2017-04-27 / Sports

St. Ignace Saints, Mackinaw City Comets Split in Softball Season Opener

By Jacob A. Ball

The St. Ignace Saints and the Mackinaw City Comets opened their softball season with a doubleheader matchup of cross-bridge rivals Monday, April 17.

The Comets were able to secure a victory in the first game after five innings with a 19-9 lead, thanks to a great first start from junior pitcher Kayla Gallagher. The second matchup was finished in three innings, with St. Ignace taking the win 20-3 behind an impressive pitching performance from senior Lauren Yoder. Both teams showcased their offensive and defensive talent on the night, but the lopsided scores highlight that players on either squad are still getting acclimated to a new season.

The first game featured a pitching matchup of Mackinaw City junior Kayla Gallagher and St. Ignace junior Lily Hart. Gallagher began her season with a one-twothree first inning where she retired the first three batters for the Saints without anyone reaching first base. In the bottom of the first inning, Mackinaw City junior Alaina Martin opened the Comets’ scoring for the season with a three- RBI double hit out to left field. After the first, the Comets held a 3-0 lead over St. Ignace.

The bats began making contact for the Saints in the second inning. After freshman Anna Hart reached first base on a walk by Gallagher, freshman Josee Misner recorded a single and an RBI as she drove the ball past the infield. Misner advanced to third base off a wild pitch from Gallagher before a single from sophomore Kaeli Nelson brought Misner around for the score. St. Ignace scored three more times in the inning, as Nelson, Cecilia Tomas, and Marissa Sweeney recorded a run in the inning. The Saints were leading 5-3 in the middle of the second inning; this would be the last lead of the game for the Saints.

The Comets would tie the score in the bottom of the second with a pair of errant throws by St. Ignace, allowing juniors Haley Jones and Sarah Morse to score in quick succession. After the game, St. Ignace Coach Mark Sposito said he felt his team was playing too tentatively in the first game, and that, defensively, the effort could have been better. He did add that Misner, Anna Hart, and junior Karlie St. Andrew “played a very strong defensive game.”

In the top of the third inning, Gallagher again dominated the Saints offense in impressive fashion, with no base runners allowed in her second perfect inning of the contest. In the bottom of the third, the Comets began to pull away with an additional six runs scored to swell the lead to 11-5. Martin and junior Katie Janeczek both reached base, allowing freshman Calysta Bell to bring them home with a two-RBI single. Eighth grader Jenna Wiertalla took a walk to reach first base, before a two- RBI double from Jones brought Bell and Wiertalla in for two more runs. Jones scored, as well, and freshman Kyra Cryderman closed out the six runs in the inning with an RBI single right up the middle.

Gallagher struck out two batters in the top of the fourth as St. Ignace failed to score any runs. The bottom of the fourth inning resulted in eight additional runs for the Comets. Bell opened the scoring for the quarter by stealing home base for a run, and Morse recorded a second run soon after, following a single from Gallagher. Wiertalla and Cryderman drove in two runs each, and both scored a run, as well.

In the top of the fifth inning, St. Ignace sophomore Audrey O’Rourke hit a fly-ball out to right field to reach first base before stealing second to get into scoring position. Lauren Yoder would pinchhit for the Saints to drive in O’Rourke with a sacrifice hit. St. Ignace continued to fight, hoping to secure a victory in their first game of the season. The Saints loaded the bases, Nelson drove in two more runs, and Tomas recorded an RBI double. After the top of the fifth, the score was 19-9 in favor of the Comets. High school softball rules specify that a 10-run lead after five innings is a mercy win, and so the first game of the doubleheader was over.

The second game moved even more quickly than the first, with St. Ignace securing a victory in only three innings of play. The Saints scored five runs in the top of the first on their way to a 20-3 rout of the Comets. The Saints loaded the bases, which led to three runs scoring off walks from sophomore pitcher Samantha Somers. St. Ignace sophomore Elizabeth Rountree scored another two runs for the Saints on a two- RBI single before the end of the inning. The Comets recorded a run in the bottom of the first, but senior pitcher Lauren Yoder remained in control throughout. Coach Sposito commended Yoder on her performance after the game.

“It was the strongest game she has pitched for us in four years” on the softball team, he said.

He added that he was impressed by the performance, and that he was pleased that everyone on the team played and contributed.

Statistics – Game One:

St. Ignace Batting: Anna Hart one hit and two runs, Josee Misner one hit and two runs, Kaeli Nelson one and two runs, Cecilia Thomas two hits and one run, Karlie St. Andrew one hit and one run, Saylor Sorenson one hit, Audrey O’Rourke one hit.

Mackinaw City Batting: Haley Jones double, Sarah Morse single, Kayla Gallagher single and two runs batted in, Kyra Cryderman two singles and three runs batted in, Alaina Martin double and three runs batted in, Katie Janeczek single, Calysta Bell two singles and three runs batted in, Jenna Wiertalla single and two runs batted in, and Samantha Somers one run batted in.

Mackinaw City Pitching: Kayla Gallagher five innings pitched, three strikeouts, four walks, four earned runs, and nine runs allowed.

Statistics – Game Two:

St. Ignace Batting: Anna Hart two hits and three runs, Josee Misner two hits and three runs, Audrey O’Rourke one hit and four runs, Lauren Yoder three hits, Marissa Sweeney four runs, and Saylor Sorenson two runs.

St. Ignace Pitching: Lauren Yoder three innings pitched, four strikeouts, zero walks, three earned runs.

Mackinaw City Batting: Haley Jones single, Sarah Morse single, Samantha Somers single, double, and one run batted in, Alaina Martin single and one run batted in.

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