No. 1 Lakeshore rolls to fourth straight titlePublished 10:01am Monday, June 3, 2013
EDWARDSBURG – Going into Saturday’s Division 2 District title game against defending state champion Lakeshore, Niles coach Ryan Frontczak knew his team had no margin for error.
If the Vikings were going to upset the Lancers and keep them from their fourth straight district championship, they would have to play nearly perfect in all phases of the game.
Unfortunately for Niles that didn’t happen and it led to an 11-0 loss to Lakeshore in five innings.
Niles reached the title game with a 13-5 game against Berrien Springs in the second semifinals. The Lancers opened the day with a 16-2 win over host Edwardsburg.
It only took one pitch in the championship game to set the tone for Lakeshore.
Haley Thibeault deposited Molly VanDeKeere’s first offering over the left field fence and the Lancers were off and running.
Leading 2-0 in the third, Lakeshore took advantage of a Niles error to score eight runs and blow the contest open.
On the day, the Lancers banged out 27 hits, including 11 extra base hits. Lakeshore finished with five home runs as it improved to 34-5.
The Lancers will host the Division 2 Regional Saturday. They open play against Coloma.
While the final score looks a big lopsided, Berrien Springs forced Niles away from its game plan for the day before falling.
Frontczak wanted to use Tala Gentry for the entire game and save No. 1 pitcher VanDeKeere for the title game.
But when the Shamrocks cut the lead to 5-4 in the fourth inning, with the help of several errors, he was forced to return Gentry to shortstop and summon VanKeDeere to the mound.
The Vikings responded with four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to pull away.
Gentry got the win, while VanDeKeere picked up the save.
Niles finished with 12 hits including home runs by Hannah Porterfield and Courtney Ankrapp. Niles also got triples from Olivia Jordan and VanDeKeere and doubles from Sarah Cramer and Kylee Myer.
“You can’t flinch,” Frontczak said about playing Lakeshore. We had two outs and we flinched and they got eight runs after that. Once they start hitting you can’t stop them. It’s not like they are hitting slow ground balls either. They hit the ball a ton.
“But I am proud of our kids. We went from being .500 last year to being around .750 this season. We are taking the steps for the program and we are heading in the right direction.”
A five-run first inning, highlighted by Rachel Clem’s grand slam proved to be Edwardsburg’s undoing in the first semifinal.
Delany Peters started and took the loss for the Eddies, who finish the year at 24-12.
Andrea LaPlace hit a solo home run for Edwardsburg, which had six hits. Breanna Bauschke had a pair of doubles for the Eddies.
Division 2 Softball
Niles 000 00 – 0 1 2
Lakeshore 118 1x – 11 10 0
Molly VandeKeere (L); Rachael Knapp (W, 11-1)
2B: Megan Hiler (L), Jacki Nate (L)
HR: Haley Thibeault (L), Rachael Knapp (L), Rachel Clem (L)
Records: Lakeshore 34-5, Niles 27-13
Lakeshore 501 031 6 – 16 17 0
Edwardsburg 001 001 0 – 2 6 5
Megan Hiler (W, 19-2), Rachael Knapp (6), Haley Thibeault (7); Delaney Peters (L, 15-6), Andrea LaPlace (4)
2B: Haley Thibeault (L), Rachel Clem (L) 2, Becca Meyer (L), Breanna Bauschke (E) 2
HR: Rachel Riedel (L), Rachel Clem (L), Andrea LaPlace (E)
Record: Edwardsburg 24-12
Berrien Springs 000 410 0 – 5 7 2
Niles 104 440 x – 13 12 5
Caitlin Weaver (L); Tala Gentry (W), Molly VandeKeere (S,5)
2B: Sarah Cramer (N), Kylee Myer (N)
3B: Olivia Jordan (N), Molly VandeKeere (N)
HR: Hannah Porterfield (N), Courtney Ankrapp (N)
Records: Berrien Springs 4-17