Evart softball team holds back upset-minded Pine River

Wildcats repeat as district champions

EVART – Evart’s softball team made it two district titles in a row, this year in Division 3, with Saturday’s 3-0 win over host Pine River and is looking for a long stay during regional action.

Junior lefthander Addy Gray was nearly flawless again with a complete game over the Bucks, scattering eight hits in seven innings, striking out 10 and walking one.

“I’m very proud of them,” Evart coach Amanda Brown said. “They worked hard. We had a lot of people on base. We played hard and had a good time.”

Evart struggled with Pine River in a  6-5 nonleague win at a tournament in late May and Brown expected a tough game in the finals.

“They came and brought their game and it was a great game,” Brown said. 

Ally Theunick, Skyler Baumgardner,  Brooklyn Decker and Kylynn Thompson had one hit apiece. Evart’s defense didn’t commit an error. Theunick made 10 defensive plays.

The Wildcats 28-5 play Hart at noon at Clare in the regional on Saturday. Beaverton plays Traverse City St. Francis in the other bracket.

“This year, we’ll have a good idea of what regionals look like,” Brown said. “We know it’s going to get tougher. We’re looking forward to it. We played a tougher schedule this year.”

In a semifinal game, it was Evart over McBain 7-1. Gray allowed one run on two hits over seven innings, striking out 14 and walking one. JoJo Tiedt, Skylar Baumgardner and Gray had multiple hits for the winners. Tiedt had four hits.

Kate Gostlin had a hit against McBain to extend her hitting streak to 27. She was hitless against Pine River although a drive down the baseline just went foul.

“We were doing good today, but got down, but then got back up,” Gostlin said. “For regionals we’ll have to stay up all the time.”

Pine River mercied Reed City in the fourth and then exploded for 11 runs in the fifth. Isabella Guy and Paityln Enos did the pitching for RC.

Guy went 4 1/3 innings, giving up12 runs, nine earned on nine hits, striking out two and walking one 1. Enos came in relief and went two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out one and walking one.

Rylie Shafer had two hits for Reed City, whose final season record for the 2022 season was 20-19.

“We were 2-1 against Pine River coming into today and felt we had a good shot,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. “We took it on the chin today. That’s the way softball is. We didn’t have our day but we sure bounced back and had a good season. We’ll be better next year.”

“We could have played better,” Kenzie Shoemaker said. “We’ve had better ballgames. It was one bad inning.”