St. Joseph won Saturday’s Division 1 softball district at Mattawan, beating the host Wildcats 6-4 in the championship game.
The Bears won a Division 1 district title for the first time. They won Division 2 titles in 2015 and 2016.
“It’s obviously just an exciting day,” St. Joseph coach Joe Spitale said. “We had some seniors step up.
“We just had great energy all day. These girls have just all year long played at a high level.”
St. Joseph (23-7), the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division champion, advances to Saturday’s regional at Howell for a noon semifinal against the winner of the Ann Arbor Skyline district.
Senior outfielder Olivia McQueen had the biggest hit of the day for the Bears, a two-run home run in the top of the sixth that put them ahead for good at 5-4. Another senior, Courtney Farrish, added an insurance homer in the top of the seventh.
Farrish also homered in a 12-2 semifinal victory over Portage Northern, and has 18 homers on the season. The Bears have 54 as a team. The state record is 59, and Spitale said the Bears had eight games rained out.
“There’s no question (hitting) has been our strength all year,” Spitale said. “Today our defense was great, our pitching was great and we had some clutch hits.”
Mattawan’s Kacey Bouche hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the third to put the Wildcats up 4-3, but St. Joseph pitcher Isabella Rothrock did not allow another run the rest of the way. She was also the winning pitcher against Portage Northern.
“Izzy Rothrock’s just done an incredible job pitching,” Spitale said. “She held her composure when (Mattawan) hit a three-run homer.”
Gabrielle Dilley homered against Portage Northern. Taylor Garey added five hits on the day, including three doubles. Ellie Haunhorst had four hits and drove in five runs.
“Dilley had a big day,” Spitale said. “She gave a great pre-game speech.”
St. Joseph 6, Mattawan 4
St. Joseph 102 002 1 — 6 8 1
Mattawan 013 000 0 — 4 6 1
WP — Isabella Rothrock. LP — O. Fee.
Top hitters — St. Joseph: Taylor Garey 2 2b; Ellie Haunhorst 2 1b, 2 RBIs; Courtney Farrish solo HR; Olivia McQueen HR, 2 RBIs. Mattawan: K. Bouche HR, 3 RBIs; L. Wrubel 2b.
St. Joseph 12, Portage Northern 2
P. Northern 002 00 — 2 3 2
St. Joseph 531 3x — 12 15 1
WP — Rothrock. LP — Rachel Budnick.
Top hitters — St. Joseph: Garey 2 1b, 2b; Haunhorst 1b, 2b, 3 RBIs; Farrish HR, 2 RBIs; Gabrielle Dilley HR, 2 RBIs; Sophia Pavese 3 1b, RBI; Caroline Veine 1b, 2b, 3 RBIs.
Baseball, softball districts rained out
Three district baseball and two district softball tournaments were rained out and will be completed Monday.
The Division 2 baseball and softball districts in South Haven, the Division 3 baseball and softball districts in Bloomingdale and the Division 3 baseball district in Constantine were not completed.
Division 3 at Constantine
Centreville easily defeated Constantine to win the district title.
The Bulldogs, defending Division 4 state champions, had no problems with Buchanan in the semifinal, winning 13-2.
Brandywine fell to the host Falcons 8-2 in the other semifinal.
Division 4 at Decatur
Lawrence toppled host Decatur 6-4 to win this Division 4 district.
The Tigers advance to face Kalamazoo Christian in a Division 4 regional semifinal Saturday in Gobles.
Lawrence easily beat Eau Claire in a semifinal, 18-0 in three innings. Decatur beat Gobles 16-7 in nine innings in the other semifinal.
Division 1 at Mattawan
St. Joseph was defeated 11-2 by Portage Northern in the district semifinal.
Manuel Villalobos had a double and drove in both St. Joseph runs. William Henry and Michael Garritano added two hits apiece for the Bears.
Portage Northern 11, St. Joseph 2
P. Northern 400 140 2 — 11 9 2
St. Joseph 200 000 0 — 2 6 4
WP — Cam French 6k. LP — Jack Veersma.
Top hitters — Portage Northern: Nolan McCarthy 1b, HR, 2 RBIs; Greg Lapetina 2 1b, 3b, 2 RBIs; Parker Brey HR, 2 RBIs. St. Joseph: Manuel Villalobos 2b, 2 RBIs; William Henry 2 1b; Michael Garritano 2 1b.
Division 4 at Decatur
Decatur didn’t allow a run as it won its ninth consecutive baseball district, shutting out Cassopolis 8-0 in the championship game and Lawrence 3-0 in the semifinals.
Decatur advances to host Kalamazoo Christian at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the regional semifinal.
Jakob Southworth pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts to lead the Raiders past Lawrence, outdueling the Tigers’ Dylan Matheny, who struck out 11.
Travis Hunsberger went the distance for the win in the title game with five strikeouts. Hunter Slavings was the Raiders’ top bat on the day with two doubles and an RBI in the championship, and a pair of singles in the semifinal.
Decatur 8, Cassopolis 0
Cassopolis 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
Decatur 112 112 x — 8 8 0
WP — Travis Hunsberger 5k. LP — Dylan Green.
Top hitters — Decatur: Hunter Slavings 2 2b, RBI; Justin Gale 1b, 2b, 2 RBIs; Colin Warkentien 2b, RBI.
Decatur 3, Lawrence 0
Lawrence 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Decatur 000 111 x — 3 5 3
WP — Jakob Southworth 12k. LP — Dylan Matheny 11k.
Top hitters — Decatur: Hunter Slavings 2 1b.