GLADWIN COUNTY – It was a busy week for several local softball teams. The Mid Michigan Heat 13U and 14U teams were in Rogers City for the 11th annual PIGS Tournament. The FireStix were in Illinois.
The Heat battled through five games last weekend to bring home the tournament champion’s trophy. One run decided three of the games including the championship contest. With five more wins over the weekend the 14U team is 14-2 on the season as they get ready to head to the World Series this week.
The Heat got rolling on Friday evening when they took on a good Line Drive Express team out of Midland. Both teams scored in the first inning and the Express took a one run lead in the top of the second forcing the Heat to come from behind. Grace Chinavare got things started with a two out single in the bottom of the third. She scored all the way from first when Grace Simpson tripled to center field. The Heat took the lead for good in the fourth on a double by Mae Guzman followed by a single of the bat of Maddy Bass.
Rachael Mecca shut the Express down over the final three at bats and the Heat had a 3-2 win. Mecca got the complete game win striking out three while giving up seven hits. Grace Chinavare and Guzman led the offensive attack with two hit apiece. Simpson, Mecca and Bass picked up the Heat RBIs.
The Heat had somewhat of a breather in game two on Saturday afternoon when they rolled the North Michigan Pride 11-0 in four innings. Simpson pitched for the Heat striking out five in the shutout victory. Bass, Abby Manges and Meagan Farrell each had two hits in the game. Farrell also drove in four runs. Guzman added a fourth inning triple.
The next three opponents provided much tougher competition. First up on Sunday morning was the Alpena Thundercats. The Heat struck quickly scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Simpson homered with one out making it 1-0.
Katie Chinavare followed with a single and scored on a single by Guzman. The Heat added four more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead. Doubles by Bass and Grace Chinavare sandwiched around a single and two walks did the damage for the Heat giving them a 5-1 lead. Two late runs by the Thundercats were not enough to catch the Heat as Mecca made the lead stand up for a 5-3 win.
The semifinal game was a rematch with the Line Drive Express and just like the first game it was a nail biter. The Express jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first forcing the Heat to play from behind for only the second time in the tournament. The Heat responded with two runs in the top of the second, but didn’t tie the game until the sixth inning when a double by Bass drove in Katie Chinavare from second base.
Mecca led off the seventh inning with a walk and eventually scored from third on a single by Manges. She took third on a bunt single by Farrell and scored on the throw. The Express got one run back in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as the Heat took a 5-4 win and headed to the championship game.
Mecca pitched six and two thirds innings to pick up the win. Simpson and Farrell each had two hits.
The championship game pitted the Heat against the Alpena Huron Havoc. After giving up one run in the top of the first the Heat stormed back with four runs in they’re half of the inning. Six hits in the inning including back-to-back-to-back doubles by Bass, Roz Hernandez, and Mecca had the Heat on top 4-1.
After going back and forth the Heat entered the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead, but the Havoc didn’t go quietly. They scored four runs in the top of the inning to take the lead setting the stage for a dramatic Heat comeback. Simpson led off with a double which was followed by a Katie Chinavare single. Simpson scored on a Havoc error. Another Havoc error loaded the bases for Hernandez who single to center field driving in Katie and Grace Chinavare for the 9-8 win.
The Heat pounded out 17 hit is the win with everybody in the lineup getting at least one hit. Hernandez had three hits and two runs batted in. Bass had 3 RBIs on two hits. Both Chinavares, Simpson, Guzman and Mecca also had two hits. Mecca threw a complete game for the Heat picking up the victory.
The 13U team opened tournament play on Friday against the Great Lakes Thunder. This was a rematch and somewhat of a grudge match for the Heat as they had played and lost to the Thunder twice this season. This time things would be different. The Heat jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the first and never trailed again. Three straight hits, back to back doubles by Sadie Schuler and Laken Longstreth along with a single by Carlie Ehler gave the Heat a 3-2 lead. A single by Autumn Hess later in the inning drove in the Ehler giving the Heat a 4-2 lead.
Great Lakes tied the game in the top of the fourth but the Heat didn’t fold. They took the lead back in the bottom of the inning and went on to a 13-12 win. Every Heat batter got at least one hit in the game as they pounded out a total of 20. Ehler had four hits in the game; Madison Shell had three. Five other players collected two hits apiece. Tessa Cameron and Ehler both had triples while Longstreth, Ehler and Schuler had doubles. Cameron went the distance in the circle striking out eight while giving up four earned runs. “It was good to see us hitting well,” said Coach Ryan Cameron. “Every girl did a good job and we came away with the win this time.”
The Heat scored two quick runs in the first inning against the Cheboygan Chaos on Saturday afternoon on their way to a 7-4 win. Cameron and Sami Musselman shared the pitching duties with each throwing a little over two innings. They held the Chaos to five hits and three earned runs in the game.
Mid Michigan had eight hits in the game including three by Cameron and two by Ehler. Coach Cameron said, “The girls did a great job running the bases.” Which was evident in their 10 stolen bases. Cameron collected three of them Musselman had two.
The final game for the Heat was on Sunday afternoon, an 8-5 loss to the Line Drive Express Gold 14U team from Midland. The Heat out hit the Express eight to six but couldn’t outscore them. The Express scored five runs in the third inning and three in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead. A five run explosion in the bottom of the fifth wasn’t enough to overtake the Express. Longstreth had two hits in the game Kayla Newman drove in two runs with a double in the fifth inning.
“We started slow, but in the last inning put up five runs and made a good push for the win,” said Cameron. “Schuler, Musselman and Cameron all pitched well against a good Line Drive team.” Head Coach John Bair was also happy with his teams performance. “Overall our girls did a great job this weekend, and really gave it their all. We are really proud of the growth we have seen from the start of the season.”
The FireStix were in Elgin Illinois last weekend for four games. The team went 3-1 with victories over the Warren Wave, Fire Pure Gold and Delta Sports. They lost to Sparks Premier. Beaverton’s Mady Pahl had a good weekend at the plate batting .625 with five hits in eight at bats. She is second on the team with a season average of .405 and an on base percentage of .473.