Chips sweep Panthers with walk-off win

MANISTEE — An eight-run first inning led Manistee to an easy opening win.

The second game was anything but.

The Chippewas rolled to an 11-1 mercy rule win against Frankfort in the opener Friday, then pulled out a 13-12 victory to complete the sweep.

Manistee’s Lilly Bjorkquist connects for a single during Friday’s first game against Frankfort. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Lilly Bjorkquist connects for a single during Friday’s first game against Frankfort. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

With the score tied at 12 after six innings, the international tiebreaker was used, putting a runner on second to start the seventh. Frankfort (9-14) was unable to capitalize, but Manistee (23-4) did. A hit and a walk loaded the bases with one out and Lydia Schimke came through with a sacrifice fly to score Stephanie Smogoleski and give the Chippewas a walk-off win.

“The sacrifice fly there was perfect for us to get that run in,” said Manistee coach Denise Lijewski. “Stephanie was great on the tag and able to score and capitalize on it.”

Manistee put the opener away early with the eight-run first inning in which the Chippewas sent 13 batters to the plate. Maser had had an RBI triple and RBI single in the inning, while Mackenzie Thompson, Allie Zimmerman and Smogoleski each delivered a run-scoring knock.

“Our bats were explosive and it seemed like everyone was getting a hit,” Lijewski said. “It really paid off for us and ended that game quickly.”

Frankfort scored its lone run in the second inning while Manistee added one in its half of the second and two in the third to end the game in five innings.

Maser earned the win after allowing three hits and no walks while striking out eight.

Smogoleski finished with two hits and two RBIs, Zimmerman had a single, double and RBI, Natalie Wilkosz had a single and drove in two runs, while Schimke, Lilly Bjorkquist, Taylor Wilhoit and Frankie Jans each singled.

Frankfort took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game before Manistee answered with one in first, three in the second and three in the third for a 7-3 lead. But, Frankfort scored five in the fifth as a three-run home run by Amarra Dine gave the Panthers an 8-7 lead.

“I’m not sure what happened the second game,” Lijewski said. “Our bats cooled down after the first game.”

Manistee responded with three in the bottom of the inning as Bjorkquist’s RBI single made it 10-8.

Thompson induced a pair of quick grounders in the top of the sixth, but Frankfort scored four runs with two outs for the 12-10 lead.

Thompson and Schimke strung together back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the sixth before Wilhoit and Jody Fuller followed with RBI bounce outs to knot the score and send it to the seventh inning.

“They can’t give up and we kept telling them it’s not over until the last inning,” Lijewski said. “You’ve got to keep giving it your all and it paid off for us.”

Maser entered in relief for Thompson and sat down the Panthers in order with a pop-up bunt, strikeout and fly out.

“My plan was to induce the pop-up because once you do that, it takes the bat out of the girl’s hands, gives you an out and from that point it’s pretty hard to score a girl without a big hit,” said Maser, who picked up the win. “You’ve got to buckle down in times like that.”

With Smogoleski (four hits, four RBIs) starting on second, Bjorkquist (two hits, three RBIs) laid down a bunt single and Thompson walked with one out to load the bases before Schimke’s sacrifice fly.

“It was matter of who could execute it,” Lijewski said of the extra-inning situation. “Luckily, it was us that executed it well.”

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