Going back to Battle Creek!

Published 7:05 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
GREENVILLE -- They're back!
The Brandywine varsity softball team reached the Division 3 semifinals for the second time in three years Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over Lansing Catholic Central in a quarterfinal game at Greenville High School.
The Bobcats, now 36-5 and ranked No. 3 in the state, will take on No. 5 Clinton (40-3) Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the semifinals at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
The other semifinal game will pit No. 1 Freeland (30-3) against the winner of the Gaylord quarterfinal which was postponed until today due to weather. That game will also be played Friday at 3:30 p.m.
The Bobcats won the state title in 2001 and several players from that squad remain on the team this year.
One of those players is junior pitcher Nicki McGowen, who was the winning pitcher in the 2001 title game.
Tuesday night McGowen tossed her third straight one-hitter against the Cougars (28-11), striking out six and walking just one.
One run was all it took to beat Catholic Central Tuesday and it came in unusual fashion.
Amanda Grice reached first base on an error to start the inning. A sacrifice fly by Kayla Asmus moved her to third base. Finally, with two outs, Emily Christian swung and missed on the third strike but a passed ball allowed Grice to score and Christiansen to safely reach first base.
Christiansen was stranded but Grice's run wound up being the game-winner.
Brandywine managed just four hits on the day and loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning only to leave all three runner stranded.
The Cougars, which hit only one ball out of the infield, threatened to score in the top of the fifth. With runners at first and third with two outs, Catholic Central coach Hub Waite decided to use a little trickery.
McGowen, however, fanned the final batter to thwart the Cougars' threat.
The early run helped McGowen's confidence on the mound.
Kelli Zache singled twice to lead the Bobcats at the plate. Nakisha Washington and Jessica Keeton each added one single.
Cougar pitcher Nicole McMillon struck out six batters and walked none.
Lansing Catholic Central….0
L.C. Central 000 000 0--0 1 2
Brandywine 010 000 x--1 4 1
NIcki McGowen (W, 34-4) and Michelle Shoemaker; Nicole McMillon (L, 25-5) and Anne Rzepecki.
Team records: Brandywine 36-5, Lansing Catholic Central 28-11