Manistee swept in season-opening doubleheader

Manistee’s Emma Witkowski delivers a pitch during the Chippewas’ season-opening doubleheader against Orchard View. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee softball finally was able to get out and play on Monday. Unfortunately, the Chippewas were swept in their home twin bill against Muskegon Orchard View, falling 7-4 and then 15-3 in a game that ended due to the mercy rule.

“It’s our first game,” said Manistee head coach Ross Vander Weele. “We haven’t been outside in a week. We lost nine games (to inclement weather). This is a tough team to open up with, but we have to play them. And they played in the same weather we did.”

In the opener, the Chippewas (0-2, 0-2 Lakes 8 Conference) took a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth when Erin Vander Weele hit a triple and crossed the plate off Emma Witkowski’s single. The Cardinals tacked on four runs in the seventh, and though Manistee managed to have the tying run at the plate, a ground out gave Orchard View the win.

“We had some base running errors,” Ross Vander Weele said. “We had some fielding errors and things like that that just cost us the game. We should have had that game. We had the lead going into the final inning. I wish we had that one.”

The Chippewas trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third. Erin Dorn hit an RBI single before being driven in by Addy Witkowski. Erin Vander Weele blasted an RBI triple to tie things up at 3.

Erin Vander Weele went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple and Dorn, Addy Witkowski, Emma Witkowski each had an RBI. Emma Witkowski pitched the entire game for Manistee.

There was no excitement in the nightcap, with the Cardinals jumping out to a 6-0 advantage and never looking back before the game was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.

“I started Maddie Verheek at pitcher,” Ross Vander Weele said. “They got up on us. I probably left Maddie in a little bit too long. I put Emma back in and she said they started timing her up.

“It was pretty clear our girls were cold and tired and wanted to go home.”

Taylor Murray finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Addy Witkowski hit 2-for-3, Madelynn Verheek was 1-for-1, Erin Vander Weele was 1-for-2, Audrey Stallings batted 1-for-3 and Ashley Walle was 1-for-3.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” Ross Vander Weele said. “I’m comfortable with what I saw. We have some things that we have to work on, but that’s just the way it is. … We’re a young team. We’ll get there.”

The Chippewas head to Ludington Tuesday for a doubleheader at 4 p.m.

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