TRAVERSE CITY — It was the third and final matchup for rivals TC Central and TC West on Saturday and it turned out to be the best one yet.
After falling to the Titans twice during the regular season, the Trojans squeezed out a 9-8 victory in a district semifinal game that was back and forth until the final out. TC Central went on to lose to Alpena in the district final, 10-8.
"I think this was our best game of the year," TC Central pitcher Olivia Fiebing said. "It was a great team win from every single position. Our outfield did a great job and we hit all the way down the lineup with two outs. I think this was really an overwhelming feeling for us to comeback and redeem ourselves to prove to ourselves that we can beat a really good team and a really good pitcher."
The Trojans had revenge on their minds and used that fuel to spring them to a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning. West pitcher Brittany Steimel put down the first two batters of the inning on three pitches but Fiebing walked and Heidi Walters started the two-out rally. Each of the next three batters reached base and scored runs, putting the momentum on the Trojans' side.
Titans lead-off batter Tacey Looze, who went 4-for-5 on the day, started the game with a single and eventually scored to make it 5-1. Fiebing and Walters got it going again in the third, leading off the inning by reaching base and both scoring two batters later.
West never gave up. Down 7-1, they went to put two runs on the board in the third before exploding for a five run fifth inning that saw a pitching change for the Trojans.
Taylor Sears started the game for TC Central and went four innings before allowing back-to-back hits and being replaced by Fiebing.
Fiebing initially had control issues, walking a batter and hitting one, leading to the big inning by the Titans that was capped by a three-RBI double from Claire Wells in the nine spot of the batting order.
According to Trojans head coach Nate Alger, that shake up may have been exactly what Fiebing needed.
"I think Olivia (Fiebing) pitches better when she is mad," Alger said. "When she starts to ramp up on energy I think she really starts to reel it in. You can see the pitches jump out of her hand and it is really impressive when her change is working — it makes it really tough to hit her. She may not be the fastest pitcher in the conference but her change-up is devastating."
Fiebing came back in the next two innings, mixing her change-up with heaters — striking out four batters and scattering two singles. Fiebing led off the seventh inning with a triple to the fence and eventually scored on Lexi Hamstra's single for the game-winning run.
Steimel pitched a complete game while allowing eight hits, striking out seven and allowing five earned runs — she also went 3-for-4 from the plate with two runs and a RBI — all while playing injured.
"Brittany is not 100 percent," West coach Dave Kenny said. "She is battling injury right now and she played her guts today. She battled every pitch and she is one of the hardest working and most competitive kids I have ever seen in my life. She is unbelievable."
Megan Galla tallied a hit, a run and a RBI for the Titans as well. Hamstra went 2-for-3 with three RBI while hitting for Sears. Siiri Asiala also tallied two RBI on a double in the first inning for TCC.
"We have been talking about this game since (the last one)," Alger said. "Every game between then and now was based on knowing we needed to have this game. After losing the first two we focused a lot on this game and how we were going to do it."
In the district final, Sears took the loss after throwing 2.2 innings and allowing seven hits, eight runs and striking out two. Fiebing came on in relief but the offense couldn't fight their way back from a 9-4 deficit.
Fiebing went 3-for-4 from the plate with two doubles and Walters had two hits and three RBI in the final. McKenzie Hurley also had three hits and a RBI for the Trojans.
Escanaba wins Division 2 district at Escanaba
Petoskey 10, Sault Ste. Marie 2: Petoskey — Aurora Sears (WP), 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 6 K; Anna Phillips 2 H, RBI, R; Gillian Howard 2 H, RBI, R; Alexe Sears 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 H.
Escanaba 7, Petoskey 1 (district final): Petoskey — Aurora Sears (LP), 6 IP, 6 H, 7 R, ER, 8 K, 7 BB; Sears H, R; Gillian Howard RBI.
Kingsley wins Division 3 district at TC St. Francis
TC St. Francis 5, GTA 4: TCSF — Ally Wood (WP), 7 IP; Wood 2-2; Reagan Bryant 2-4; Ashlynn Coger H; Maggie Jarema H; Alexis Ochab H.
