Buchanan softball rallies to best Ravenna 3-1 in D3 state quarterfinal

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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KALAMAZOO — The Buchanan softball team is East Lansing-bound once again.

The No. 3-ranked Bucks rallied to best No. 5-ranked Ravenna in Division 3 State Quarterfinal play at Kalamazoo College.

“They work really hard,” said Buchanan head coach Rachel Carlson. “They work hard at all aspects of the game and it’s really nice when everybody here gets to see how hard they work when that shows up on the field. I’m thrilled for them because they truly work harder than any other group of kids I’ve ever seen.”

Trailing 1-0 at the end of the fifth inning with bases loaded and two outs, Buchanan (35-5) turned to its standout Hannah Herman, who responded with a double to bring home three runs.

“I’ve always told her when she’s in those moments to imagine it,” Carlson said. “I’m sure if you ask her, she’ll say that’s exactly what she did.”

“I usually just imagine line drives in my head,” Herman said. “I think right-center just so that I’m not right out in front of it. That was working pretty much the whole day so I’m gonna keep doing that the rest of this year.”

In the sixth inning, Buchanan flexed its defensive muscles as a double play from senior third baseman Camille Lozmack and a leaping centerfield catch from Caitlyn Horvath for the final out with the bases loaded to seal the game.

“One thing about our team is that we do not give up and we are hard workers,” Herman said. “Anytime a ball is hit, I have full confidence in our outfield, our center fielder (Caitlyn Horvath), she’s great. She just flies like a bird out there, like a gazelle. When that ball got hit, I was like ‘that’s a well-hit ball’ but it’s not getting past our center field today.”

“She does things that I’ve never seen any other outfielder do,” Carlson said.

The double was one of three Herman hits, which also included a triple in the first inning and a single in the fourth. Pitcher Hailee Kara struck out two batters and gave up one earned run and four hits in 7 innings. Horvath and Bailey Trail each tallied one hit and scored a run while Aspen Berry also scored a run.

In the second inning, Reese Herremans picked up a leadoff walk, stole second base, took third on a Emily Postema sacrifice bunt and scored on a Sydney Morrissey sacrifice fly to right-center to take a 1-0 lead.

Ravenna freshman lefty Natalie Rosel struck out three while giving up three earned runs and six hits and added a hit at the bat.

With the win in hand, the Bucks advance to the Division 3 semifinals for the second time in four years where they will be looking for the program’s first state title. The Bucks face Evart at 12:30 p.m. Friday at MSU’s Secchia Softball Stadium.

“We played a tough schedule and we tried to put ourselves in these positions so in the case that we were so fortunate to get here, we wouldn’t crack under that type of pressure, that we would have already felt that,” Carlson said. “They trust each other, they played with each other a long time now and they trust each other and what their abilities are. I’m so proud of them.”

Both Carlson and Herman appreciate the community’s support as they try to make history this weekend as they aim to bring a championship back to Bucktown.

“I walked into the coffee shop this morning in Buchanan and everybody cheered,” Carlson said. “I started to cry. It means the world; it means the world and we love living here and I’m so glad my children go to school here, so they can live this.”

“I’m Buchanan through and through and I’m sad that it’s my last year playing with this jersey but I’m excited,” Herman said. “It’s kind of a full circle moment, just because my freshman year, we made it to the state championship and so now it’s been our goal to make it back. Honestly, this year has been great; we won district, conference, region but this will just be the cherry on top.”