and sixth-ranked River Valley 9-1 to punch their ticket to the elite eight.
Both Gull Lake and Vicksburg were able to win their regional semifinals, but both ran into juggernauts in the final with a 1-0 Blue Devil defeat to #3 Howell and a 5-2 Bulldog loss against #4 Lakeshore. Colon also competed in D4, dropping a 6-0 result to River Valley.
(Division 3 At Coloma)
Semifinal: Schoolcraft 5, Centreville 4
The Bulldogs led for essentially the entire game against the Eagles, getting the first blow on a second inning solo home run by Olivia Deeds. Joanna Larsen went yard in the fourth inning, bringing in herself and Kenleigh West Wing. West Wing then singled in Kamryn Troyer in the seventh, giving Centreville a 4-0 lead three outs away from victory.
Schoolcraft had scattered five hits in the prior six innings against Bulldog pitcher McKenzie Sheteron. The bottom of the seventh opened with Adrienne Rosey getting hit by the first pitch. Katie Parker singled, then Kayla Onken walked to load the bases with no outs. Next, Kelby Goldschmeding smacked a two RBI double, scoring Rosey and Parker for a 4-2 score with still no outs.
Jordan Watts followed with a RBI double, bringing Onken home and placing Goldschmeding at third. At that point, the Bulldogs switched pitchers and hoped that MaKenzi Troyer could pick up the save with Centreville still leading 4-3. The Eagles subbed Paige Reid for Goldschmeding at third for extra speed.
Troyer plunked Mikayla Meade to load the bases up, but then tallied the inning’s first out via pop-out. Allie Goldschmeding stepped up and grounded the ball hard to second, causing a fielding error. Reid scored the tying run and Watts had the clincher to complete Schoolcraft’s rally.
Kelby Goldschmeding finished with three hits and two RBI. Meade pitched the first four and 1/3 innings with five hits and three earned runs allowed. Rosey recorded the next two and 2/3 with three hits and one earned run, plus four strikeouts.
Sheteron’s final line was six innings, eight hits, six runs (three earned), one strikeout, and four walks. Deeds had a double with her homer. Centreville closes the year at 29-9 and graduates two: MaKenzi Troyer and Kaylee Trattles.
Video by Mat Stutzman
Semifinal: Coloma 1, Delton Kellogg 0
Final: Schoolcraft 3, Coloma 2
The Eagles were then confronted by the defending D3 champ on their home diamond. They also had to exorcise the demons of the past, as the Comets eliminated them in the 2017 and 2016 regionals. Schoolcraft had two wins over Coloma during the regular season in tournament play, but they hadn’t faced Comet ace pitcher Megan Koenigshof in the prior meetings.
Koenigshof and Rosey had a pitcher’s duel early with Coloma striking first in the fourth inning on a Hannah Mathis sacrifice fly that plated Koenigshof. The Eagle rally began in the bottom of the fifth with Sophie Ridge’s bunt single. Allie Goldschmeding walked, then Danielle Blyly brought in Ridge with a RBI double. Goldschmeding scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, then Rosey doubled to plate Blyly for a 3-1 Eagle lead.
Schoolcraft wouldn’t score again, but they ultimately didn’t need to. Coloma got one back in the sixth, but a one-two-three seventh inning by Meade locked up the first ever regional softball crown for the Eagles.
Rosey pitched five innings with 10 strikeouts, two earned runs, five hits, and five walks. Meade had the final two innings for the save, allowing just two hits with two Ks. Ridge was the only Eagle with multiple hits, as Koenigshof only allowed six in total. Coloma closes at 24-13.
The Eagles improve to 30-4 and play Calvin Christian in Tuesday’s 4 p.m. semifinal from Hope College, which can be heard live via JoeInsider.com.
(Division 4 at Gobles)
Semifinal: Kalamazoo Christian 5, Lawrence 2
Both Lawrence runs came in the top of the first inning with only one single, as the Tigers were aided by an error and passed ball. The Comets answered with a four-spot in the bottom half that started with a Sydney Duong single. Megan Snook immediately brought Duong in via RBI triple.
Later, Maegen Meldrum tallied a two RBI double, scoring Nyla de Jong and Zoe Hazelhoff. Clare Dirksen had a RBI groundout to score Reagen Broekuizen, putting the tally at 4-2 after the first inning. K-Christian pitcher Jayme Koning and Lawrence’s Valerie Norris both locked in from there with the only additional run on a fifth inning RBI double by Dirksen, bringing in Koning.