Kingsley 12, Kalkaska 2: Kinglsey — Karly Roeloff (WP), 4.1 IP, 3 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 6 BB; Ally Goedecke 0.2 IP, K; Leslie Hamilton 2-4, R, RBI; Roeloffs 2-3, 2 R; Lark Jankewicz 2-3, 2B, 4 R, 3 RBI; Goedecke 2-2, R, RBI; Adriana Reed 1-3, 2 RBI; Avery Hawkins 2-3, 3 RBI; Lexie Coxon 1-2, 2B, 2 R; Jessie Stiner 2-2, 2 R, RBI. Kalkaska — Sam Michelin (LP), 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB; Jordyn Disbrow H, R; Jaime Potter H.
Kingsley 9, TC St. Francis 3 (district final): Kingsley — Karly Roeloff (WP), 3.1 IP, 8 K, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 H; Ally Goedecke 3.2 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB, 5 H; Leslie Hamilton H, 2 R; Roeloff H, 2 R; Lark Jankewicz 2-2, 2 R, RBI; Goedecke 3-3, R, RBI; Adriana Reed 2-3, 2 RBI; Lexie Coxon H, R; Jessie Stiner 2 H, R. TCSF — Ally Wood (LP); Lexi Coger 2 H, RBI; Alexis Ochab H; Kayli Revett H; Cassidy Nickodemus H.
Boyne City wins Division 3 district at Boyne City
Charlevoix 23, Elk Rapids 0: Charlevoix — Madelyn Sandison (WP), 6 IP, H, 12 K, 2 BB; Hannah Solomon 3-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB; Krista Dorst 2-3, 2 RBI, 3 R; Zoe Brodin 3 H, 6 RBI, 2B, 2 R; Grace Lentz 2 H, 2 RBI, 2 R; Katherine Wagner 3-5, 2 RBI, 4 R. Elk Rapids — Becca Marlof (LP), 6 IP, 21 H, 23 R, 15 ER, 6 K; Abby Platt H.
Boyne City 11, Charlevoix 6 (district final): Charlevoix — Sandison (LP), 6 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 5 ER, 6 K, 4 BB; Zoe Brodin 2 H, RBI, 2B; Kate Klinger HR, 2 RBI, R; Avery Zipp 2-3, 2 R; Wagner 2-3. Boyne City — No stats reported.
Frankfort wins fifth straight Division 4 district title
Glen Lake 3, Suttons Bay 2: Glen Lake — Reagan Middleton (WP), 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, ER, 17 K, 5 BB; Ariana Heath H, RBI; Middleton 2 H; Aubree Rice H, R, RBI; Mkenzi Bowens 2 H, RBI. Suttons Bay — Grace Periard (LP), 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 K, BB; Laura Hursey 2-3, 2 R; Periard H; Sophia Anderson H, RBI.
Frankfort 7, Lake Leelanau St. Mary 0: Frankfort — Natalie Bigley (WP), 7 IP, 9 K, H, 5 BB; Bigley two-run HR, 3 RBI; Haley Myers 2 H, 2B; Katie Beeman 2 H; Lucy Reznich 2 H; Taylor Myers H; Cora Scott H. LLSM — Shannon Popp (LP), 5 K, 4 BB, 4 H; Olivia Schaub 2B.
Frankfort 8, Glen Lake 4 (district final): Frankfort — Natalie Bigley (WP), 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 8 K, 3 BB; Haley Myers H; Bre Dawe H, RBI; Katie Beeman H, RBI; Maggie Kelly H, RBI; Cassidy Hollenbeck H, 2 RBI; 31 district titles in 41 years as softball program and five district titles in a row. Glen Lake — Kaitlyn Schaub (LP), 7 H, 3 K, 2 ER; Ariana Heath 2B, 2 R; Reagan Middleton RBI; Reann Nelson 2 H.
Onekama wins Division 4 district at Bear Lake
Onekama 1, Bear Lake 0 (district final): Onekama — Sophie Wisniski (WP), 7 IP, H, 11 K; Hannah Hughes 2B; Wisniski R. Bear Lake — Hayley May (LP), 6 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 8 K; Julia Schmidt H.
East Jordan wins Division 4 district at Ellsworth
East Jordan 4, Central Lake 2: Central Lake — Kaiya Wilson (WP), 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 9 K; Espn Shaw 2 H, 2 R; Kylie Granfenauer 2 H; Autumn Micheals 2 H.
East Jordan 15, Bellaire 5 (district final): No stats reported.