Busy week for Dowagiac’s softball team ends with a championship

The Dowagiac softball team captured its first Chieftain Invitational championship in 12 years with a 9-1 win over Bridgman in the title game Saturday. Dowagiac is now 9-0 on the season. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

The Dowagiac softball team captured its first Chieftain Invitational championship in 12 years with a 9-1 win over Bridgman in the title game Saturday. Dowagiac is now 9-0 on the season. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Seven games in five days did not seem to bother anyone on the Dowagiac softball team as its culminated in a championship at the Chieftain Invitational Saturday.

The Dowagiac softball team (9-0) swept Decatur on Tuesday, sweep Sturgis on Thursday as junior pitchers Taylor Hulett and Megan Soderbloom pitched back-to-back no-hitters.

And for the first time in 12 years, Dowagiac won its own invitational by sweeping Kalamazoo Central (17-2), Niles (6-3) and Bridgman (9-1) Saturday.

For Dowagiac coach Mike Behnke, it was a week to learn a few things about his softball team.

It was also the first time he had been 9-0 since taking over the program 12 years ago.

“I don’t think I have ever been 9-0 because we also lose at our own tournament,” Behnke said immediately after his team defeated Bridgman.

The pitching combination of Hulett and Soderbloom has spelled trouble for all nine of Dowagiac’s opponents so far this year.

Hulett pitched back-to-back no-hitters in picking up wins against Decatur and Sturgis. She is now 6-0 on the season.

Soderbloom got into the act on Thusday in tossing a no-hitter against the Trojans as she is now 3-0 on the season.

Hulett and Soderbloom have combined for 79 strikeouts in nine games.

While the pitching has been outstanding for the Chieftains, Behnke has also been impressed with how hard his team hits the ball.

If there was one thing Dowagiac needs to continue working on is hitting with runners in scoring position and getting down the bunt.

“We ran the bases very well and hit the ball hard, but need to shore up our defense and get more consistent with the bats,” Behnke said.

Neither of those things were an issue against Bridgman in the title game.

Trailing 1-0, freshman Amiyah Smith got down a perfect bunt in the fourth inning that led to a pair of Chieftain runs and a 2-1.

Dowagiac would not trail again and another bunt in the fifth inning helped spark a five-run explosion that sealed the championship for the Chieftains.

Against Sturgis, Hulett and Smith were both 3-for-3, while Soderbloom was 2-for-3 with a grand slam and five RBIs.

In the second game, Mickie Kiggins was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

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