Bobcats come up short against MCE

Brethren’s Elana Hickok (left) waits for a throw during the second game against Mason County Eastern on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

CUSTER — For the first five innings Monday, records and state rankings were out the door.

A scoreless tie was broken by Brethren in the top of the sixth, putting some rare pressure on Division 4 No. 8 Mason County Eastern.

The Cardinals, however, dug down and put a damper on the potential West Michigan D League upset.

With three straight successful bunts and a two-run shot to the outfield, MCE walked off with a 2-1 win and carried the momentum to an 8-3 victory in the nightcap.

The Cardinals are 22-3 overall with a 10-0 league record that clinches at least a share of the title.

Despite the pair of losses, the series proved to be a lesson learned for the Bobcats (16-8, 3-3 WMD).

“We showed what we were capable of in the first game,” said Brethren coach Jason McElrath. “My assistant, Jon (Blake), said it best: we went toe-to-toe with the eighth best team in the state.

“The second game, (MCE) scored three runs right off the bat, and it looked like our heads just dropped,” he added. “It’s trying to break that culture of giving up when you’re down. It can be hard to do, but we’ve got to work really hard at breaking that.

“We showed early we could play with this team. We’ve just got to do that for 12 innings.”

In the opener, Brethren’s Lexi Lakso allowed just those final pair of runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Annie MacNeil had the only hit for the Bobcats against the Cardinals’ Alyssa Bryan.

Neither team gave an inch defensively until Brethren scored on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth to take a 1-0 lead into the last half inning.

“In the sixth, it came down to the mistakes,” McElrath said. “They made some mistakes and we capitalized. We scored the run that we needed, and that’s what we’ve been trying to preach to these girls: sometimes you’ve got to create runs.”

The Cardinals put on a bunting clinic in their attempt to rally, laying down three bunt singles to set the table for a walk-off knock to the outfield.

“They did the same thing to us,” McElrath explained. “They created some opportunities with getting baserunners on, and then one mistake in the outfield later, turned out to be the game. That’s all it took.”

In the nightcap, the Bobcats found themselves in an early hole, as MCE scored three runs in the first and one in the second for a 4-0 lead.

The Cardinals made it 8-1 after four, and despite Brethren’s two runs in the fifth, the Bobcats were unable to rally back.

Lakso allowed eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts in her second start of the night.

At the plate, Cailon Modjeski batted 1-for-3 with an RBI while Danielle Brenner and Hailey Guinan each went 1-for-2. Guinan, Emily Modjeski and Elana Hickok each plated a run in the contest.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from Monday’s games.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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