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UM-bound Beaubien throws perfect game in softball semifinal

David Goricki
The Detroit News

East Lansing – It didn’t take long to know Michigan-bound left-hander Meghan Beaubien was on top of her game Friday afternoon at Secchia Stadium, putting on a dominating performance in Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central’s 13-0, five-inning Division 3 semifinal win over Gladstone.

It was a matchup of the last two state champs. Beaubien and MSMCC defeated Bronson 2-0 in last year’s title game. Gladstone (27-14) won the title in 2014.

Beaubien retired all 15 batters she faced for her first perfect game of the season, finishing with 13 strikeouts. She  showed she was in charge early, striking out the side in the first – all on called third strikes – after her teammates helped her out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the inning.

“I located the ball well, used my changeup a lot to keep them off balance,” said Beaubien, a junior who committed to Michigan during the winter of her freshman year. “We didn’t work inside as much as I normally do, we went outside because that seemed to be working for us. We’d go up a lot and mainly just the rise and the change combination, that’s really hard for hitters to get and that worked all day.”

So, had Beaubien ever have an opening inning like she did Friday, having all three batters called out on strike?

“I don’t think so,” Beaubien said. “I located the ball well and they were taking that outside corner a lot, especially in that first inning so that’s where all three of those were.

“Gladstone has a great program and for us to come out and score that many runs to get started, that’s just great for our momentum, gets us really excited and it’s hard to come back after you give up that many runs early.”

Beaubien also struck out the side in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

Kaitlyn Hardwick and Paige Hardwick were the only Gladstone batters to be retired other than by strikeout with Hardwick thrown out while trying to bunt for a hit in the second and Hardwick grounding out to close out the game which ended due to the mercy rule.

“Every time she steps out on the circle she has the opportunity to do that,” said MSMCC second-year coach John Morningstar of Beaubien who had an ERA of 0.36 entering the game with a pair of no-hitters. “We just don’t talk about it (during the game). It was pretty exciting to watch. She had superb command with the ball. She’s been clocked at 67 (miles per hour). People know that with her, kind of the kiss of death is three runs. You give up three runs against her and there’s not a chance of coming back from that very often.”

MSMCC (27-5) was just as dominant offensively, scoring the 13 runs on 19 hits, batting around in the fifth and having its first four pinch hitters of that inning get hits to be a part of the excitement.

MSMCC sophomore catcher Kenna Garst had fun around the plate all game, behind the dish when she caught Beaubien, then at the plate when she had a single, two triples and three RBI to lead the hitting attack.

“Meagan truly brings it,” Garst said. “She has good movement on the ball and can beat you on a changeup. We like to pounce first on teams and then use our energy from there. We work really hard on our hitting.”

Yes, it showed and now MSMCC will enter Saturday’s 3 p.m. title game against Grandville Calvin Christian will a great deal of confidence.

Grandville Calvin Christian 4, Millington 2

Calvin Christian came back from a 2-1 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to upset Millington (42-2).

Kennedy Stevens and Marissa VanDenBerg had the big hits during the three-run rally with Stevens getting a two-out RBI single, followed by VanDenBerg’s two-run triple.

Kaleigh Whitcomb earned the win, giving up the two runs on seven hits and striking out nine without allowing a walk.

Kendall Bouma had two hits for Calvin Christian (33-10).

SATURDAY’S SOFTBALL FINALS

All games at Michigan State University

Division 1: Macomb Dakota vs. Farmington Hills Mercy, 10 a.m.

Division 2: Vicksburg vs. Richmond, 12:30 p.m.

Division 3: Grandville Calvin Christian vs. Monroe St. Mary CC, 3 p.m.

Division 4: Unionville-Sebewaing vs. Indian River Inland Lakes, 5:30 p.m.