Softball quarterfinals: Hartland rallies, upsets No. 1 Clarkston

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Hartland falls into a pile as it celebrates a walk-off, RBI single by Delanie Grundman in the seventh inning in a 3-2 win over Clarkston in a MHSAA softball quarterfinal at Wayne State University on Tuesday.

Detroit — Hartland senior first baseman Delanie Grundman knew what she had to do.

Tie score, bottom of the seventh inning, bases loaded. Grundman had to get her bat on the softball.

“Just hit the ball,” said Grundman, who did just that, singling to right field and capping a three-run rally to help Hartland defeat No. 1-ranked Clarkston, 3-2, Tuesday in a Division 1 state quarterfinal at Wayne State.

“Get it through the infield, (do) something. I knew the bases were loaded. I knew I had to get the job done.”

The late rally sends Hartland (32-5, ranked No. 9) into Thursday’s state semifinals at Michigan State — the program's first state semifinal appearance since 1996 — where it will face Howell at 12:30 p.m. 

This was also the third consecutive game Hartland rallied to earn a victory in this state tournament.

“It’s just crazy in there (dugout). Everyone is going crazy, it’s just so exciting,” said Grundman of the atmosphere in Hartland’s dugout during its rallies. “We knew we could do it (Tuesday). This entire time, we’ve just kept our head down, kept grinding, and just worked hard for it.”

Brooke Cowan and Hannah Mourad opened the seventh with consecutive doubles to cut the Clarkston (39-3) lead to 2-1.

After Kelsey Zampa’s bunt single, Bri Robeson’s sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Anna Kemp, tying the game at 2.

An error and walk loaded the bases with one out before Grundman capped the uprising.

“Never say die, (we) saw that at the regional level and we’ve been seeing that all year,” Hartland coach Bob Greene said. “They truly believe they can win no matter what the score.”

Hartland freshman pitcher Rachel Everett allowed six hits and one walk over seven innings, striking out five.

“It’s hard to believe (Everett’s a freshman) because she’s so composed,” Greene said. “She did exactly what we expected her to do today.”

Regina rolls into semis

Warren Regina 13, Garden City 0 (5 innings): In the other state Division 1 quarterfinal at Wayne State, Regina scored 11 runs in the fifth inning to clinch the victory.

Pitcher Marisa Muglia had a bases-loaded double in the fifth-inning explosion, as Regina (25-7) strung together nine hits.

“It just took us a little extra (time), we had to adjust to the strike zone, the pitcher, and once we had it, we were off to the races,” said senior third baseman Melina Livingston (Penn State), who had two hits and scored three runs.

“We got it going and just strung them (hits) together, and kept it going.”

Regina coach Diane Laffey, who has won six state championships — the last one in 2015 — is pleased with how her team has come alive offensively since the postseason began.

That, plus the way they’ve improved over the course the season, has impressed Laffey.

“We’ve kind of been flying under the radar,” Laffey said. “Our record wasn’t that good. It’s like we were lucky.

“We’ve scored a heck of a lot of runs in the last five days (regionals, quarterfinal). We’re a better hitting team, by far (from 2015). Defensively we hold our own, but the big difference is hitting. We’re really hitting the ball.”

Regina will play Caledonia at 10 a.m. Thursday at Michigan State in the state semifinals. The two teams met in the 2015 state title game.

Tuesday's quarterfinals results

Division 1

■ Warren Regina 13, Garden City 0 (5 inn.)

■ Caledonia 5, Alpena 0

■ Howell 3, Plymouth 2

■ Hartland 3, Clarkston 2

Division 2

■ Dearborn Divine Child 3, Richmond 2 (8 inn.)

■ South Haven 5, Spring Lake 4

■ Escanaba 9, Saginaw Swan Valley 1

■ Eaton Rapids 12, Flat Rock 4

Division 3

■ Sanford Meridian 10, Negaunee 1

■ Millington 15, Sandusky 0 (4 inn.)

■ Clinton 5, Allen Park Cabrini 1

■ Coloma 14, Stanton Central Montcalm 0 (5 inn.)

Division 4

■ Rogers City 7, Rudyard 5

■ Coleman 1, Frankfort 0

■ Unionville-Sebewaing 4, Waterford Lakes 0

■ Centreville 7, Ottawa Lake Whiteford 3