Onekama advances to district final, falls to MCE

Onekama pitcher Zoe Morley delivers during the Division 4 softball district tournament on Friday. Morley pitched in both games, a 17-10 win over Brethren and a 23-9 loss to Mason County Eastern in the district final. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

Onekama pitcher Zoe Morley delivers during the Division 4 softball district tournament on Friday. Morley pitched in both games, a 17-10 win over Brethren and a 23-9 loss to Mason County Eastern in the district final. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

By KYLE KOTECKI

For the News Advocate

ONEKAMA — Onekama softball lost to Mason County Eastern in their Division 4 district final Friday, falling 23-9 in a game shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.

“You have to be able to throw strikes,” said Onekama softball coach Rob Johnson. “And then when they offer the out you have to be able to take it. I don’t think we were quite willing to take all the outs they offered us like we were in the (semifinals).”

The Portagers scored three runs in the first inning, but the Cardinals answered back with seven of their own. An eight-run second inning by Mason County Eastern all but put the game out of reach.

“We came out ready to play,” Johnson said. “We scored three runs in that first inning. We were pumped up, and I don’t know, we didn’t get a couple calls to go our way and we dwelled on that versus looking and playing above that stuff and we let it get to us a little bit, for a little bit too long.”

Ellie Magnan batted 2-for-3 with an RBI. Katie Magnan hit 1-for-3 with a two-RBI double while Zoe Morley finished 1-for-2 with an RBI double.

Facing a large deficit, the Onekama players kept swinging and managed to score five runs in the top of the third, but the Cardinals continually found a way to answer back.

“Our girls battled and battled and battled,” Johnson said. “The captains on our team this year, (Hope) Showalter, Morley and Ellie Magnon took it upon themselves to keep the kids pumped up and that’s what gave us that little rally later in the game. … It just wasn’t enough.”

Morley was the starting pitcher, giving up 13 earned runs, five walks and 13 hits while striking out two. Hanna Hughes pitched in relief, giving up seven earned and three walks.

Minutes after the season-ending defeat, Johnson was already looking ahead to next season.

“I think in the long run, if everybody comes out of it with their chin up in the air and we can see past this and set our sights on next year, I think the team will be more strong than any other team coming out of a season like this,” Johnson said. “I think they’ve got the battle scars.

“They can lick their wounds and get them all fixed up for next year and it’s just in the memory bank at that point,” he continued. “… I can’t wait, actually, until the first pitch of next season. I’m already looking forward to that.”

Onekama 17, Brethren 10

Earlier in the day, Onekama faced Brethren in the semifinals and bested the Bobcats 17-10.

“We were pumped up,” Johnson said. “(The team) had a team-bonding breakfast. They were all at the field at the right time. They had a great warmup and I think the defense played well. When (Brethren) offered outs, we took them.”

Morley paced the Portagers’ offense against the Bobcats, going 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs. Ajah Fink chipped in by hitting 2-for-2 with two RBIs while Coriena Maxey finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs.

“It was a good game for us,” Johnson said. “We hit the ball. We ran bases well.”

Brethren held a 4-3 lead going into the fifth, but costly Bobcat errors allowed Onekama to tally eight runs.

“It’s the same thing over and over,” said Brethen softball coach Scot Modjeski. “Too many throwing errors and too many mistakes. They had that one big inning and that cost us the game right there. We gave up like eight runs in that fifth inning. That hurt us bad.”

Mariah Pringle went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Bobcats, while Meggan Macurio finished 3-for-5 with one RBI and one steal.

“The girls played hard,” Modjeski said. “We hit the ball really well, I thought. They played hard but we just made too many mistakes.”

Whitney Dean toed the circle for Brethren, giving up eight earned runs and 11 walks while striking out six. Kaia Richardson faced one batter in relief.

Hughes was the starting pitcher for Onekama, giving up six earned runs and four walks while striking out six. Morley pitched in relief, giving up two earned and four walks while netting three strike outs.

Brethren’s loss marked the end of a season where wins were difficult to come by. The returning players got better as the season progressed and Modjeski looks to improve next season.

“It was a tough season, but I knew it was going to be,” Modjeski said. “I thought maybe we’d have a couple more wins, but it was just a struggle because we had so many young players. … We had some girls that never even played before, but they learned and hopefully they’ll build on it next year.”

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