Archived Story

Paw Paw tops Dowagiac for district title

Published 8:29am Sunday, June 1, 2014

It was a bittersweet victory for Paw Paw coach Brittney Reist as she watched her Redskins destroy Dowagiac 16-2 in the championship game of the Division 2 District Softball Tournament Saturday.

On one hand, Reist was thrilled to see her team win the championship, Paw Paw’s first in her five years as head coach.

On the other hand, Reist is a former Dowagiac All-Stater who works with several Dowagiac players through her Elite Softball business.

Paw Paw was clearly the best team in the field at Vella Park in Niles. The Redskins scored 22 runs on 27 hits.

Paw Paw (29-8) handed Edwardsburg (25-8) its first shut out of the season in beating the Eddies 6-0 in the first semifinal.

The Redskins totally dominated the Chieftains in the title game, grabbing and early 3-0 lead through three innings an then exploding for 13 runs over the final four innings, including seven in the seventh.

Reist said that offense was the emphasis leading up to the tournament.

“Our focus in practice all week was on hitting,” she said. “We wanted to led people know we can got with the ball and are not always pull hitters.”

Of its 17 hits, Paw Paw got home runs from McKayla Fooy and Makcenzie Earl, as well as doubles by Morgan Stieber and Allison Baney.

Dowagiac finished with six hits, including a double by Riley Daly.

“In the last game it just wasn’t our day,” Dowagiac coach Mike Behnke said. “It was a great bounce-back season for us as we played some great softball. It doesn’t take away from what the girls did and how they turned things around this year.”

With the loss of one two starters and returning both of his pitchers, Behnke feels that better days are still ahead for his Chieftain squad.

“We have a lot of girls coming back, we had a good JV team with a lot of good young players,” he said. “We will get right back at it and get ready for next year.”

Dowagiac may have surprised the home team as the Chieftains scored four runs in the top of the first on then held off a late Niles charge in the opening game of the day, winning 7-6.

After falling behind 7-1, Niles scored a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-2 and then four times in the fifth to cut the lead to 7-6.

Dowagiac had 12 hits off of Niles’ Tala Gentry, including a triple by Emily Roach.

The Vikings (28-9) had nine hits off of Dowagiac’s Sabrina Ruiz, who picked up the win, and Taylor Hulett, who earned the save.

Gentry had a triple and Olivia Jordan had a home run for Niles.


Division 2 District Softball

At Niles

Championship game

Paw Paw                      012     114     7 – 16 17 1

Dowagiac                    000     002     0 – 2 6 6

Holly Vantilburg (W); Sabrina Ruiz (L), Taylor Hulett (3)

2B: Morgan Stieber (PP), Allison Baney (PP), Riley Daly (D)

HR: McKayla Fooy (PP), MacKenzie Earl (PP)

Varsity records: Paw Paw 29-8, Dowagiac 25-12



Paw Paw                    112     020     0 – 6 10 0

Edwardsburg                        000     000     0 – 0 2 4

Holly Vantilburg, Kayli Bowen (2; W); Ali Stryker (L)

HR: Holly Vantilburg (PP)

3B: MacKenzie Earl (PP)

2B: Kayli Bowen (PP), Melissa Bradley (PP)

Varsity record: Edwardsburg 25-8


Dowagiac                    420     100     0 – 7 12 2

Niles                            100     140     0 – 6 9 1

Sabrina Ruiz (W), Taylor Hulett (6); Tala Gentry (L)

3B: Gentry (N), Emily Roach (D)

HR: Olivia Jordan (N)

Varsity record: Niles 28-9

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