Evart state semifinal game was memorable

Big second inning lifted Wildcats to 6-1 stunner over Calvin Christian

Editor's note: This is a recap of the June 17 state final game for Evart's softball team

EAST LANSING – It’s an inning Evart’s softball team and the fans won’t ever forget.

The Wildcats stunned Grandville Calvin Christian with five runs on eight hits and two errors in the bottom of the second inning to spark a 6-1 state Division 3 semifinal victory at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Evart (32-8-1) making its first appearancee in the Final Four, advanced to the state title game with Millington where it lost 3-2 in extra innings.

Wildcat bats exploded for 12 hits and took advantage of five Calvin Christian errors.

“They did it, I’m so proud of them,” Evart coach Amanda Brown said. “They came out and hit the ball and played great defense. They did a great job.”

Calvin Christian took a 1-0 lead in the first on Emili Goodheart’s RBI single.

Evart put 11 hitters at the plate in the bottom of the second for a 5-1 lead. Skylar Baumgardner singled to cenrter field and scored on a three-base fielding error. It set off an electrifying inning for Evart. There were two outs and no one on base when it all started. Riley Brigham and Brooklyn Decker singled. Addy Gray doubled to score Brigham.

Gray danced to third on an error and Decker scored on a throwing error for a 3-1 lead. Kate Gostlin singled home Gray for a 4-1 lead. Kylynn Thompson singled home.

“We found a fire and it worked out beautifully,” Brown said. “We had two other games like that where we had two outs and scored six or seven runs. Nobody wants to be the last out. It’s a fun thing that they do.”

Kylynn Thompson’s RBI double in the bottom of the sixth for Evart made it 6-1.

Evart had three runners picked off base but the Wildcats were able to overcome those miscues.

“We had some base running errors but their catcher was real good,” Brown said. “As I said to the girls, don’t get picked off.”

Gray was sharp in the pitcher’s circle, retiring the last 11 batters in a row and striking out the side in the seventh.

She went all seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and one walk while striking out six. Brooke Hunderman went six innings of pitching for the Squires, striking out seven but allowing 12 hits and three walks.

Gray, Evart’s leadoff hitter had three hits and an RBI. Thompson had two hits and two RBIs. Gostlin was credited with a hit and RBI. Baumgardner had two hits.

“Our hitting is contagious,” Gray said. “And we know our team is behind us no matter. This is just so great playing for the state championship and having our whole school here. It feels so good.”

Baumgardner, Evart’s center fielder, also had a sensational leaping catch deep into center fence and hung to it after diving to the ground and robbing Laura Steenstra of an extra base hit for the final putout of the top of the third.

“I didn’t know I had it until I could see it in my glove,” Baumgardner said.  “I was thinking ‘I need to catch the ball so this girl doesn’t get on base.’”

Evart had no errors, defensively.

“Our defense has been phenonemal,” Gray said. “They work their tails off. We go through fundamentals and we tell them so may times fundamentals can win game.”

Hundreds of Evart fans attended the game.

“It’s amazing and great, the whole community is here,” Brown said. “The girls know people really care."