2017-04-20 / Sports

Softball roundup: Jeffrey, Norse rally past Portagers

New coaches spark quick turnaround for Suttons Bay
By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


SUTTONS BAY pitcher Morgan Jeffrey delivers a strike on Tuesday in the team’s 7-5 win over visiting Onekama. Photo: Ron Kramer SUTTONS BAY pitcher Morgan Jeffrey delivers a strike on Tuesday in the team’s 7-5 win over visiting Onekama. Photo: Ron Kramer The one-win 2016 campaign has quickly become a thing of the past.

That’s because the Suttons Bay softball team, which is now under the direction of co-coaches Keven Cross and Nikki Hursey, has tripled that win total just six games into 2017.

Senior pitcher Morgan Jeffrey propelled the Lady Norse to their second and third straight wins Tuesday as the team notched 7-5 and 13-3 come-frombehind victories over visiting Onekama.

“It’s something to see,” Cross said. “We’re not world-beaters, but it’s coming together. Seniors are understanding their role and stepping up with their play and leadership, and the young players are doing their thing.

“It’s a nice mix right now.”

Jeffrey picked up her first win of the season in game one by fanning eight batters and taking matters into her own hands at the plate. She drove in the goahead runs with a two-run single in the fourth inning and finished with two hits, three RBI and two runs.


ST. MARY pitcher Shannon Popp is all smiles in the team’s home opener on Monday. The Eagles swept Buckley 11-1 and 17-0. ST. MARY pitcher Shannon Popp is all smiles in the team’s home opener on Monday. The Eagles swept Buckley 11-1 and 17-0. Cross said the Suttons Bay girls showed maturity early after Onekama presented them with an all-too-familiar scenario: an early deficit.

“Game one was the recipe for disaster that they’ve lived through,” he said, referencing 2016. “They scuffled in the first inning, but the ship got righted. Give Morgan some credit. She’s the one in the circle, but we’re really grinding at-bats, digging in and trying to take what we’ve been working on in practice and applying it in the game.

“You can see the confidence. A lot of times last year, something bad would happen and it’s ‘here we go again.’”

The Norse (3-3, 2-2 Northwest) saw the same story play out in the nightcap after falling behind 3-1 in the top of the third inning. The team proceeded to put eight runs on the board in the bottom of the third inning before ending the game early with a four-run fifth.

Jeffrey and Tori Smith led at the plate with two hits, two RBI and two runs apiece.

“She switched positions for us on the infield and is really taking to it,” Cross said of Smith. “She had a really good all-around game and made a couple nice plays, and that’s indicative of what we’re seeing. Coach Hursey has been able to get the girls to buy in and accept new things. There’s just a lot of growth from where they were last year, and even from that first game in Frankfort.”

Freshman pitcher Grace Periard picked up the win, her second in as many appearances, striking out eight.

The Norse, who were slated to host Grand Traverse Academy and Traverse City Christian after press time last night, will be back in action at home tomorrow against Boyne Falls.

MORE SOFTBALL

Lakers drop two at Frankfort

Frankfort continues to terrorize teams from Leelanau County.

The Panthers, who outscored St. Mary and Suttons Bay by a combined score of 53-1 in four wins last week, posted 11-0 and 10-0 five-inning wins over visiting Glen Lake on Tuesday.

“They just played all facets of the game better than we did,” Glen Lake coach Gary Galla said.

Kaitlyn Schaub was tagged with both losses despite giving up just five hits in the nightcap.

Schaub and MKenzie Bowens had Glen Lake’s only hits in game one; Kelly Bunek supplied the lone hit in game two and stole two bases.

The Lakers (3-3, 1-3 Northwest), who were slated to host Elk Rapids after press time last night, will welcome Benzie on Tuesday.

Elks, Norse split twinbill

Last Thursday was a day of firsts for the Suttons Bay softball team.

