East Lansing — Unionville-Sebewaing softball saw its season end one disappointing step short last year. It’s determined to not do so this weekend in Division 4.
Unionville-Sebewaing advanced to Saturday’s state-championship game with an 8-3 victory over Rogers City on Friday at Michigan State.
Unionville-Sebewaing (30-9) will play Kalamazoo Christian (31-8) at 3 Saturday.
“We kind of learned from some of our mistakes last year here,” coach Isaiah Gainforth said. “A lot of these girls are back, we got some new girls, and we weren’t in awe of the experience. Last year we were consumed by it and, I don’t know if it got to us a little but, but today we kep thte same routine and approach we’ve had at all of our tournaments.”
Unionville-Sebewaing coach Isaiah Ganforth talks about his team's explosive offense in an 8-3 win over Rogers City on Friday. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
Maci Montgomery had four hits and drove in three runs, and Danielle Harper had three hits, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning, during which Unionville-Sebewaing broke the game open.
“We knew we had to get hits and field the ball, and just getting that home run was honestly the greatest feeling in the world,” Harper said.
Unionville-Sebewaing had 16 hits in the game.
Danielle Harper and Unionville-Sebewaing beat Rogers City, 8-3, to advance to the Division 4 softball championship game. Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News
“Just the last couple of days, I liked where we were at offensively,” Ganforth said. “We had two real good days of preparation. To put 16 hits in the semis, you can’t ask for much more.”
Montgomery opened the game with a triple and immediately scored on a Rylee Zimmer sacrifice fly.
“At the beginning of the year this was our goal,” Montgomery said. “It feels good. Everyone is so excited.”
Kalamazoo Christian 6, Coleman 1
It’s largely been about senior leadership at Kalamazoo Christian this season, so why not one more time with the season on the line.
Pitcher Jayme Koning and shortstop Sydney Duong led Christian all spring and did so again Friday, carrying Christian to a 6-1 victory over Coleman in the Division 4 semifinals at Michigan State.
Koning pitched a complete-game four-hitter and clubbed a game-breaking three-run home run in the sixth inning — it was Koning’s third hit of the game — and Duong contributed three hits and scored two runs.
“It’s unreal, it’s great to watch those two play,” Christian coach Kevin Lewis said of having the two seniors. “I love it, love every minute of it.
“We jell and mix so well on this team and it’s unbelievable to see it from top to bottom, and then having players like Jayme and Sydney.”
Koning settled down after a shaky first inning, only allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk, while striking out 4.
“There were nerves in the first inning,” Koning said. “Once we got going, we got in our groove and played our game.”
Coleman (35-8) scored its only run in the top of first, Annabelle Bovee getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But Christian (31-8) answered in its half of the first, with Duong tripling, leading off, ,and scoring on Koning’s single.
Christian’s Faith Kline’s RBI single in the 5th snapped the 1-1 tie, then Christian scored four runs in the sixth to break the game open.
“I finally breathed,” Lewis said. “I actually got to exhale.”
All games at Secchia Stadium, Michigan State, East Lansing
Warren Regina 4, Bay City Western 0
Howell 9, Clarkston 6
Final: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Escanaba 2, North Branch 1
Stevensville Lakeshore 8, Eaton Rapids 1
Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.
Schoolcraft 4, Dundee 3, 8 innings
Millington 7, Standish-Sterling 1
Final: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Unionville-Sebewaing 8, Rogers City 3
Kalamazoo Christian 6, Coleman 1
Final: Saturday, 3 p.m.