Eddies top Three Rivers for D2 district title

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

DOWAGIAC — The Edwardsburg softball team got a head start on the rest of the postseason field as the Eddies captured the Division 2 District Tournament championship at Dowagiac Friday evening.

Dowagiac moved up its district a day due to the forecast for rain on Saturday.

Edwardsburg (25-11) cruised to an easy 15-0, three-inning victory over Wolverine Conference foe Sturgis, while two more Wolverine teams — Three Rivers and Niles— squared off in the second semifinals under bright blue skies and sunshine.

The Wildcats moved into the championship game with a 12-1 win over the Vikings.

In the championship game, back-to-back two-run innings allowed the Eddies to pull off the 5-4 victory over the Wildcats.

The win advances Edwardsburg to the Division 2 Regionals, which it is hosting, against No. x-ranked Vicksburg Saturday. The Bulldogs, who won the Wolverine Conference championship, are trying to make it back-to-back trips to East Lansing and the state finals.

“We are a very young team, but a very talented team with a lot of athleticism and depth throughout our roster,” said Edwardsburg Coach Todd Tighe. “That was on display throughout the 3 games that we played in the district. Each game provided different challenges for us but, we did not change the approach we have had all season. That is one pitch, one out, one inning, and one game at a time.”

Both teams scored a run in the opening inning, but it was the bottom half of the fourth when the Eddies scored a pair of runs, that the momentum started to shift in their favor.

Lani Hardin opened the inning with a single. Edwardsburg replaced her with courtesy runner Kennidie Flannery, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Victoria Pulling.

With two outs, Mia Castelucci singled to score Flannery. She stole second and moved to third on a single by Kendal Hulett. She would score in a failed pickoff attempt as the Eddies went up 3-1.

Three Rivers (31-7) would respond quickly with a pair of runs in the top-half of the fifth.

With one out, Jennaya Decker singled, which was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of Kendall Penny to tie the score at 3-3.

The offensive explosion continued in the bottom half of the fifth as Edwardsburg would score would turn out to be the winning runs.

The inning opened with a Three Rivers error, which was followed by a single by Sydney Klaer to score Ella Zache, who reached on the miscue.

Kourtney Zarycki laid down sacrifice bunt and Hardin followed that up with a sacrifice fly to score Klaer with the winning run.

The Wildcats would score a run in the top of the sixth, but could not come up with the equalizer.

“The district championship game against Three Rivers was an electric atmosphere and a back and forth battle contest,” Tighe said. “Just an overall great softball game. We were able to execute offensively and added some aggressive base running to manufacture runs throughout the game. Victoria Pulling pitched phenomenally and had great defensive support throughout the game.”

Pulling went the distance to earn the victory as she allowed three runs on 10 hits.

The Eddies finished with six hits, including a pair by Hardin.


Edwardsburg 15, Sturgis 0

In its win over Sturgis, Edwardsburg had 15 runs on 14 hits.

Klaer and Castelucci were both 3-for-3 with a double. Lexi Schimpa added a home run.

Saturday’s regional semifinal will be the third meeting between Vicksburg and Edwardsburg. The Bulldogs won the previous two 7-6 and 11-7 on May 8.

“Paul Gephart is a great coach and he has a very talented team (Vicksburg) and we are in the same spot we have been in all year, which is, no one is picking us to win this game,” Tighe said. “So, we will continue with the same approach we have had all year… one pitch, one out, one inning, and one game at a time.”

Tighe is hoping playing at home will give the Eddies and advantage.

“The community of Edwardsburg is a special place and I am sure they will make it an incredible environment for us on Saturday,” he said.


Three Rivers 12, Niles 1

Niles (11-25) took a 1-0 lead after one inning, but it was all Wildcats from that point on.

Three Rivers scored four in the second and fifth innings, as well as, three in the fourth to advance to the championship game.

The Vikings were held to five hits by Decker. Kayla Kiggins had two of those hits.