Lozmack’s pitching, late rally helps Buchanan to regional title

Published 9:34 am Sunday, June 9, 2024

CONSTANTINE β€” Buchanan’s desire to extend its season helped the Lady Bucks rally and beat Bronson 6-4 in Saturday’s Division 3 regional softball championship in Constantine.

No. 3-ranked Buchanan (34-5) move on to face No. 5 Ravenna (33-8) in Tuesday’s state quarterfinals at Kalamazoo College at 2:30 p.m. The winner plays in next Friday’s state semifinals at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium at 12:30 p.m.

It marks Buchanan’s third regional softball title in the last four seasons.

Bronson held a 4-1 lead on Buchanan after the top of the fifth inning.

But the Buchanan bats came alive with the Lady Bucks scoring three times in the fifth and tying it up at 4-4.

Camille Lozmack’s RBI single for Buchanan scored Hannah Herman. Lozmack later scored after Bronson’s catch tried to pick her off at third and the throw skipped out into shallow leftfield. Senior Keegan May belted an RBI double to plate Hailee Kara with the final Bucks’ run in the frame.

“Keegan is an incredible and selfless teammate. She’s had a great year at the plate and is very deserving,” said Buchanan Coach Rachel Carlson.

May added that she and her teammates thrive under pressure. Playing behind doesn’t bother anyone on the squad.

“That hit was clutch, and we needed it to continue playing. It just got our entire team hyped up. Once that happens, we all continue to hit. We do well when we can feed off one another’s energy,” May said.

Buchanan added its final two runs in the sixth.

The Bucks’ Aspen Berry scored on a Caitlin Horvath bunt single and Bailey Train scored on a Bronson error.

Lozmack was credited with the pitching win for Buchanan in relief of Faith Bartley. After entering the game in the top of the fifth, Lozmack allowed three hits, three walks with two strikeouts.

“Camille has thrown great for us all year. We knew if we needed her today, we wouldn’t hesitate to go with her. Faith Bartley catches her, so we weren’t afraid to make that move,” Carlson said.

Lozmack didn’t flinch a bit when being handed the ball.

“I knew my team had my back. I just had to go in there and do my best. Everyone on this team has been in pressure situations like that all year. We’ve handled them well,” Lozmack said.

Horvath scored on Lozmack’s RBI single to put Buchanan up 1-0 after one frame.

Bronson put three on the board in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Delanee Carpenter scored the Vikings’ first run on a fielder’s choice, while Ashlynn Harris and Ciara Blankenship came home on an RBI single by Lydia Wells.

Bronson added its final run in the top of the fifth. Blankenship reached on a fielder’s choice before scoring on another single by Wells.

Harris gave up seven hits, six walks with nine strikeouts in the loss for Bronson.

“Clearly, we didn’t have our best day at the plate today. We will go back to the drawing board on that in Sunday’s practice. This team, though, has more heart than I can describe. I think our leadership and a willingness to dig deep when times are tough is insurmountable. I guess we just wanted to play softball a few more days,” Carlson said.

Buchanan had to push through a couple rough innings and three errors, but Carlson was still pleased with her team’s defense.

“A big credit to Bronson. They put the ball in play and put a lot of pressure on your defense. We knew they’d do that. They are well-coached. Beck Gray does a great job with them. We had to really dig this one out,” Carlson said.

Regional semifinals


Buchanan 1, Hanover-Horton 0

In the first semifinal, Buchanan edged Hanover-Horton 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel that took less than an hour and 20 minutes to complete.

Kara went the distance in the win for Buchanan yielding four hits, one walk with six strikeouts.

Lozmack’s RBI double plated Herman in the bottom of the fourth inning for the game’s lone run.

Herman collected three hits at the plate for the Lady Bucks in the contest.

Bronson topped Homer 11-0 in five innings in the other semifinal.

Carlson praised her group of seniors for playing a huge part in Buchanan’s success this spring.

“The leadership of our seven seniors is outstanding. They are all great kids and incredible human beings who are willing to lift each other up,” Carlson added. β€œIt’s all about consistency at this point. To keep winning, we have to be able to hit. We’re doing a lot of things right, but you must hit the ball and continue getting good pitching to keep advancing.”