2018-05-31 / Sports

TITLE QUEST

Popp, Eagles prepared for No. 5 Frankfort

A familiar foe loaded with offensive firepower is rumored to be the favorite Saturday in the District 105 Tournament in Lake Leelanau.

St. Mary coach Teresa Szur is aware.

“No doubt they will be a challenge and one of the best teams we’ll have played this year,” Szur said of Frankfort, the No. 5 team in the final Division 4 rankings. “I had toughened up our schedule to play better teams all season long. Unfortunately several of those contests were lost due to weather. Frankfort can hit, and has two really strong pitchers.

“But I will not sell our team short. These girls have really worked hard over the past couple of years to make themselves a competitive team that just won’t quit. If we play with the energy and focus we have shown this season, tough defense and a big hit at the right time will put us in a position to win.”

St. Mary pitcher Shannon Popp and the Lady Eagles (16-5) won the district in 2017 but won’t be favored on their home diamond in the 10 a.m. opener against Frankfort, which rejoined the Leelanau County-dominated district this spring.

The Panthers mercied Bear Lake in a predistrict matchup on Tuesday, 15-0, and have been dominant all season.

“They have a really long lineup,” said Suttons Bay co-coach Keven Cross. “They can all hit. Glen Lake and St. Mary are good-hitting teams, but whew. They hit with power and they use all fields. Plus they have a very good pitching combination.”

The Lady Norsemen (9-15-1) hit the field at noon Saturday for a matchup with the 2017 district runner-up, Glen Lake (10-14). Glen Lake swept Suttons Bay, 12-9 and 4-3, earlier this month.

“They don’t make too many mistakes,” Lakers coach Gary Galla said of the Norse. “They play all aspects of the game; we have to be ready for all that. We can’t take any team lightly; those were close games (last time).”


JENNA SUMNER crosses home plate for St Mary during their double header against Bear Lake last week. Photo: Dan Duffiney JENNA SUMNER crosses home plate for St Mary during their double header against Bear Lake last week. Photo: Dan Duffiney Young hitters should have plenty of strikes to swing at in the cross-county matchup with Grace Periard in the circle for Suttons Bay and Kaitlyn Schaub getting the nod for Glen Lake.

Cross said his team is improving quickly in what has been an expedited spring season but that upsetting Glen Lake won’t be easy.

“We still hold that program in a very high regard,” Cross said. “We know it’s an uphill battle for us, but we’re hoping to gain some confidence and see what we can do.”

The championship game will be played at 2 p.m.

– Story by Jason Bushen

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