Hard-hitting senior lifts Brandywine over Clinton
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
BATTLE CREEK -- Despite its billing as a pitcher's duel, the Brandywine softball team's 3-2 win over Clinton in Friday's Division 3 semifinal game came down to power hitting.
Brandywine's chances looked slim after Clinton's Angie DeCormier hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to break the 0-0 tie.
Bobcat senior shortstop Nakisha Washington, however, changed her team's outlook when she delivered a two-run homer of her own in the top of the seventh, eventually sending the game into extra innings.
Washington's home run, her seventh of the season, sparked a rare outburst from coach Jim Myers.
Washington came through again in the top of the 10th inning when she hit a hard double past Clinton's left fielder to lead off the inning.
Michelle Shoemaker followed with a sacrifice bunt.
Senior first baseman Jessica Keeton quickly took two strikes before slapping the ball off the glove of Clinton's first baseman, bringing Washington home for what proved to be the game-winner.
Brandywine junior pitcher Nicki McGowen retired the first three batters in the bottom of the 10th to secure the Bobcats' victory and their second trip to the Division 3 state title game in the last three years.
Brandywine, now 37-5, takes on Freeland today in the championship game at 4 p.m. Clinton finishes the season at 40-4.
McGowen turned in another strong performance in the circle for the Bobcats. She gave up seven hits and struck out 11 batters.
DeCormier's home run was the first McGowen has given up this season.
McGowen pitched her way out of several sticky situations, with some help from the defense. She struck out three straight batters with two runners on base in the bottom of the second inning.
Clinton's Sara Tervo gave up just five hits and struck out 13.
Clinton…………2 (10 innings)
Brandywine 000 000 200 1--3 5 1
Clinton 000 002 000 0--2 7 1
Nicki McGowen (W, 35-4) and Michelle Shoemaker; Sara Tervo (L, 29-4) and Angie DeCormier.
HR: Nakisha Washington (B), DeCormier (C)
2B: Washington (B), Jessica Keeton (B)
Team records: Brandywine 37-5, Clinton 40-4