Niles bats come alive in opening weekend

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

NILES — With only a scrimmage under its belt heading into Saturday’s Chieftain Invitational, one would think that the Niles softball team might struggle.

That was not the case as the Vikings went 3-0 on the day to win the championship and blow out two of its three opponents.

The Vikings looked like a team that had not played much softball in the opener against Bridgman.

But then again, the Bees have a standout in Natalie McNeil pitching for them.

“Brooke (Timm) started right off where she left off last year,” said Niles coach Dale Myer. “She was spot on. Her and Caitlin have a special connection. They showed their leadership on Saturday.”

McNeil pretty much dominated the Niles hitters as she struck out 14 and allowed just one run.

That one run was enough for the Vikings to open the 2019 season with a victory.

The floodgates opened in the second game against Paw Paw as Niles banged out 12 hits and scored 17 runs.

Caitlin Daly was 3-for-3 against Paw Paw with a double. Aynslee Myer also had a double for the Vikings, who also had Timm driving in four runs on three hits, including a home run.

In the championship game, Niles continued to explode at the plate as it banged out 18 hits to defeat the Maroon Giants.

Timm had a pair of home runs, while Kelsey Barkman was 4-for-5. Hannah Albright, Reese Davies, Taylor Altergott and Alexis Rauch all finished the game with multiple hits.

Timm was the winning pitcher as she struck out seven, while scattering nine hits.

“Once we started hitting the ball I was surprised,” Myer said about how well hit team played on offense. “We kind of got off to a slow started against a good pitcher, but once we started hitting the ball I was really surprised.”

Niles jumps into the heart of its SMAC West Division schedule today as it hosts St. Joseph at 4 p.m.