Softball semifinals roundup: Mercy's run ends

By Rod Beard and David Goricki, The Detroit News

East Lansing — For Caledonia pitcher Samantha Gehrls, it's a season of firsts.

Gehrls is a freshman pitcher who guided the team during an unprecedented run through the playoffs.

For seniors McKenzie Butgereit, Danielle Oracz and Ashley Miller, it's also a season of firsts, but for a much different reason: It's Caledonia's first time getting beyond the regional final.

Caledonia's only three seniors accounted for all four runs and helped dispatch Farmington Hills Mercy, 5-2, in a Division 1 semifinal Thursday at Michigan State University.

They'll have a chance to close their careers with the school's first state championship, when they face the Warren Regina-Mattawan winner.

In the second inning, Butgereit had a two-out double and Oracz followed with an RBI double off the wall in left field. In the fifth, Oracz had a leadoff single, moved to third on consecutive sacrifices and scored on Miller's RBI triple. Miller scored to make it 3-0 after an error by Mercy.

Butgereit padded the lead in the sixth, with a home run to left, but Mercy answered in the bottom of the inning. After Cari Padula walked, Nicole Belans laced a hit to right field, which got past the right fielder. Belans wheeled around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Miller started a two-out rally in the seventh with a single and Hannah Horvath and Lexi Lieske followed with singles, scoring Miller.

Gehrls stifled the Mercy offense in the first six innings, notching eight strikeouts. Mercy rallied in the seventh, with back-to-back singles by Alex Sobczak and Sophia VanAcker, but Gehrl got the last two outs to send Caledonia to its first championship game.

DIVISION 2

Frankenmuth 4, Carleton Airport 0: Amariah Wright tossed a four-hitter to lead Frankenmuth (37-3-1), which will face Wayland Union (35-2) in Saturday's 10 a.m. title game.

Wright had nine strikeouts while walking one, stranding runners in scoring position in the second, third and sixth innings.

Wright also helped herself with an RBI single off Emily Bindus during a two-run third-inning. Frankenmuth scored two more runs in the top of the seventh.

Wayland Union 11, St. Clair 0 (5 innings): Mallory Teunissen silenced St. Clair's bats after the Saints scored 35 runs during the previous three postseason games, including 17 in a quarterfinal win Tuesday.

Teunissen allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Wayland jumped on St. Clair for four runs in the first, highlighted by Leigha Morse's two-run single. Morse had an RBI double during a seven-run fifth.

Hailey Houck and Teunissen also had two hits apiece to lead Wayland's 12-hit attack.

SOFTBALL SEMIFINALS

All games at Michigan State University

Thursday

Division 1

Caledonia 5, Farmington Hills Mercy 2

Warren Regina 7, Mattawan 1

Division 2

Frankenmuth 4, Carleton Airport 0

Wayland Union 11, St. Clair 0

Friday

Division 3

Pinconning vs. Monroe St. Mary's Catholic Central, 3 p.m.

Bronson vs. Montague, 5:30 p.m.

Division 4

Kalamazoo Christian vs. Hillman, 10 a.m.

Holton vs Unionville-Sebewaing, 12:30 p.m.

SATURDAY'S FINALS

Division 1, 12:30 p.m.

Division 2, 10 a.m.

Division 3, 5:30 p.m.

Division 4, 3 p.m.