Chippewas sweep Sabers in ‘Strike Out Cancer’ series

Manistee senior Megan Vander Weele finished with three hits and three RBIs in Thursday’s series against Manistee Catholic Central. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee separated itself from Manistee Catholic Central on the scoreboard Thursday, but the meeting between the two served mutual purposes.

The Sabers, who suffered 8-2 and 14-3 losses, made the one-mile trek down 12th street to collaborate with the Chippewas in the doubleheader dubbed Strike Out Cancer. Each wore specialized pink uniforms, and donation jars for the fight against the disease lined the fences.

On the field, the teams looked to stay warm for respective district action that awaits Saturday.

“I think both teams really benefit from it,” said MCC coach Dave Lijewski, whose daughter Denise coaches the Chippewas. “You want that rust knocked off before the weekend.”

Manistee’s regular season sweep was actually in between district games, coming off of Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over Shelby.

“It keeps our competitive edge up,” Denise Lijewski said. “We were able to work in more players, too, just to see how everyone reacts in certain situations.”

The Chippewas (25-3) plated five runs in the second inning of the opener, and never looked back. Destiny Blake notched the win in the circle, allowing two earned runs on nine hits and no walks to go with nine strikeouts.

At the plate, Blake sparked the big inning with a leadoff double that hit the centerfield fence as part of a two-hit, two-RBI performance. Valerie Urban also had two hits and two RBIs for the Chippewas while Haley Maser had two hits and batted in a run. Natalie Wilkosz had two hits, while Jamee Fugere, Tyla Tarnowski, Megan Vander Weele, and Stephanie Smogoleski each had a hit.

MCC’s Jordan Barnett throws to first for an out. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

“We put the ball in play, which is what we were looking for,” said Denise Lijewski. “We want to make the defense earn their outs.”

The Sabers (16-5) went scoreless for the first four innings and entered the fifth down 8-0 after a three-run fourth from Manistee. Rebekah Bialik, however, put MCC on the board with an RBI single in the fifth. The Sabers scored another run in the sixth, but the rally ended there.

Amber Robke led the way with two hits and an RBI while Jordan Barnett and Maegan Sorenson each knocked a pair of singles.

Robke took the loss in the circle with two strikeouts.

“This was more of a learning process here for us,” Dave Lijewski said. “We needed to straighten up a few things, and we got a good look at two good pitchers today, which always helps.

“Some of our players put the bat on the ball too, so we’re proud of that.”

The Chippewas kept their bats going in the nightcap, and scored steadily before ending the game in five frames.

Manistee plated four runs in the first, two apiece in the second and third, four in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Nine players had at least one hit, including Vander Weele and Smogoleski each with two and three RBIs. Maser and Fugere each had a hit and two RBIs and Allie Zimmerman had a hit and an RBI.

Maser allowed one earned run on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts, as MCC plated a run apiece in the first, second, and fourth frames.

Janicki had a three-hit game to pace the Sabers while Courtney Sorenson knocked a pair. Shelby Papes took the loss, striking out two in four innings, before being relieved in the fifth by Robke.

“Even though the score didn’t show it, they seemed to be in it,” Dave Lijewski said. “And they didn’t give up, so it was good to play today.”

Manistee Catholic Central will be in a Division 4 district at Onekama Saturday, starting with an 11:30 a.m. semifinal against Bear Lake. Manistee will host Montague in a Division 3 semifinal at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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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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