Dowagiac, Niles 2-1 at Chieftain softball tourney

DOWAGIAC — Both Niles and host Dowagiac were 2-1 at the Chieftain Invitational Softball Tournament on Saturday.

The Chieftains dropped their opening game to Hartford 6-1, but rebounded to defeat Kalamazoo Central 7-6 and previously undefeated Berrien Springs 10-3.

Niles lost its opener to Bridgman 8-5, but rallied to edge Paw Paw 10-9 and beat Watervliet 15-10.

Dowagiac is now 4-1 on the season, while Niles is 4-3.

“Our day started on a sour note but ended well with two victories,” said Dowagiac Coach Mike Behnke. “Against Hartford, we just didn’t have good at-bats with runners on base. We had multiple runners on base in every inning except the seventh and just couldn’t score. Against Kalamazoo Central, we put balls in play, and they made mistakes that we took advantage of, and we really fought hard to walk off with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The bottom of our order came through with Riley Mott singling to get us started, and then the top of the order did their job.”

Behnke said his team took advantage of a short-handed Shamrock squad.

“Against Berrien, we did what we should have against their backup pitchers,” he said. “We hit them hard, scored early and put pressure on them with runners on the basepaths the whole game. I was most proud of our defense on the day. Calley Ruff made at least three amazing plays diving for balls and getting outs, and the rest of the team was diving and giving great effort on tough plays and making the routine plays.”

Against Hartford, Dowagiac finished with eight hits, including a double and triple by freshman Aubrey Busby. Kimi Beattie and Caleigh Wimberley added doubles.

Jessie Hulett suffered the loss.

The Chieftains collected seven hits against the Maroon Giants, including triples by Ruff and Anna Dobberstein, and doubles from Wimberley and Busby. Sierra Carpenter picked up the win.

Dowagiac exploded for 13 hits against Berrien Springs. Busby had a double and a home run, while Beattie, Dobberstein and Wimberly all added doubles.

Carpenter picked up the win in relief.

Taylor Young and Alexis Rauch both doubled, as Niles banged out seven hits in its opening game against Berrien Springs. Liv Johnson took the loss.

Against the Panthers, Niles had 17 hits, including a double and a home run by Rauch and doubles by Hannah Northcutt and Ashlynn Wilken. Johnson was the winning pitcher.

Niles had 14 hits against the Red Wolves.

Rauch had a double for the Vikings. Johnson earned the win in relief.


Chieftain Invitational


At Dowagiac

Hartford         000     000     6 – 6 8 0

Dowagiac       010     000     0 – 1 8 0

Karly Manning (W); Jessie Hulett (L)

2B: Kaeyln Johnson (H), Descenya Rodarte (H), L. Price (H); Kimi Beattie (D), Caleigh Wimberley (D), Aubrey Busby (D)

Niles softball defeated Paw Paw and Watervliet on Saturday at the Chieftain Invitational. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)


At Dowagiac

Central           000     330     0 – 6 8 4

Dowagiac       011     010     4 – 7 9 1

Miller (L); Sierra Carpenter (W)

2B: Nizzardini (KC), Miller (KC), VanDum (KC), Crocker (KC), Caleigh Wimberley (D), Aubrey Busby (D)

3B: VanDum (KC), Calley Ruff (D), Anna Dobberstein (D)

HR: VanDum (KC)



At Dowagiac

DOWAGIAC    202     132 – 10 13 2

BERRIEN        000     300 – 3 7 3

Olivia Elliott, M. Mervine (L,2), R. Molden (5); Jessie Hulett, Sierra Carpenter (W,4)

2B: M. Coulston (BS), Kimi Beattie (D), Anna Dobberstein (D), Caleigh Wimberley (D), Aubrey Busby (D)

HR: Busby (D)

Varsity record: Dowagiac 4-1



At Dowagiac

Niles               206     110 – 10 14 0

Paw Paw        072     000 – 9 14 1

Hannah Hollingsworth, Liv Johnson (W,5); Alana Burch, Macy Haase (1), Hannah Mellinger (L,4)

2B: Alexis Rauch (N), Raelynn DeGroff (PP)

HR: Haase (PP), Maddison Wilder (PP)



At Dowagiac

Niles               003     040     9 – 15 17 2

Watervliet      000     703     0 – 10 11 2

Haiden Edelberg (L); Liv Johnson (W)

2B: Abby Whorton (W), Grace Chisek (W), Hannah Northcutt (N), Alexis Rauch (N), Ashlynn Wilken (N) 2

3B: Addy Riley (W)

HR: Chisek (W), Rauch (N)



At Dowagiac

Bridgman       305     000 – 8 11 1

Niles               020     300 – 5 7 3

Natalie McNeil (W); Liv Johnson (L)

2B: Arie Hackett (BR), Elise Schmaltz (BR), Taylor Young (N), Alexis Rauch (N)

3B: Hackett (BR)

Varsity record: Niles 4-3


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