Lady Eagles bow out of Regionals
BAY CITY — Arenac Eastern softball coach Mike Vogl figured his Eagles had a shot to beat Deckerville in Saturday's regional semifinal contest if they played the kind of game that had gotten AE to this point in the post-season.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the game AE played through the first two innings.
Deckerville took advantage of Eastern's nerves to take a 6-0 lead. The Eagles clawed back to within a run but never could push the tying run across, and Deckerville claimed an 8-5 victory that ended AE's season.
"(It) turned out not to be our best effort," Vogl said. "Disappointment (at in the regional tournament) again as it appeared there was some nervousness that led to some uncharacteristic play."
Deckerville scored three runs in the top of the first inning before the Eagles recorded an out, and that came on the tail end of an RBI double when AE caught a baserunner in a rundown.
Deckerville added three more in the second inning, and the damage was done.
Maddie Nelson picked up the Eagles' first hit in the third inning, igniting AE's first rally. Brianna Dery's bases loaded single went through an outfielders legs to score three runs and Chelsea Dery's single brought her home.
Chelsea Dery's RBI single in the fourth cut the Deckerville lead to 6-5, but with runners at second and third, Jamie Rowbottom lined out to second base to end the AE threat.
Deckerville added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Defensively, AE turned two double plays in the game. The first came in the fourth inning, when Ashley Navarre caught a fly ball in left field and doubled a Deckerville runner off third base. The other came in the third.
Nelson started and took the loss, allowing four earned runs in 3-1/3 innings on seven hits with six walks and two strikeouts. Shawna Tacey pitched the rest of the way, giving up one earned run on two hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Deckerville went on to lose to top-ranked Unionville-Sebewaing 9-0 in the regional title game.
The Eagles (20-15) return most of their team next season as Jolene Tacey and Kaytlin Fitzgerald were the squad's only seniors.
"A lot was learned this season," Vogl said. "Hopefully that will be a big advantage next year. With nearly everyone returning they have already been given their challenge for next year."