Koning struck out 12 over her complete game win with zero walks, two hits allowed and both runs unearned. Dirksen and Meldrum each finished with two RBI.
Semifinal: River Valley 6, Colon 0
Statistics currently unavailable. Colon graduates seniors Maddelyn Fisher, Brooke Hinkley, Desirae Martin, and Sydney Tomlinson.
Final: Kalamazoo Christian 9, River Valley 1
Despite the lopsided final, the regional title wasn’t put to rest against sixth-ranked River Valley until the end. Two walks and an error gave the second-ranked Comets a 2-0 lead in the first inning. RV had a RBI double in the third inning for their lone run of the game.
Back-to-back errors and a wild pitch scored Broekhuizen in the fourth for a 3-1 Comet advantage. Four singles would follow, including a two RBI smack by Snook that scored Faith Kline and Dirksen to give K-Christian a 5-1 lead. The score stayed locked at 5-1 until the Comets delivered the fatal blow with four runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Hazelhoff pitched her own gem with three hits and one earned run over a complete game, striking out eight. Clare Dirksen had three hits (one double) and two runs. Kline scored twice and both Duong and Snook added two RBI apiece.
Kalamazoo Christian improves to 31-7 and meets Hudson in a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal Tuesday from Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
(Division 1 at Howell)
Semifinal: Gull Lake 4, Grand Ledge 1
The Blue Devils got solo runs in the first three innings. Mandy Esman doubled to start the first and was brought in on a groundout by big sister Lauren. Sonia Markucki opened the second with a double and was scored on Hannah Lord’s ensuing RBI single. In the third, Mandy Esman began with a bunt single and was again brought home by sister Lauren, this time via RBI double. The fourth run was via an Elaina Crisman solo home run in the fifth.
Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year Lauren Esman was her usual self pitching, striking out 13 over a complete game win. She allowed four hits and a lone run in the sixth inning.
Semifinal: Howell 4, St. Joseph 0
Final: Howell 1, Gull Lake 0
Esman and Howell’s Molly Carney had a pitcher’s duel in the regional final with the third-ranked Highlanders getting the slight edge on their home diamond. Carney scattered five hits and four walks over her complete game but kept the shutout intact. Esman fanned 12 and allowed only two hits and two walks, but one unearned run scored in the third inning.
A one-out error put Rosie McQueen on base, who got moved to third on Maddy Heilner’s single. A fielder’s choice bunt by AJ Militello brought in McQueen for the game’s lone run. Mandy Esman had two of Gull Lake’s five hits with a double. Erika Hubbard also had two hits with the other by Kaitlyn Lord.
Gull Lake finishes at 34-6-1. Howell plays Canton in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at 3 p.m. from the Chelsea Softball Stadium.
(Division 2 at Edwardsburg)
Vicksburg 10, Thornapple Kellogg 0
Hannah Vallier’s great pitching in Monday’s district tournament carried into the regional semifinal as she tossed five shutout innings in the blowout win, scattering five hits with zero walks and three strikeouts. The Bulldogs had three runs in the first inning, two in the second, two in the third, and three in the fifth.
Vicksburg racked up 15 total hits with six players getting two apiece. Danielle Diekman scored three runs with older sister Kelsey coming home twice. Kelsey and Camille Wadley each tallied two RBI.
Semifinal: Lakeshore 10, Olivet 2
Final: Lakeshore 5, Vicksburg 2
The Bulldogs came out firing against perennial power Lakeshore with two runs in the first inning. Kelsey Diekman drew a one-out walk, followed by singles from Tailynn Knapp and Rylie Richter. Wadley flew out to center which scored both Diekman and Knapp. From there, the Lancers held the Bulldogs to only one additional hit for the remainder of the game.
The fourth-ranked Lancers got their first run thanks to two third-inning doubles. In the fifth, a solo bomb by Sierra Ciesielski tied the game at 2-2. Lakeshore finally broke through against Vallier in the sixth inning, which started with a leadoff Laney Mead homer for the lead. Then, a walk and error helped set up a two RBI single by Nadia Amicarelli to get to the 5-2 final tally.
Vallier finished with six innings, seven hits, five runs (three earned), and three strikeouts. Richter pitched the final inning with one hit and strikeout. Gianna Kerschbaum pitched the final four and 2/3 innings in relief for the Lancers with seven Ks and only a walk surrendered.
The Bulldogs close the year at 24-14 and graduate seniors Kali Yant and Abbey Lafler. Lakeshore meets Spring Lake at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.