Mattawan heads to MHSAA softball state finals

Mattawan heads to MHSAA softball state finals

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Mattawan heads to MHSAA softball state finals

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The Mattawan Wildcats softball team earned the chance to defend its 2011 state championship with a 5-4 win over White Lake Lakeland in Friday’s state semifinal contest at Bailey Park.

After a successful 2011 campaign, the Wildcats reloaded for this season and now their playoff experience has carried them into position to take down a second straight state championship as they face off against Hudsonville in the title game today.

“Just being here, it’s a crazy atmosphere and there’s pressure-packed situations. But with at least half of our team being in this environment before, they know what to expect,” said Mattawan head coach Alicia Smith. “We actually performed very well today. We’ve basically played under pressure for two years, so that’s not new.”

Mattawan had control for most of the game, starting in the first inning when Abby Stoner put the Wildcats ahead with a two-run homer. Mattawan widened the gap to 5-0 in the third on a Stacy Thompson RBI single and an Emily McCarty two-RBI double.

White Lake Lakeland didn’t go down without a fight as they scored two runs in the fourth inning and then threatened to take the lead in the seventh.

A one-out, two-RBI single in the seventh by Kelly Merkle brought White Lake Lakeland to within one run and when Merkle advanced to second on a throwing error, the Eagles had the potential game-tying run in scoring position.

But that’s when Mattawan called on their ace Stacy Thompson to come shut the door. The senior delivered, getting a pop out and a strikeout to end the game.

Thompson – who actually was the starting pitcher for Mattawan on Friday – had an incredible day for the Wildcats, going 3-fo-3 from the plate while earning the win and the save from the mound in 4 2/3 innings pitched.

“I think (Thompson) threw a little bit harder in the last inning,” Smith said. “She’s been our number one all year and she came in and did the job.”

More Division 1

Hudsonville defeated Garden City in a state semifinal, 13-3. Lexi Agers earned the win, striking out six in six innings as Hudsonville improves to 39-3.

Division 2

Saginaw Swan Valley defeated Coloma, 2-1, in one state semifinal. Heather Pollick drove in both runs for Swan Valley, which improves to 37-3. Mackenzie Boehler scattered two hits for the win, striking out 15.

Livonia Ladywood defeated Wayland Union, 4-2, in the other semifinal. Briana Combs earned the win for Ladywood, which improves to 38-3.

Division 3

Clinton defeated Unionville-Sebewaing, 8-1, to improve to 42-1 on the season. Tierney Nelson earned the win, striking out seven.

In the other semifinal, Gladstone defeated Springport, 5-4. Gladstone scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as Katie Becker had the game-winning RBI.

Division 4

Dansville defeated Rapid River, 4-3, in one state semifinal. Dansville scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a single by Addie Price

Petersburg-Summerfield defeated Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, 7-3, in nine innings. Petersburg-Summerfield scored five runs in the top of the ninth to get the win.

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