Big Orange Machine
TRAVERSE CITY-The Rogers City softball team is going back to Battle Creek.
And the Hurons punched their ticket there with authority.
Rogers City got the jump on Frankfort early and pounded the Panthers 14-2 in five innings in a Division 4 quarterfinal on Tuesday at Traverse City West.
“One of our goals at the beginning of the year, and it’s one of our goals every year, is to go down to Battle Creek. To actually make it there this year is so awesome,” senior Brooklyn Idalski said. “Even though we’re from like a small town, we can come down here and represent our small town of Rogers City.”
Sarah Meredith had a two-run home run and four RBIs as Rogers City scattered 15 hits on the day.
The win puts the No. 3 Hurons (33-6) in the semifinals for the first time since 2004. Rogers City will play Kalamazoo Christian at 1 p.m. on Friday at Bailey Park in Battle Creek. The top-ranked Comets defeated Gobles 15-5 in their quarterfinal game.
The Hurons wasted no time getting on the board, scoring eight runs in the first inning. Meredith had a two-run single to give the Hurons a lead and from there the rest of the lineup caught fire. Before Rogers City’s turn at the plate was over, six players had knocked in runs.
“We knew we were going to come out and use the bats to our advantage,” Meredith said. “We knew all we needed to do was put the ball in play and let them make the mistakes.”
Frankfort (24-15) took a 1-0 lead to start the game after scoring a run on a throwing error, but from there the game belonged to the Hurons. The Panthers managed just six hits off Nikki Radke, who walked none and had no strikeouts.
Rogers City’s bats didn’t cool off any in the second inning as the Hurons’ patience at the plate paid off with three more runs. Morgan Hall drove in two runs with a double and Cassie Brege followed her with an RBI single to give the Hurons an 11-1 lead.
Frankfort starter Alea Hunt allowed all 14 runs on 15 hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Meredith added two more runs for Rogers City in the third inning when she drilled a two-run blast to center field with one out.
“Anybody could’ve hit one, but I swung easy and hit one and had fun. Having fun is the main way to do it,” Meredith said.
The Hurons tacked one more run on the board in the fourth inning as Logan Fleming drove in Brenna Hincka with an RBI single.
In addition to Meredith’s big day at the plate, Fleming had three hits and two RBIs; Hall had two hits and three RBIs and Brege had two hits and two RBIs.
Frankfort managed to scratch out more run in the fifth inning, but it came too late. Radke caught a lineout for the final out, sending Rogers City’s players out of the dugout in jubilation.
After a series of close wins and come-from-behind victories, Rogers City is headed back to Battle Creek. The last time the Hurons made an appearance there, they finished as runner-up.
“We’re excited to go to Battle Creek. It’s fun, it’s kind of a magical run now and anything can happen over there,” Rogers City coach Karl Grambau said. “You’ve got four teams left and we’ll just go down there and do the best we can and see what happens.”
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.