Niles defeats Dowagiac for tournament title

Published 12:50 pm Monday, April 18, 2022

DOWAGIAC — Playing its fifth game in less than 24 hours, the Niles softball team edged Dowagiac 3-2 in the championship game of the Chieftain Invitational Saturday.

The Vikings rebounded from being swept by Edwardsburg Friday afternoon in its season and Wolverine Conference opener. Niles went 3-0 at Dowagiac to claim the title.

Chevelle Jaynes delivered the game-winning hit as she singled home Haylea Wilken with one out in the top of the seventh. Wilken reached base on a Dowagiac error and moved into scoring position on a ground out by Amirah Lee.

The Chieftains went down in order in the bottom of the seven, including a pair of Mya Syson strikeouts.

Syson scattered five hits while strikeout out 14.

Offensively, Niles finished with four hits, including a two-run home run by Lee in the second inning.

Dowagiac was able to cut the Vikings’ advantage to 2-1 in the third inning on an inside-the-park home run by Caleigh Wimberley. The Chieftains (5-2) added a run in the fifth on a bases loaded walk to Sierra Carpenter, which scored Emma Allen, who had drawn a lead-off walk.

“We played much better softball today,” said Dowagiac Coach Mike Behnke. “Against Niles we had our opportunities and didn’t capitalize and then they took advantage of a dropped fly ball in the seventh.”

Dowagiac reached the title game with a 10-0 win over Hartford and a 10-6 victory over Kalamazoo Central that was stopped after five innings due to a time limit.

Against Hartford, Sarah Allen tossed a two-hit shutout for the Chieftains. Calley Ruff had a pair of hits, while Carpenter doubled and drove in three runs.

In the game against the Maroon Giants, Lyla Elrod was 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Aubrey Busby and Carpenter both had two hits for Dowagiac.

Results of the Niles first and second round games are currently unavailable.
Dowagiac heads back to the diamond Friday to host Edwardsburg in a Wolverine Conference doubleheader. Niles will host Paw Paw in a Wolverine Conference twin bill Thursday.