Varsity softball squad defeats Tawas and Houghton Lake on Friday to win District 68-3 tournament
Tue, 06/06/2023 - 12:17pm caleb
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity girls softball team won a district championship on Friday with victories vs. the Tawas Braves and the Houghton Lake Bobcats.
The District 68-3 tournament – played at Houghton Lake High School on June 2 – featured four teams: Grayling, Oscoda, Tawas, and Houghton Lake.
First, Houghton Lake battled the Oscoda Owls, and the Bobcats won 10-5.
In the other District 68-3 semifinal game, the Vikings played against the Tawas Braves (a team that eliminated Grayling from the postseason during last year’s district round).
During the top of the first inning, Grayling leadoff batter Anna Wood tripled to right center. Mandy Andrews reached base on a bunt and stole second. Wood scored on a sacrifice fly by Jessica Campbell. Lauren Hartman reached base on an error and Andrews scored on the play. The Vikings led 2-0 after the top half of the first inning.
Campbell was the starting pitcher for Grayling. For the first batter of the bottom of the first inning, second baseman Katie Kanary fielded a ground ball and threw to Jesse Menard at first base for an out. Tawas put two runners on base with a walk and an error, but the Vikings ended the inning with two strikeouts by Campbell.
The Braves struck out the side during the top of the second.
Tawas was able to put two runners on base during its half of the second inning (one walk, one infield single), but Campbell posted three strikeouts to end the inning.
After two full innings, Grayling led 2-0.
The Vikings went one-two-three during the top of the third (fly out, strikeout, fly out).
Tawas opened the bottom of the third with a walk. The Vikings got the next two batters (strikeout, ground out to shortstop). A walk and a single to center field loaded the bases. Kanary fielded a ground ball at second and threw to Menard for the third out.
Grayling led 2-0.
During the top of the fourth, Hartman led off the half inning with a walk. After a fly ball out and a ground ball out, Lexi D’Amour singled to center field to drive in Hartman.
The Vikings led 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth.
The Braves hit a leadoff double to right center. Campbell struck out the next two batters. Andrews caught a fly ball in left field for the third out.
After four full innings, Grayling had a 3-0 advantage.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Wood reached base on an error and advanced to third on a sac bunt by Andrews. Campbell singled to center field and Wood scored. Hartman doubled to center to drive in Campbell. Hartman advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a single to left by Kanary.
Going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Grayling led 6-0.
The Vikings switched pitchers for the bottom of the fifth (Cali D’Amour). Hartman caught a fly ball at third base for the first out. Tawas hit a solo home run. The next batter reached base. Wood made a diving play at shortstop and threw to Kanary at second base for the second out. The next Tawas batter flew out to Menard to end the fifth inning.
The Vikings led 6-1.
Grayling did not score during the top of the sixth.
For Tawas, two ground ball outs (Kanary to Menard and Wood to Menard) and a fly ball out to Wood ended the sixth inning.
With one out in the top of the seventh (final) inning, Kanary singled down the right field line and Ally Walters entered the game as a pinch runner for Kanary. C. D’Amour homered to left field, giving the Vikings an 8-1 lead.
The first batter for Tawas during the bottom of the seventh lined out to Wood. The next batter walked. Hartman fielded a ground ball at third and threw to Menard for the second out. C. D’Amour struck out the next batter to end the game.
The Vikings won 8-1, earning a place in the district finals.
Coach Doug Paulus said the team played well in avenging last year’s district tournament loss to the Braves.
“Love it when a plan comes together. These girls have planned for a year to get that revenge,” Coach Paulus said. “It was execution from beginning to end.”
According to the team, Wood was 1 for 4 with a triple and two runs scored. Campbell was 1 for 3 with two RBIs and one run scored. Hartman was 1 for 3 with a double, one RBI, and two runs scored. Kanary was 2 for 4 with one RBI. C. D’Amour was 1 for 3 with a home run, two RBIs, and one run scored. L. D’Amour was 2 for 4.
Campbell struck out eight and did not allow a run. C. D’Amour allowed two hits and struck out one.
