Bobcats register 3-1 win over Niles as both squads prepare to face Dowagiac next

Published 3:23 pm Thursday, May 27, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine managed to score three runs and hold Niles to just one in a non-conference softball game Wednesday afternoon.
The annual game between Niles' two high school softball teams is usually scheduled during the week of district competition, and is usually a doubleheader. This year, however, only one game was played because of end-of-school-year events and the contest was earlier.
The one thing that stayed the same about the crosstown rivalry match was that both teams used it as a preparation. As it works out, both teams are preparing to face the same team next on their schedules.
Niles drew a pre-district matchup with Dowagiac, ranked No. 9 in Division 2, on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Brandywine, which is ranked No. 3 in Division 3, is hosting Dowagiac for a non-conference doubleheader Saturday at 10 a.m.
Brandywine's offense got things rolling quickly Wednesday afternoon as Ashley Antus led the game off with a double over Niles left fielder Kate Whittaker. Amber Valentine followed with a bunt single and a single by Kelli Zache drove in the Bobcats' first run. Brandywine scored once more in the first inning, when Michelle Shoemaker's single brought Valentine home.
Both teams went scoreless for the next two innings and Niles closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the third. After two strikeouts to start the inning, Tasha Lary singled for Niles and Brandywine pitcher Nicki McGowen walked Kayla Gross. Stephanee Schrader singled to load the bases and a walk to Whittaker brought in Niles' only run of the game.
In the top of the fourth, Antus, Zache and Dee Echevarria singled with Echevarria driving in the last run of the game.
In the bottom of the fourth Niles loaded the bases but left all three runners stranded.
McGowen (30-5) earned the victory 10 strikeouts and six hits allowed. Kari Eckstein (8-6) took the loss for Niles as she gave up 11 hits in five innings of work. Julie Kater relieved Eckstein.
Shoemaker doubled for Brandywine and Whittaker hit two singles to lead Niles.
Each team committed just one error.
The loss drops Niles to 14-13 overall while Brandywine improves to 32-5.