Sabers, Bobcats split league series

Manistee Catholic Central’s Hannah Janicki put a late tag on Brethren’s Elana Hickok during the second game on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — There was frustration up and down the batting order. There was no figuring out the opposing pitcher in the circle.

That was the case for both Brethren and Manistee Catholic Central on Monday as each took turns struggling at the plate in a West Michigan D League doubleheader that the future first-round district opponents split.

Behind a no-hit, no-walk gem from ace Mimi Modjeski, the Sabers won the opener 4-0 before the Bobcats responded with a 7-0 victory in the nightcap, paced by a two-hit shutout performance from Lexi Lakso.

“It was almost like the tale of two games,” Brethren coach Jason McElrath said. “Mimi pitched a really good game that first one, but we were telling the girls that it’s not like she’s all over the place, she’s pitching strikes.

“It was there to hit, we just couldn’t get the bat going though.”

Modjeski threw 10 strikeouts in the opener, as an error proved to be the only thing keeping her six innings from perfect.

“I just pitched pretty relaxed,” she said. “I haven’t hadn’t had a good game like that for a while, so it was good to get that one tonight.”

Said her coach Dave Lijewski: “Mimi was in good control that first game. You could tell she was up for a good game, and pitched an outstanding one.”

The Sabers backed her up at the plate, scoring two runs in the first, one in the second and one in the fourth.

Jordan Barnett led the way with two hits and an RBI while Modjeski knocked a triple with an RBI and Jenny Pieczynski had a hit and an RBI.

Lakso took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts.

“Heading into the second game, we were stressing they have to be aggressive,” McElrath said of bouncing back from being hitless. “They have to get the bat on the ball.”

They responded.

The Bobcats scored steadily in the nightcap, plating two runs in the first, one in the second and two apiece in the third and fourth.

Lakso kept the Sabers in check, allowing just two hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

“We were getting a little anxious at the plate, and they were taking advantage of it,” Modjeski said. “We weren’t playing very clean on defense either.

“(The loss) lets you know you’ve got to work harder — tomorrow, the rest of the week, and all the way up through districts.”

MCC threw three pitchers in the contest as Alysha Heck had three strikouts in her two-inning start before Amber Robke and Modjeski pitched in relief.

“We wanted to rest (Modjeski) the second game and give our 2 and 3 pitchers some innings, and for the most part they did good,” Lijewski said. “They were making Brethren put the ball in play, but we just weren’t making the plays behind our pitchers.”

MCC’s Hannah Janicki knocked a double to lead the way at the plate.

“We got down I thought when they scored a few runs on us, and then started pressing the issue a little too much at the plate,” Lijewski said. “We’ll sit down and talk about this, and figure out what we’ve got to do to get back up to where we want to be playing at for districts.

“And I think the girls know that.”

The Bobcats had several hitters contribute in the nightcap, as Sarah Colbrook led the way with two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored while Ashley Foster had two hits and Aubrey Robak had a hit and an RBI.

“We’ve almost been living or dying by momentum this year,” McElrath said. “We made some adjustments to the lineup (for the nightcap), and got going early.

“The next time we see them will be in the districts, so, I mean, I’d love to have both (wins) today, but I like the momentum of winning the second game.”

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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