Here's why Evart's softball team is confident of success in state quarterfinal

Evart's softball team celebrates winning the regional trophy on Saturday at Clare.

Evart's softball team celebrates winning the regional trophy on Saturday at Clare.

File photo

CADILLAC – It was no longer the long trip to Petoskey Evart will be making on Tuesday (June 14) to play Kalkaska in the Division 3 state quarterfinal game.

It’s a short trip to Cadillac instead.

Regardless, the Wildcats will be hoping to return with a victory and a trip to Michigan State University on Friday in the state semifinal.

Evart was to put a 30-5 record on the line againt Kalkaska, (10-6) on Tuesday on Cadillac’s field. The winner faces either Grandville Calvin Christian or Parchment in Friday’s semifinal round.

A 2-1 win on Saturday over Beaverton won Evart the regional title for the first time since 1999. Kalkaska, a perennial softball power, defeated Gladstone in the Division 3 regional finals.

“I know Kalkaska has a pitcher that throws pretty decent and I know they have good depth,” Evart coach Amanda Brown said. “I know they played some teams from around here so I’ll talk to some coaches and see what I can find out about them.”

Kalkaska split with Reed City, a team which Evart swept.

Brown said she was a first baseman on the first and last team to make it to the quarterfinals in 1999 and lost. Laura (Elder) Mumby, a former coach at Pine River, was a pitcher on that Evart team.

“It was pretty fun and pretty awesome to remember all of this,” Brown said.

Addy Gray has been superb on the mound for Evart while also delivering key hits. JoJo Tiedt had the walkoff sacrifice fly in the championship game Other Wildcats hitting the ball well have included Katelyn Gostlin, Kylynn Thompson, Ally Theunick and Skylar Baumgardner.

After her team won the district a week ago, Gray talked about how confident her team was this year after failing to advance past regionals a year ago.

“We just work as a team and we play well,” she said. “We picked each other up.”

The Wildcats were solid a year ago but this is a better team, Gray said.

“We played a lot of traveling ball with each other,” she said.

The Wildcats ended their conference season at 14-0 and have been 5-0 in the postseason.

“We definitely want to keep our winning streak going,”  Gray said. “We have to work together and keep everybody up.”

The fastball and cutter have been Gray’s best pitches.