Will the third time be the charm for the Lady Hurons? Only time will tell as Rogers City
faces Inland Lakes for the third time in as many years deep into the softball post season.
Inland Lakes topped Rogers City 4-1 in the 2015 regional finals at Pellston. The Lady Hurons (33-6), the defending state champions, were cooled by the pitching of ace Cloe Mallory, then a sophomore. Four-time, first-team all-state third baseman Logan Fleming scored the only run for the Hurons.
Last season in the quarterfinals at Traverse City, Inland Lakes held off a furious comeback by the Hurons in an 8-7 win. Trailing 8-1 in the fifth inning, the Hurons found the answer to get hits off the Inland Lakes all-stater. Sarah Meredith’s home run cut the lead to 8-7. In the seventh, the Hurons loaded the bases with one out. A potential sacrifice fly ball by Kayla Rabeau was caught by the Bulldog right fielder and hustled in with the Huron runner electing to hold at third base. The next two batters made out and Inland Lakes held on to win. The Bulldogs advanced to the state finals, finishing state runner-up in Division 4.
Both teams dominated their opponents in regional play last Saturday. Playing on their home field the Hurons took a 4-1 win over Lake Leelanau St. Mary in the regional semifinals and mercied Whittemore-Prescott 17-2 in the championship game.
At the Rudyard regional, Inland Lakes beat Norway 9-0 in the finals. Mallory pitched and had 17 strikeouts. In the finals, Inland Lakes beat Rudyard 10-0 in five innings. Lindsay Van Daele pitched. All but one player in the Inland Lakes starting line-up has hit the ball out of the park at some time during the course of the year.
Inland Lakes has only four seniors on the team. Mallory has signed to pitch at Central Michigan University next year. Vanessa Wandrie has signed to play at Sienna Heights. The other two seniors are catcher Pamela Braund and second baseman Kimmy Rorick.
With the exception of two freshmen, Gracey Henckel and Amber Passino, all members of this year’s team were on the team that went to the state finals last year.
Game time is 5 p.m. Tuesday and the game will be broadcast on 99.9, the Wave with Andy Grambau calling the action.
A police escort will usher the Lady Hurons out of town Tuesday at 1:45 p.m.