Bobcats win Division 3 District titlePublished 5:36pm Sunday, June 2, 2013
BUCHANAN — Hitting was contagious for both the Brandywine and Bridgman softball teams in Saturday’s Division 3 final at Buchanan High School.
In a game that featured five lead changes, 26 hits and neither team being retired in order, the Bobcats eventually outslugged the Bees, 11-9, to win their first district title since 2005.
Brandywine (29-10) advances to play the Hopkins district winner next Saturday at the Centreville Regional.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Brandywine coach Angela Mellott about claiming the district championship. “The last game was a little bit shaky there for a bit, but it shows us that if we work hard and play hard we can keep winning.”
Some clutch hitting in the bottom of the sixth inning propelled the Bobcats past the Bees. With two outs, Brandywine scored three runs on three hits to take an 11-8 lead. Maranda Smallmon’s single gave the Bobcats a 9-8 lead. Mikayla Kemp followed with an RBI infield single and Brandywine scored its third run on a wild pitch.
“I just wanted to hit the ball,” said Smallmon about her game-winning single. “I wanted to get my girls in. I was pretty confident because of my two (hits) before that (at-bat).”
Smallmon was asked about her emotions during the numerous momentum swings during the game.
“I was just thinking of regionals,” Smallmon said. “I had confidence that we were going to win.”
Bridgman pulled within 11-9 in the top of the seventh after getting a sacrifice fly from Kirsten Berni, which was the second out in the inning. Seconds later, Brandywine celeberated, as Brandywine shortstop Makenna Hartline fielded a grounder and tossed the ball to second baseman Justin Sater for the game’s final out.
The Bees tied the game at 8 in the top of the sixth after Alyssa Krynicky was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded.
The first inning set the tone for the rest of the game as Bridgman scored twice in the top of the first and Brandywine came back with three in the bottom of the first.
Seven players had at least one hit for the Bobcats with Smallmon and Kelly Harper each collecting three hits. Smallmon also drove in two runs. Makenna Hartline collected a two-run single in a three-run fifth inning for Brandywine. Sydney Carlson added an RBI double with two outs in that inning. Those runs gave the Bobcats an 8-6 lead.
“The weather this year has put us inside a lot so we spent a lot of time on hitting,” Mellott said. “We put the ball in play and had timely hits against Bridgman. It shows that we need everybody on this team to win games and we can’t lean on just one or two players.”
At the top of the order, Bridgman got eight hits and four RBIs from Beka Enders, Jordan Jones and Kirsten Berni. Enders and Alyssa Krynicky hit solo homers in the second inning for the Bees.
Mellott talked about Kemp’s struggles on the mound for Brandywine.
“She was a little off,” Mellott said. “We tried to change her feet on the mound, but she just wasn’t on. We talked to her about slowing things down and letting her defense do the work behind her. Our defense can make plays. We just can’t throw those middle-of-the-plate pitches.”
Brandywine advanced into the finals after beating defending district champion Buchanan, 4-2, in the semifinals.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. A sacrifice fly from Kelly Harper and a two-run single from Ayralynn LaSane gave Brandywine that lead.
A solo homer from Kemp extended the Bobcats’ lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning.
Buchanan, which had won six of the last seven district titles, pulled within 4-2 after getting a two-run single from Emma Schmidt in the bottom of the fourth.
Kemp allowed two earned runs and seven hits in picking up the win.
In the other semifinal, Bridgman rolled past Cassopolis, 17-2, in four innings. The Bees scored 10 runs on seven hits in the second inning as Jones collected two hits and three RBIs in that inning for Bridgman.
Logan Lawson had two hits and an RBI for the Rangers, who brought only nine players to the game.
“We had a lot of good talent come out and we’re working on building up our team for next year,” said Cassopolis coach Kristin Powell. “We’re going to work on our pitching a little bit more next year and the fundamentals.”
Division 3 Softball
Bridgman 220 112 1 – 9 14 1
Brandywine 302 033 x – 11 12 1
Casey Shembarger (L) and Candice Pillow; Mikayla Kemp (W, 23-8) and Rachael Ort.
2B: Corianne Rasor (Bridgman), Jordan Jones (Bridgman), Sydney Carlson (Brandywine)
HR: Beka Enders (Bridgman), Alyssa Krynicky (Bridgman)
Records: Bridgman 17-17, Brandywine 29-10
Brandywine 300 100 0 – 4 5 1
Buchanan 000 200 0 – 2 7 0
Mikayla Kemp (W, 22-8) and Rachael Ort; Kaitlynn Enders (L) and Jayla Carrigan.
2B: Morgan Richer (Buchanan)
HR: Kemp (Brandywine)
Records: Buchanan 22-10