Shepherd came to town on Monday with a Jack Pine Conference Championship on the line for the Beavers. Beaverton entered the game with a 10-2 record leading second place Meridian by a half a game. The Mustangs had already completed their season with an 11-3 conference record meaning that Beaverton had to win one game to secure at least a tie for the league title. A sweep would mean sole possession of first place.
With the collection of talent in this group a conference championship almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. After all they had already won league titles in volleyball and basketball this year, but Shepherd clearly had other ideas. They played tough and made the Beavers earn the crown.
Beaverton was trailing 3-1 when they came to bat in the bottom of the third inning. Grace Simpson led off the inning with a fly ball that was misplayed by the right fielder allow her to make it to second base. Mady Pahl followed with a bunt single moving Simpson to third. The next batter, Alexis Grove also bunted her way on loading the bases with one out and bringing Sawyer Gerow to the plate. She came through for the Beavers doubling to left field and emptying the bases.
After a fly out Rayne Myers walked putting runners on first and second and bringing up Lily Ficek. Ficek, who had homered in the second inning, drove in her second run of the game with an RBI single. A strikeout ended the inning, but not before Beaverton had take a 5-3 lead.
It looked like the Beavers were in total control when they scored five more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Simpson singled with one out and moved to third on a double by Pahl. Molly Gerow reached second on a fielder’s choice bunt that was misplayed allowing both Simpson and Pahl to score. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases for Logan Matthews who walked driving in M. Gerow. Ficek followed with a single driving in two more runs and giving Beaverton a 10-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
To their credit the Blue Jays didn’t quit. They scored five runs in the inning to make the game close. When Molly Gerow struck out Faber to end the game the Beavers had a 10-8 win and at least a share of the conference title.
Ficek had three hits including a homerun and knocked in four runs for Beaverton. Sawyer Gerow had two hits and three RBIs. Pahl had two hits. Cadence Augustine pitched six and a third innings to get the win.
Game two was another close contest with the Beavers taking a 7-3 win. Grove had two hits and three RBIs. Ficek continued to swing a hot bat collecting two more hits and a RBI. Simpson and Logan Matthews also had two hits. Augustine got the win going all seven innings giving up eight hits and only three runs.
“I’m really happy for the kids on winning this title outright. They work hard and are unselfish,” said Coach Aaron Wentworth. “We had some kids step up tonight. These kids have won three conference titles this season and that’s quite an accomplishment.”
The Beavers are currently 30-4 on the season and ranked ninth in Division 3 by the Michigan Softball Coaches Association. They conclude the regular season with three games in Bay City Central on Saturday. Then open District play next Tuesday in Farwell against Harrison.