Chips sweep Lakers in doubleheader

BEAR LAKE — Bear Lake softball hosted Manistee on Monday. The Lakers were competitive but failed to keep up with the Chippewas, falling 9-7 and 14-6.

“I told the girls it was not about winning and losing,” said Bear Lake head coach Garret Waller. “It was about getting better and going against a good team and building on this for the district tournament. I asked a couple of them if they were nervous. A couple of the seniors said yes. I said, ‘There’s no reason to be nervous. Just relax, get up there, have fun, hit the ball and let’s play some softball.’

“It was a good night,” he continued. “… Both teams hit the ball well and had fun.”

Waller was excited to have an opportunity to play against a solid team like Manistee with districts fast approaching. Manistee head coach Ross Vander Weele felt the same way.

“The opportunity to play came together because Bear Lake had a cancellation from Baldwin’s team,” Vander Weele said. “Their pitcher, Hayley May, is a college-bound pitcher. It was good practice for us against a quality pitcher. … It was just a good opportunity for both squads to get ready for districts.”

The Lakers took a 7-6 lead after scoring four runs in the fourth inning. The Chippewas were able to respond with three in the fifth and one more in the sixth to take the win.

“We lost the first game by two, but we hit the ball well,” Waller said. “We had a few mistakes. We had three errors, a couple base running mistakes, but Manistee is a good hitting team. They’re Class B — a  tough team on the schedule before districts. I was very excited to get them to come and play us tonight.”

Back in the lineup for Manistee was Erin Vander Weele, who missed some time with an ankle injury. It didn’t take long for her to return to form as she blasted a home run in her second at-bat.

“(Erin Vander Weele’s) first at-bat was a little tense — just seeing how she would play on that ankle,” Ross Vander Weele said. “In the second one, she hit it 250 (feet). The fence was 214. From the minute it left the bat there was no doubt.”

Erin Vander Weele finished 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Erin Dorn hit 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Audrey Stallings was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

Madelynn Verheek toed the circle for Manistee in the opener, allowing seven hits, three walks, seven runs and two earned while striking out three in 3 2-3 innings. Emma Witkowski threw in relief, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three.

Hayley May led the Lakers at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Alyssa Eisenlohr batted 2-for-4 and Zoey Sutton went 1-for-1 while drawing three walks.

May pitched six innings, allowing nine hits, nine runs and six earned while walking three and striking out four.

The Lakers were unable to keep up with Manistee in the nightcap. The Chippewas scored two in the first inning and never looked back. A sixth-run fifth inning put the game out of reach.

Erin Vander Weele hit 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. Stallings was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs and Emma Witkowski batted 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.

“It’s nice to see that Erin Vander Weele could take a couple weeks off and come back and not miss a beat,” Ross Vander Weele said. “… She did well, but all in all, the whole team did well.”

Verheek threw five innings in Game 2, allowing five hits, six runs and two earned while walking two and striking out two.

For Bear Lake, Abigail Cross hit 1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI, May batted 1-for-3 with an RBI and Liliana Brown finished 1-for-3.

May pitched 4 1-3 innings, allowing 11 hits, 13 runs and 11 earned while walking six and striking out one. Kalissa Swanson allowed two hits, one run and no earned while striking out one in relief.

Sabers lose to MCE

MANISTEE — Manistee Catholic Central softball hosted Mason County Eastern on Monday for a West Michigan D League twin bill. The Sabers proved gracious hosts as they fell to the perennial powerhouse by scores of 18-1 and 12-4.

“They’re a very talented group but they keep making the same minor errors,” said MCC head coach Karen Goodman. “They’re young. They’ll learn, but I told them that they can’t keep making these same mistakes.

“They have to improve and learn from that mistake,” she continued. “They have to learn how to field — get their glove on the ground — and communicate and things like that. It’s all stuff they’ll learn.”

MCC went hitless in the opener. The Sabers’ sole run came when Macy Taylor drew a walk, stole a base and made it all the way around to home.

Kaylyn Johnson toed the circle for Manistee Catholic, striking out five in five innings.

The Sabers’ bats woke up in the nightcap. Johnson blasted a two-RBI triple in the top of the fifth before being driven in by Elena Pizana. That was as close as MCC would get, however, and the Cardinals completed the sweep.

“We came out pretty strong in the second game, and then we just kept swinging and striking out,” Goodman said. “We were rallying at the end but we were in a hole. We would have had to do a lot of digging to get out of there.”

Emily Miller pitched in Game 2, striking out three in four innings.

Johnson finished 1-for-2 with a triple and two RBIs, Miller was 2-for-2 with a run scored, Pizana recorded an RBI and Ana Watkins hit 1-for-3.

Though the Sabers gave up double-digit runs in both games, Goodman was pleased with the performances of her two young pitchers and looks forward to seeing them evolve as they gain experience.

“I think Kaylyn did a great job in the first game. I think Emily was coming across with a stronger pitch, but she’s not as consistent. Each of the girls has her qualities. And Kaylyn is absolutely great behind the plate, too. The Emily and Kaylyn duo is really a nice match.

“But, I can see some of the young stuff,” Goodman continued. “When there’s a runner on third, they are pitching with one eye on that runner. They have to learn how to block all that out and not worry about that. … That just comes with age.”

The Sabers next see action Wednesday for a doubleheader at Brethren at 4:30 p.m.

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