LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – In what is one of the most anticipated days of the high school spring sports season, the battles during this year’s regional championship Saturday did not disappoint. There were three local baseball teams and nine softball teams all looking to raise regional championship trophies by the end of the day. We start with Division 1 baseball, where Grand Ledge was taking on Ann Arbor Pioneer in the regional final at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.
Pioneer started the scoring in the first inning and then doubled the lead in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Cole Allen. The Comets got a run back in the bottom half of the fifth on a past ball.
Entering the seventh and final inning, the Comets trailed 2-1. Grand Ledge loaded the bases with no outs, however, the next two batters struck out. So with two outs in the inning, senior Aiden Alspaugh singled to right field, which brought home the tying run and the winning run, to walk-off Pioneer 3-2. Grand Ledge wins regionals for the first time since 2018.
In the state quarterfinal, the Comets would fall to Portage Central, 6-1. Grand Ledge finishes the season 37-3, winning the CAAC Blue title, the Diamond Classic, and a district and regional title.
No. 7 Pewamo-Westphalia was able to shut out Schoolcraft, 4-0, in the Division 3 regional championship game at De Witt Field on the campus of Cornerstone University which was essentially the Zach Simon show. It was a 0-0 ballgame going into the third inning until the senior hit an RBI single to center and it sparked the Pirates’ offense. Brock Thelen was the very next batter to step to the plate and he too hit an RBI single to give the Pirates back-to-back RBI singles for a 2-0 lead.
Then in the top of the 5th Simon hit a two-run single to give P-W a 4-0 lead. The senior also had himself a day on the mound striking out 6 in 6.2 innings of work and his biggest K of the day came in the bottom of the 5th with the bases loaded to keep Schoolcraft off the board. Simon also did not allow a run in his 6.2 innings of work. Pewamo-Westphalia won the regional championship 4-0, before falling to Buchanan 10-3 in the Division 3 state quarterfinal.
Staying in Division 3, it was a heartbreaking ending to the season for the Trojans of Jackson Lumen Christi as Riverview Gabriel Richard got a 1-0 walk-off win in the 8th inning.
In softball, just two wins on Saturday stood in the way of DeWitt capturing its first regional title under head coach Adam Nolen. The Panthers defeated Holt in the regional semifinal game, 10-5, setting up a date in the regional championship game with East Kentwood.
DeWitt started strong by scoring two runs in the first inning. The Panthers then scored four runs in the third inning to take a 6-1, which was all the run support pitcher Kyra Shadduck needed in the circle. The sophomore pitched a complete game and led the Panthers to a 10-5 victory.
In Division 2, Olivet fell to Lake Odessa Lakewood in the regional semifinal game, 2-0. Olivet said goodbye to its outstanding five seniors including pitcher Shyann Truax and our 6 Sports Player of the week, Mollie Spencer.
JoEllen Smith has been the varsity softball coach at Owosso for 38 years and this is not only her first regional championship as head coach but first-ever for the program. Macy Irelan, junior pitcher, and Kent State commit had 33 strikeouts between the Trojans’ regional semifinal game against Haslett and the regional championship game against Lakewood. She had 12 strikeouts versus Haslett and 21 versus Lakewood. The regional championship between Owosso and Lakewood had everyone clinging to fences and up off their seats due to the drama.
It needed extra innings to settle the score and with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th, tied at 1, Ireland struck out the side to give her offense the opportunity to come through and that’s what the Trojans did. With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th Reyn Tuttle hit a two-run single, which was a part of a five-run rally for Owosso, to give them a 6-1 lead. The final out of the game was a strikeout from Irelan. Her 21st and final strikeout of the game to help Owosso win it 6-1 in ten innings.
The Laingsburg Wolfpack were on the prowl in the regional semifinal game against New Lothrop, dominating to 6-4 win. Then in the regional championship game against Shepherd, Laingsburg had an 18-12 lead going into the bottom of the 8th inning. But the Bluejays made a massive comeback and would go on to walk it off 19-18, ending Laingsburg’s season.
Then in Division 4, Portland St. Patrick had a dominant ending to its regional championship. The Shamrocks went on to beat Coleman 14-3 in just five innings.
Stick with 6 Sports for continued coverage of our local softball teams in the state quarterfinal round on Tuesday evening.