The Lady Norse followed up a 9-6 loss in game one to visiting Elk Rapids with a meaningful 16-5 win in the nightcap. The win was not only a first this spring for Suttons Bay co-coaches Keven Cross and Nikki Hursey, but also freshman pitcher Grace Periard.

“She’s not a strikeout pitcher,” Cross said of Periard, who also supplied two hits and drove in one run. “She pitches to contact, but we’re so much more solid on defense this year and girls are making plays behind her.”

Anya Woods provided the spark for Suttons Bay with a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth inning, an inning in which Suttons Bay sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs.

Laura Hursey led the Norse with three hits. Morgan Jeffrey had two hits, one RBI and three runs; Taylor Devol had two hits and one RBI; Maddy Porter had two hits and one run; and Natalie Ingwersen scored three runs.

Jeffrey led in game one with one hit and two RBI. Laura Hursey added one hit and scored two runs; Madelyn Kohler had one hit and one RBI.

Eagles sweep Bears in home debut

A little bit of small ball went a long way for St. Mary hitters on Monday.

The Lady Eagles put 28 runs on the board against visiting Buckley on Monday while pushing their win streak to four with 11-1 and 17-0 victories.

“We played a little small ball with some walks, bunts and timely hits to put together the win in game one,” St. Mary coach Teresa Szur said on Wednesday. “In game two, I let our runners loose as the temps were dropping and we were losing daylight. While the stats only show four stolen bases, our girls were very savvy running the bases and took the extra base anytime they had the chance.”

Shannon Popp picked up both wins, giving up a grand total of three hits, four walks and one run on the day while striking out eight in eight innings.

Offensive leaders in the sweep were Emily Holmes (four total hits, six RBI, three steals); Alexandra Kirt (five hits, five RBI, four runs); Lexi Schaub (six hits, six runs, two RBI); and Jenna Sumner (four hits, five RBI, two runs).

St. Mary (4-2) will host Mancelona on Friday.

Glen Lake lights up Evart

Scorekeepers had their hands full in Evart last Thursday.

That’s because Glen Lake hitters had a heyday at the plate, touching home 42 times in 25-9 and 17-12 wins.

“We had a lot of opportunities,” Glen Lake coach Gary Galla said.

Kaitlyn Schaub secured the win in game one while providing two hits and four RBI in the batters box. Kelly Bunek also had a big day with two hits, four RBI and four runs. Other contributors were MKenzie Bowens (two hits, three runs); Lydia Drzewiecki (three hits, two runs); Brooke Harris (two hits, three runs); Keaton Mikowski (two hits, four runs); Reagan Middleton (two hits, two RBI); and Katie Scott (two RBI).

Middleton secured her first career varsity win in the nightcap, adding two RBI at the plate. Other contributors were Bowens (two hits, two runs); Bunek (four hits, three runs, two doubles); Drzewiecki (two RBI); Mikowski (two RBI, two runs); Scott (two hits, two RBI); Schaub (two hits, three RBI); and Morgan Zywicki (two RBI).

Lady Eagles sweep Mustangs

Following a tough pair of seasonopening losses at Frankfort, the St. Mary girls bounced back in a big way.

Senior captain Emily Holmes put together a big day at the plate last Wednesday as St. Mary secured 9-6 and 6-2 wins over Grand Traverse Academy in Traverse City.

Holmes went a combined 4-for-7 with a trio of triples, three RBI and three runs in the make-up games, which were originally scheduled for April 11.

“It was pretty chilly, and the scores indicate that nobody was really pounding the ball except Emily Holmes,” St. Mary coach Teresa Szur said. “She and Maranda Hughes were on the St. Mary senior mission trip before Easter, so this was their first action on the field. Emily saw the ball well and ripped three triples to spark us to two wins.”

Shannon Popp picked up the pair of wins, surrendering 12 hits in 11 innings while striking out 12.

Alexandra Kirt went a combined 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI, two runs and a steal; Lexi Schaub supplied two RBI, three runs and a stolen base; and Olivia Schaub went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a run.

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