Grayling then battled tournament host Houghton Lake for the District 68-3 trophy.
Leadoff hitter Wood doubled to left field to start the contest. Andrews reached base on a bunt and Wood advanced to third. Wood scored on an infield single by Campbell. Andrews took third on a passed ball and Campbell stole second. Hartman hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Andrews. Campbell went to third on a wild pitch and Kanary walked. C. D’Amour doubled to left field to drive in Kanary and Campbell. With two outs, Menard doubled to right center and C. D’Amour scored.
Grayling led 5-0 going into the bottom of the first inning vs. Houghton Lake.
Campbell pitched the first inning for the Vikings. The Houghton Lake leadoff batter walked and the second batter was hit by a pitch. Campbell struck out the next batter. A run scored on a wild pitch later in the inning, but the Vikings got the final two outs with a fly ball to Wood and a grounder to Wood.
Grayling went one-two-three during the top of the second.
During the bottom of the second – with C. D’Amour on the mound – the Vikings got the first batter with a strikeout. The next batter walked. C. D’Amour struck out the next batter. The Bobcats drove in a run with a single to right field. A single to left drove in another run. A strikeout ended the inning.
The Vikings led 5-3 after two innings.
Hartman walked to open the third inning. Kanary singled. After an infield fly ball out, L. D’Amour singled to drive in one run but the Bobcats threw a second scoring attempt out at the plate. Menard singled to center to drive in L. D’Amour.
Grayling led 7-3 going into the bottom of the third.
Two strikeouts and a fly ball to L. D’Amour in right field ended the third inning for Houghton Lake.
The Vikings did not have a base runner during their half of the fourth. C. D’Amour struck out the side during the bottom of the fourth inning.
Grayling led 7-3 after four.
L. Hartman singled to center to start the top of the fifth. Kanary doubled off the fence in left center to put runners at second and third. The Bobcats caught a fly ball in center and threw the runner out at home for a double play. A ground out to shortstop ended the half inning.
A grounder to Kanary at second base, a fly out to Wood at shortstop, and a strikeout ended the bottom of the fifth one-two-three.
During the top of the sixth, Wood singled to left field with two outs, stole second, and advanced to third on an overthrow, but a strikeout ended the half inning.
Houghton Lake walked to open the bottom of the sixth. The next batter struck out. C. D’Amour fielded a grounder and threw to Menard for the second out. A strikeout ended the inning.
Grayling still led 7-3.
During the top of the seventh, Campbell singled to center field and stole second. Hartman reached base on an infield single. Kanary reached base on an error and Campbell scored. Hartman scored on a sac fly by C. D’Amour. L. D’Amour singled to left. Kanary scored on a groundout by Menard.
The Vikings led 10-3 going into the bottom of the seventh (final) inning.
C. D’Amour struck out the first batter. The next batter walked. With a runner on first, the next batter hit a bloop single to right field but L. D’Amour threw to second base for a force out. The Bobcats singled to left with two outs. The next batter grounded to shortstop and Wood threw to Hartman at third for the third out, ending the game.
The Vikings won 10-3, earning the district championship trophy.
Coach Paulus said the team had a bit of a letdown during game two after the win vs. Tawas but showed “perseverance” in pulling away at the end.
“It’s hard to beat that many bats in the lineup,” Coach Paulus said.
According to the team, Wood, Campbell, Kanary, L. D’Amour, and Menard each had two hits for the Vikings during the game vs. Houghton Lake. C. D’Amour and Menard each had three RBIs. Campbell, Hartman, and Kanary each scored two runs.
Pitcher C. D’Amour had 12 strikeouts; she allowed three hits. Campbell struck out one and did not allow a hit or an earned run.
The two district wins improved Grayling’s season record to 26-10. Coach Paulus said the girls have set several school records this year.
“These girls strive. They just strive,” Coach Paulus said. “They pick each other up. They support each other. It’s fun.”
The Vikings will play Elk Rapids on June 10 during a Region 17-3 tournament semifinal contest at Elk Rapids. The winner will battle Negaunee or Gladstone for the regional title on June 10.