Chippewas take two from Rangers

Manistee’s Haley Maser delivers a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader against Manton on Tuesday. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Following a 10-day layoff because of the weather, Manistee picked up right where it left off.

The Chippewas swept a doubleheader against Manton on Tuesday — winning the opener 4-2 and the second game 10-3 — to improve to 4-0 this season.

“It’s hard to overcome the days off, but I think we played as if we never had that time off,” said Manistee junior Haley Maser. “We acted as a team and it showed.”

Manton was playing its first games of the season and coach Dee Reitnauer said the team had only been able to practice outside for about an hour so far this spring.

“Actually, they played pretty well for playing in the gym for five weeks,” she said.

Manistee avenged a pair of losses it suffered at Manton last season when the Rangers halted a 6-0 start for the Chippewas.

“It’s nice to come out and beat a team,” Maser said, “especially after losing to them last year.”

Maser and senior Destiny Blake picked up the wins in the circle and allowed just one earned run combined in the six-inning games.

“Both pitchers looked great,” said Manistee coach Denise Lijewski. “I can’t really ask for anything more.”

Maser allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks to go with nine strikeouts over six innings.

“If they score there’s always improvements to be made, but I was pretty satisfied with how it went,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team behind me.”

The Chippewas didn’t provide much support at the plate and managed just three hits as Maser and Natalie Wilkosz each had a single and an RBI while Jamee Fugere doubled and drove in a run.

Manton struck first with a run in the top of the second but the Chippewas answered with three in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of two walks and an error to score one run before Wilkosz made it 2-1 with a groundout and Maser singled in what proved to be the game-winning run.

Blake allowed three unearned runs in the second game on five hits, no walks and eight strikeouts over six innings.

“I think I pitched pretty good,” she said, “but it was nice to have my team hitting.”

The Chippewas backed up their pitcher with 10 hits and answered Manton’s scores with more of their own.

Manton scored one in the first, but Manistee answered with two in the bottom of the inning. The Rangers plated two in the third and the Chippewas responded with five — keyed by Stephanie Smogoleski’s two-run double — to reclaim the lead for good.

“The second game they came alive at the plate,” Lijewski said. “The girls know we need runs to win so they kept working hard and pushing for it.”

Maser went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Chippewas, Megan Vander Weele went 2-for-2 and drove in two runs while Valerie Urban had two hits and an RBI. Tyla Tarnowski added a hit and RBI while Fugere went 1-for-2.

Weather claimed two doubleheaders and a tournament since Manistee opened with a sweep of Mason County Central and the Chippewas are hoping those are the last games lost.

“The girls came out fresh and it was nice we were able to get the games in,” Lijewski said. “Hopefully we’re outside to stay, we can actually get some more games in and keep playing.”

JV Chips sweep

MANTON — The Manistee JV softball team swept a doubleheader against Manton on Tuesday to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The Chippewas won the opener 2-1 and took the nightcap 21-10.

Mackenzie Thompson picked up the win in the first game for the Chippewas and split time with Frankie Jans in the second game.

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