Samantha Gehrls pitched Caledonia to a 1-0 triumph over Warren Regina in the Division 1 softball semifinals. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
East Lansing – It took three years but Caledonia pitcher Samantha Gehrls avenged a bitter disappointment.
Gehrls pitched a three-hitter and struck out nine Thursday as Caledonia shut out Warren Regina 1-0 in the Division 1 state softball semifinals at Michigan State.
The victory was a slice of revenge for Gehrls, a senior pitcher headed to Grand Valley, who lost to Regina in the 2015 state championship game.
“For sure,” said Gehrls. “A lot of the girls I played with my freshman year were saying ‘Good luck, go get Regina,’ and that definitely showed today.
“Getting to this point, it’s huge. It’s difficult and we know every pitch counts. We’ve really had to come together as a team.”
Regina only mustered three hits, two by Melina Livingston and one from Madeline Simon to open seventh inning. But the Saddlelites (25-8) left Simon stranded and saw their late-season run end.
“That pitcher is one of the best we’ve faced all year, no doubt in my mind,” said Regina coach Diane Laffey. “Probably the best pitcher we’ve faced. We knew she was good coming in.
“She has good presence on the mound, good pitches. Grand Valley will be happy to have her.”
Warren Regina coach Diane Laffey breaks down her team's loss to Caledonia in the Division 1 softball semifinals. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
Gehrls only walked one hitter Thursday, and Regina had difficulty all game laying off her rise ball.
"She’s grown so much as a pitcher and a young lady,” said Caledonia coach Tom Kaechele. “She’s the captain of this team and the kids look to her for leadership. She provides it on and off the field. She’s put the work in on her pitching; she’s the type of kid that’s never satisfied.”
The Fighting Scots (28-6) pushed across the game’s only run in the bottom of the third. Emmalee Hamp tripled to the wall leading off. Gehrls then grounded out to second base and Hamp sprinted home.
The one run was all the offense Gehrls needed. Regina never got a runner beyond second base all game.
“You get this far, it’s always a one-run game,” said Livingston, who is headed to Penn State. “You don’t have those 13-run games anymore – and especially against a pitcher like that.”
Third baseman Melina Livingston talks about Warren Regina's loss to Caledonia in the state softball semifinals. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
All semifinals and finals at MSU
Caledonia 1, Warren Regina 0
Hartland 6, Howell 4
Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.
South Haven 14, Dearborn Divine Child 0
Escanaba 2, Eaton Rapids 0
Final: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Sanford Meridian vs. Millington, 10 a.m.
Clinton vs. Coloma, 12:30 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Rogers City vs. Coleman, 3 p.m.
Unionville-Sebewaing vs. Centreville, 5:30 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.