2018-05-03 / Sports

Finally: Leelanau County teams make long-awaited debuts

Softball roundup: Growing pains plague all three peninsula squads


SUTTONS BAY ace Grace Periard fires a pitch toward home plate Monday in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader against visiting Kingsley. Suttons Bay had been scheduled to make its home debut Saturday in the Leelanau County Classic, but the event was canceled due to cold temperatures. Photo: Ron Kramer SUTTONS BAY ace Grace Periard fires a pitch toward home plate Monday in the nightcap of a season-opening doubleheader against visiting Kingsley. Suttons Bay had been scheduled to make its home debut Saturday in the Leelanau County Classic, but the event was canceled due to cold temperatures. Photo: Ron Kramer If any softball team in Leelanau County needed an early start to the 2018 campaign, it was Suttons Bay.

But the Lady Norsemen — who are comprised of one senior, one junior, five sophomores and a few first-year players — didn’t get it.

“Last year we had more depth,” said Keven Cross, who coaches the young team alongside Nichele Hursey. “We are looking for players to step up and figure out how to lead and be those good players that we had last year, but last year we had all those seniors. That’s the hard part of not having that first part of April to figure things out: We’re thrust into all these conference games right away, and it’s a good conference. We need more reps.”


LAKE LEELANAU St. Mary will raise money to fight cancer in the Kris Popp Memorial baseball and softball tournaments on Saturday. The Eagles will compete with Hale, Traverse City Christian and Portland St. Patrick on the baseball diamond while the St. Mary softball team battles it out with Hale, St. Patrick and Rudyard. Both St. Mary teams will be in action when the tournaments start at 10 a.m. Both championship games will take place at 4 p.m. LAKE LEELANAU St. Mary will raise money to fight cancer in the Kris Popp Memorial baseball and softball tournaments on Saturday. The Eagles will compete with Hale, Traverse City Christian and Portland St. Patrick on the baseball diamond while the St. Mary softball team battles it out with Hale, St. Patrick and Rudyard. Both St. Mary teams will be in action when the tournaments start at 10 a.m. Both championship games will take place at 4 p.m. Despite opening up a 3-1 lead in game one, the team’s youthfulness showed on Monday as visiting Kingsley came away with wins of 22-4 and 15-5.

Cross described the season-opening doubleheader as mildly overwhelming.

“Our girls knew what they were getting into,” Cross said. “This is our first game, and they’ve already played. We’re trying to find our chemistry and see who we are.”

Suttons Bay pitchers Tori Smith and Grace Periard took the losses in games one and two, respectively.

Laura Hursey led offensively with two RBI on four hits, including a triple, to go with two steals and one run.

“We’re learning to compete at that level,” Cross said, “and as the day went on, we got better.”

The Lady Norsemen will look for better results as they compete at Benzie tomorrow and in a Lake City tournament Saturday.

MORE SOFTBALL

Eagles earn split at Elk Rapids

St. Mary ace Shannon Popp led the way on Tuesday as the Eagles moved to 3-0 with a 5-2 win at Elk Rapids before suffering their first loss of the season in the nightcap, 8-7.

Popp struck out nine and walked two in game one while Hannah Dashner led offensively with two RBI. Popp, Christy Ball and Olivia Schaub each drove in one run.

Popp, Schaub, Alexandra Kirt, Jenna Sumner and Violeta Serrano drove in one run apiece in game two while Dashner took the loss despite giving up only two earned runs.

“In the top of the sixth inning, we posted six runs to go up 7-2,” coach Teresa Szur said. “Timely hits and smart base-running caused that offensive explosion. Unfortunately, we got in our own way in the bottom half of the inning and just couldn’t close the deal. We had two outs with runners on second and third and then several misplays opened the barn door for Elk Rapids to come back and win the game. (That’s) part of having youngsters in the lineup. (We) just need to finish by keeping it simple and ‘making the play in front of you.’ Great learning experience.”

Lakers drop two at home

Glen Lake came out on the wrong side of two close ballgames on Tuesday, falling 7-3 and 13-6 to visiting Bellaire.

“We played a real good first five innings then made a few errors in the last inning that cost us, in both games,” Glen Lake coach Gary Galla said. “We’re a young team. We just have to learn to finish now.”

In game one, the Lakers (2-2, 0-0 NWC) led 3-2 going into the top of the sixth inning. In game two, the score was tied 5-5 through five. Reagan Middleton was tagged with both losses.

Kaitlyn Schaub led offensively with four hits in the doubleheader, including a double, plus two RBI.

Eagles open season with sweep

St. Mary brought the bats to its season-opening doubleheader at Grand Traverse Academy on Friday, tallying 18 combined runs in 5-3 and 13-2 wins.

Shannon Popp picked up the win in game one, giving up two hits and four walks while striking out 11. Popp, Hannah Dashner, Alexandra Kirt, Olivia Schaub and Jenna Sumner drove in one run apiece.

“This game was a little bit of an offensive struggle,” coach Teresa Szur said. “We just haven’t faced enough live pitching at this point in the season to be effective at the plate. Played some pretty good defense overall, but had one error that assisted in a GTA run.”

Dashner delivered her first career win in game two, giving up just three hits while striking out four. Genevieve Bramer led offensively with three RBI; Kirt drove in a pair.

Lakers bust out brooms in debut

Mkenzi Bowens and Kaitlyn Schaub picked up wins last Wednesday as Glen Lake began its season with a road sweep of Evart 10-7 and 16-1.

“We just hit the ball extremely well,” Glen Lake coach Gary Galla said, “and it was our first time outside.”

Aubrey Rice led offensively in game one with two hits, including a double. Schaub also delivered a double and scored three runs. Reagan Middleton was credited with a save.

Middleton had a huge game at the plate in the nightcap with three hits, including two doubles, and five RBI. Rice and Ariana Heath each had three hits and two RBI.

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