Dowagiac wins Chieftain Invitation for second time in 20 years

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — Entering the annual Chieftain Invitational, the Dowagiac softball team had just one victory in five contests.

Three wins on Saturday against Cassopolis, Watervliet and Paw Paw not only squared the Chieftains record at 4-4, but gave Dowagiac its second victory at its own tournament in Head Coach Mike Behnke’s 20 years of coaching.

“Today was a great day with bringing home the championship to our own tournament.,” he said “It’s only the second time in my 20 years that we have won the whole thing. We started out slow with our bats against Cass but got better against Watervliet and then came alive against Paw Paw.”

Dowagiac erupted for seven runs in the first inning and then made the Red Wolves chase it the rest if the contest.

In the bottom of the first, the Chieftains took advantage of three singles, three errors and a pair of walks.

Emily Henry singled to lead-off the inning. Marlie Carpenter and Olivia McIntosh also had singles for the Chieftains.

Dowagiac would add a run in the second innings and then sealed the victory with two runs in the fourth and a single run in the sixth.

Paw Paw scored four runs in the second inning to cut the deficit to 7-4. The Red Wolves scored two runs in the fourth and seventh innings, but could not dig themselves out of the big first-inning hole.

The Chieftains finished with 10 hits, including two each by Claire Hess and Ella Parker. Parker had a double and drove in four runs for Dowagiac.

“Ella Parker deserves a lot of credit in the Championship game,” Behnke said. “She has struggled at the plate early on in the season but has worked hard to improve.”

In its opener against Cassopolis, Dowagiac had eight hits, led by Carpenter, who had a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Reed also had a double with four RBIs.

The Rangers finished with three hits. Atyanna Alford and Janalya Franklin both had doubles.

Against Watervliet, the Chieftains were outhit by the Panthers 9-2, but were able to put together a five-run third inning to pull out the victory.

Rebecca Guernsey was solid on the mound for Dowagiac as she scattered nine hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.

The Rangers ended up 0-3 on the day as they were also defeated by Hartford (7-2) and Berrien Springs (13-4).

Against the Huskies, Cassopolis finished with six hits, including two each from Alford, Le’Aijshanea Willis and Sienna Young.

The Rangers had five hits against the Shamrocks, including a double by Ella Smith.

Niles went 1-2, falling to Kalamazoo Central 2-1 in the opening round before rebounding to defeat Berrien Springs 7-2 and Hartford 10-0.

Against the Shamrocks, the Vikings banged out 10 hits, led by Haylea Wilken and Kayla Kiggins with two each. Wilken had a pair of doubles. Niles also got doubles from Addeline Johnson and Morgan Clanton.


Dowagiac Invitational


At Dowagiac

Cassopolis       000      000 – 0 3 0

Dowagiac        102      205 – 10 8 0

Addie Wilson (W); Mackenzie Boyer (L)

2B:  Atyanna Alford (CA), Janalya Franklin (CA), Marlie Carpenter (D) 2, Charleigh Reed (D)

HR: Claire Hess (D)



At Dowagiac

Watervliet       102      01 – 4 9 0

Dowagiac        105      0x – 6 2 2

Rebecca Guernsey (W); L. Brito-Taylor (L), M. Biammele (2, L), M. Cox (3)

2B: E. Golden (W), Brito-Taylor (W)

HR: Golden



At Dowagiac

Paw Paw         040      200      2 – 8 13 3

Dowagiac        710      201      x – 11 10 3

Rebecca Guernsey (W); C. VanderMeeden (L), L. Makeller (2), M Haase (2)

2B: Ella Parker (D), K. Nichols (PP), M. Sheets (PP)

3B: E. Vanderburg (PP)

HR: C. VanderMeeden (PP), J. Geremesz (PP)

Record: Dowagiac 4-4