Niles softball team lets one get away against Chieftains

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2006

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Mistakes against good teams can be costly.
Just ask the Niles varsity softball team which had a golden opportunity to knock off No. 2 ranked Dowagiac Tuesday afternoon at Vella Park.
The Lady Vikings took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning in the opening game against the Chieftains, but committed some mistakes that allowed Dowagiac to knot the score at 1-1.
Dowagiac would eventually wind up with a 3-2 victory in nine innings to remain tied for first place in the Big 16 Conference West Division with Lakeshore at 5-1.
The Chieftains (23-2) scored early and often in the second game en route to a 10-0 victory over the Lady Vikings.
Senior Beth Tomczak's two-out single in the top of the ninth gave the Chieftains the dramatic victory.
Dowagiac started the winning rally with one out when senior Ashley Willis singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. She came around to score on Tomczak's single.
Pickar, who has never lost a high school softball game, improved to 11-0 with the victory. She scattered nine hits while striking out eight and walking two.
Niles freshman Jenna Ignowski was equally as impressive, allowing seven hits with 11 strikeouts. She did not walk a batter.
Seniors Kim Luthringer and Willis both were 2-for-4. Luthringer just missed another home run as she doubled off the base of the fence in the first inning against the Lady Vikings.
Kayla Gross doubled and singled for Niles, who also got two hits each from Julie Kater and Lindsay Carey.
It was all Dowagiac in the second game as the Chieftains scored three times in the first inning off of Kater.
Dowagiac banged out 15 hits, including a 3-for-5 performance from Willis, who doubled, tripled and scored two runs.
Willis also picked up her 10th victory of the season against just two losses.
Willis allowed four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Senior Lindsay Tyler was 3-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored. Tomczak was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, while Calie Daniels was 2-for-2.
Holly Lowe singled and drove in three runs, while Katie Roach doubled and drove in a run.
Amy Wood singled and drove in a run for the Chieftains, who will be looking to lock up a share of the West Division championship next Tuesday when it takes on St. Joseph.
Nicole Ignowski had a double for the Lady Vikings in the nightcap, while Patty Anton, Stephanee Schrader and Kater each had a single.
Arnold said his team came out flat after the first game loss and never really recovered.
The Lady Vikings will travel to South Bend (Ind.) to take on Adams today at Potawatomi Park. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.
First game
Dowagiac 000 001 011 - 3 7 3
Niles 010 000 010 - 2 9 3
Maureen Pickar (W, 11-0), Jenna Ignowski (L, 9-5)
2B: Kim Luthringer (D), Kayla Gross (N)
Second game
Dowagiac 321 300 1 - 10 15 1
Niles 000 000 0 - 0 4 4
Ashley Willis (W, 10-2), Julie Kater (L, 2-1)
2B: Holly Lowe (D), Katie Roach (D), Willis (D), Nicole Ignowski (N)
3B: Willis (D)
Records: Dowagiac 23-2, 5-1 West Division; Niles 12-6, 3-3 West Division