No. 2 Mendon advances to state finals to face No. 1 Unionville-Sebewaing
Published 5:10 pm Friday, June 16, 2023
EAST LANSING —Mendon managed just one hit over seven innings, but took advantage of its opportunities and used aggressive base-running to advance to its first Final since 1992.
The No. 2-ranked Hornets’ award for defeating Johannesburg-Lewiston 4-2 in the Division 4 state semifinals at Secchia Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University Thursday is a meeting with three-time defending state champion Unionville-Sebewaing, the top-ranked team in Division 4.
The Hornets broke through despite having one of the youngest teams in the field with two seniors, no juniors and a combined 11 sophomores and freshmen.
“We thought we’d be something special in a couple of years, but these girls are different — they don’t quit,” said Mendon co-head coach Mike Smith, who handles the duties along with Steve Butler. “We had one hit, but we won the game, so who cares?”
Mendon, 35-5, scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning, capitalizing on a pair of errors, then scored its final two runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of two walks and three wild pitches.
Freshman Mattea Bingaman had the Hornets’ only hit, an infield single in the sixth inning, and sophomore Brielle Bailey was credited with her team’s only RBI.
The standout for the Hornets was senior pitcher Lauren Schabes, who went all seven innings, allowing six hits, three walks and striking out 12.
Schabes won’t have much time to celebrate, however, as she had to hurry home after the game for her graduation open house in Mendon, which is about 71 miles from MSU in the southwest corner of the state.
“It’s going to be a busy night,” said Schabes, one of just two seniors for the Hornets, along with third baseman Carlie Doehring. “I don’t even have time to go to B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings) with everybody else.”
Johannesburg-Lewiston, 30-4-1, advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1981 and fell just short of its first finals appearance.
Junior pitcher Jayden Marlatt was the hard-luck loser, allowing just one hit and striking out 15 over seven innings. Reagan Sides had two hits and two RBIs, and Brittney Fox also ripped two hits.
(By Tom Kendra, special to MHSAA.com)