Vicksburg softball picked up a third district title in four years with Monday’s victories over Wolverine Conference foes Otsego and Three Rivers. VHS shutout the Wildcats 10-0, then turned around and topped Otsego 7-3 in the finale from Plainwell. Excellent pitching from sophomore Hannah Vallier, solid defense, and timely hitting won the day for the Bulldogs.
“They played really solid defense, Hannah pitched two exceptional games,” said Vicksburg coach Paul Gephart. “We had a lot of key hits in tight situations. We had good baserunning. We played solid all around.”
After Monday’s district makeups, Vicksburg will be the lone team to carry the Wolverine torch in softball. Dowagiac had their season ended in the District 45 semifinal with a 4-2 loss to South Haven, then the Rams were knocked out in the championship 3-1 by Lakeshore. Allegan softball also was bounced with a 10-0 semifinal loss in District 47 to Hopkins.
Otsego ends up as the lone baseball survivor from the Wolverine after completing the District 46 final with a wild 11-10 win over Plainwell. Edwardsburg flattened Benton Harbor 20-0 in their semifinal, but lost a tight 5-3 affair in the championship to Lakeshore. Allegan narrowly dropped the District 47 title game 6-5 to Thornapple Kellogg.
SOFTBALL DISTRICT 46 AT PLAINWELL
Vallier tossed an absolute gem in the semifinal with a one-hit shutout in six innings, striking out nine with only two walks. The high-powered Wildcats had scored at least two runs against every team they faced this season. It was even more surprising considering the sophomore had been their secondary pitcher with only about one-third of her team’s innings on the year.
“She hasn’t been a pitcher all year, she typically plays left field,” noted Gephart. “She hits her spots really well and she keeps the ball kind of low. The girl just has so much composure, nothing rattles her.”
The Bulldogs slowly built up their lead against three Wildcat pitchers. Rylie Richter brought in the first three runners with a RBI single and two-RBI double in her first two at-bats. Payton Lewis added a RBI knock, followed by a two RBI double from Kelsey Diekman in the fourth inning.
Vallier kicked off the sixth inning with a solo home run over the right field wall. A Richter sacrifice fly and two RBI double from Camille Wadley later in the inning pushed Vicksburg to the run-rule threshold.
Lewis, both Kelsey and Danielle Diekman, plus Tailynn Knapp each finished with two runs scored. Richter had four RBI. Emma Thatcher’s double in their opening at-bat was the lone Wildcat hit. Three Rivers finishes the season at 28-11 and graduates seniors Erin Brady, Anna Kulpinski, Aislyn Sternbergh, and Jessica Barnes.
W- Hannah Vallier 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K, 2 BB
L- Jessica Barnes 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 2 BB
Listen back to the semifinal broadcast here.
Otsego had already advanced to the final with an 11-5 win over Sturgis Saturday. Thunderstorms at the conclusion of that contest forced the remaining games to Monday.
Vicksburg kept the exact same lineup for game two with Vallier again going the distance in the circle. Otsego struck first as the speedy Jada Bolhuis eventually turned her one-out single into a run. VHS got two back in the bottom half as a two-out drop in right field led to two runs coming home. Additional errors in the next two innings helped Vicksburg take a 4-1 lead after three.
Otsego got one back on a RBI single in the fifth from Kendra VanderLugt. Bolhuis tried to score from third on an ensuing flyout but was gunned down by Danielle Diekman in center field to close the inning. Camille Wadley had her second RBI single of the game in the fifth to match for VHS.
In the sixth, Richter delivered a two RBI single for added cushion. Cali Miller’s leadoff single in the seventh allowed for one more for Otsego, but no more. Her, Bolhuis, and Avery Neville had their runs with two hits each by Neville and Bolhuis. Otsego ends the year at 29-7 and only graduates Kayla Merrill.
Knapp scored three of the Vicksburg runs drawing two walks and a single. Richter and Wadley each had two RBI. Vallier’s line between the two games was 13 innings, nine hits, three runs (one earned), four walks, and 15 strikeouts.
W- Hannah Vallier 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
L- Kendra VanderLugt 6 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Listen back to the championship broadcast here.
The wins push Vicksburg to 23-13 overall and sets up a regional semifinal meeting with Thornapple Kellogg Saturday at 10 a.m. from Edwardsburg. The other side of the bracket has Olivet against Lakeshore.
SOFTBALL DISTRICT 45 AT SOUTH HAVEN
Semifinal: South Haven 4, Dowagiac 2
The Chieftains got both of their runs in the second inning. They held the Rams scoreless until three came home in the fifth and one more was added in the sixth. Sierra Carpenter gave up eight hits and two earned runs over a complete game defeat. Taylor Pye had two hits and a run for Dowagiac, who finishes 16-20. South Haven pitcher Lexie Young struck out eight and allowed seven hits.
Semifinal: Lakeshore 3, Niles 2
The Lancers went ahead for the first time on a solo home run in the seventh inning from Gianna Kerschbaum.
Final: Lakeshore 3, South Haven 1
Lakeshore advances to the 12 p.m. regional semifinal at Edwardsburg Saturday against Olivet.
BASEBALL DISTRICT 45 AT SOUTH HAVEN
Semifinal: Edwardsburg 20, Benton Harbor 0
Despite the lopsided tally, the game lasted six innings with the Eddies putting it away with an 11-run sixth. Jonah Sibley scored four runs on two hits and two walks. Colby Sidenbender scored three times and walked four times. Bryce Blue had two hits, two runs, and four RBI. Connor Ostrander and Mac Gaideski each had three RBI and two runs. Three Edwardsburg pitchers scattered six hits with one walk over six innings.
Semifinal: Lakeshore 10, Niles 0
Final: Lakeshore 5, Edwardsburg 3
Statistics currently unavailable. The Eddies close their year at 27-7. Lakeshore meets Marshall in Wednesday’s regional semifinal at 6 p.m. from Coldwater.
BASEBALL DISTRICT 46 AT STURGIS
Final: Otsego 11, Plainwell 10
Resumed from Saturday at 3-2, the Trojans seemingly had the game locked up with a 10-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning. A six-run fifth and two-run sixth put Plainwell in control. However, Otsego stormed back with six in the sixth, getting back within one.
In the seventh, Addison Atwater’s sacrifice fly brought in Corbin Smith to tie the game with one out. After a strikeout and walk, Mason Ingold scored Will Eldred for the clincher. He and Atwater each had four RBI.
Otsego plays Thornapple Kellogg in the regional semifinal at Hopkins Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.