Rogers City softball comes from behind in two games to become regional champs

SAULT SAINT MARIE-The Rogers City softball team (30-6) staged two come-from-behind victories on Saturday against Posen (9-8) and perennial state title contenders Rapid River (6-3) to win their regional championship.

“We just kept battling. If the girls believed we’d get the rally, we would and we had that big five run rally in the fifth inning (of the championship game) which gave us the win,” Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said.

Brooklyn Idalski started for Rogers City and pitched two and 2/3rds of an inning. She gave up four hits, had zero earned runs and struck out three. Alexa Quaine finished off the game and gave up five hits, one earned runs, struck out five and walked two.

The game was tight for five innings, with a 2-1 Rapid River lead. Rogers City’s first score game off a Rebecca Meredith home run.

Cassie Brege walked and Logan Fleming singled, giving Courtney Streich the chance to pick up a two RBI double by knocking the ball right to the fence. Fleming picked up another single in the game.

Rogers City now lead 3-2. Nikki LaLonde then hit a two run homer, driving in Streich and herself to stretch the Hurons lead to 5-2. Sarah Meredith then hit a solo home run to take Rogers City to a 6-2 spread which Rapid River was unable to narrow enough for the win.

LaLonde made two diving catches in the top of the sixth inning to grab two huge outs that prevented Rapid River from scoring and which pumped up the girls even more.

“I always tell the girls ‘just have fun out there.’ I try to keep the game positive and to stay calm and positive during the games. You can hear the girls shouting out encouragement for each other the whole time and keeping each other pumped up and smiling. That’s important to how we play,” Grambau said.

Rogers City got to the finals after trailing Posen for much of the first game. Ashley Meyers came out strong for Posen, striking out eight, giving up 12 hits and walking three. She held Rogers City scoreless for two innings.

Posen scored first in the third, with Bev Bednarski and Anna Couture hitting singles. Bednarski was driven in by Amy Buczkowski off a double. Meyers then came up big with a three run homer to give Posen the 4-0 lead.

Rogers City answered right back with a Brege, Fleming and Streich single. LaLonde drove in Brege on a sacrifice fly while Sarah Meredith drove in two off a single to narrow the lead to 4-3.

The game stayed tight in the fourth and fifth as both teams picked up a run to keep the game to a 5-4 Posen spread.

Nikki Radke started as pitcher for the Hurons and gave up three runs in four innings. Idalski came in for the fifth and got into a tough situation in the sixth with Bednarski on second and Couture on third. She intentionally walked Meyers to avoid another three run homer.

However, Abbie Deletka hit a double and drove in all three runs to put Posen up by four runs for the second time in the game with an 8-4 spread.

Morgan Hall, who had been struck out at her first two at bats, came through for Rogers City by picking up a solo home run against Meyers. Brege then hit a double while Fleming and Streich got outs. LaLonde drove in Brege off a single while Sarah Meredith got on a base off an error and Rebecca Meredith got a single. Idalski walked which drove in LaLonde.

The Hurons three run rally narrowed the spread to 8-7 and after Posen went 1-2-3 at the bat in the top of the seventh, it gave Rogers City the chance to come back for the win. Hall hit a single and was driven in by Fleming who was then driven in by Sarah Meredith for the walk-off single.

“We played strong and Ashley pitched well but we gave them extra opportunities. We never seemed to have that shut out inning where we scored and they didn’t. They hit the ball when it mattered in the final inning,” Posen coach Glen Budnick said.

Rapid River got to the finals by mercying Rudyard 15-5.