Chieftains fall to VikingsPublished 11:12pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012
STEVENSVILLE — The formula for victory in the Division 2 pre-district softball game between Niles and Dowagiac was simple.
It was hitting.
The Vikings pounded out 16 hits and rolled to a 12-1 win over the Chieftains, who managed just two hits.
The win advances Niles to Saturday’s 10 a.m. semifinal against two-time defending state champion and district host Lakeshore. The Lancers defeated the Vikings 10-2 and 10-1 earlier this season.
“They are definitely a good hitting team, especially the top of their order,” Dowagiac coach Mike Behnke said. “I was impressed with the fact that even though we don’t have the swiftest pitchers, they were able to stay back and hit some ball to right field and right-center field. You can tell they have been working at it and they hit the ball hard.”
Both team scored in the opening inning. The Vikings picked up a pair of runs, while the Chieftains were able to drive a run across the plate to make it 2-1.
After a scoreless second inning, the Vikings plated three runs in the third thanks to an RBI double off the top of the fence by Tala Gentry, followed by an RBI double by Sarah Cramer.
Brooke Wilson added a run-scoring single.
Three more runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning as Cramer drove in a run with a ground out and Molly VanDeKeere singled to drive in to more to make it 8-1.
Niles capped the scoring with a four-run fifth inning.
Gentry singled to drive in a pair, while Cramer and Ameliea Ernsberger each had an RBI single.
“I thought we played pretty good today,” Niles coach Ryan Frontczak said. “I thought a lot of the girls hit well. Now we have the big one. We have a lot of work to do before Saturday and we are going to work our tails off to get ready for them (Lakeshore).”
Gentry finished with six RBIs and Cramer four for the Vikings.
St. Joseph blanked Benton Harbor 17-0 in three innings to advance to the other semifinal Saturday against Berrien Springs. That game will be played at noon. The championship game is set for 2 p.m.
Niles 203 34 – 12 16 0
Dowagiac 100 00 – 1 2 2
Molly VanDeKeere (W) and Hannah Porterfield; Taylor Meiser (L), Katie Ward (4) and Kourtney Mitchell
2B: Olivia Jordan (N), Tala Gentry (N), Sarah Cramer (N), Sierra Herter (D)
Niles 16-22, Dowagiac 9-27