Vikings clinch tournament championship with 7-3 district finals win vs. Manton Rangers
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity softball team clinched a district championship with a 7-3 win vs. the Manton Rangers on Saturday afternoon after advancing to the title game with an 8-5 semifinal round victory vs. the Roscommon Bucks earlier in the day. Manton was the host for the District 67-3 tournament.
Mallory Hatfield was the starting pitcher for the Vikings vs. the Rangers. In the top of the first inning, Grayling got three quick outs with a pop-up to second baseman Sabrina Junttila, a diving catch in right field by Jenna Schwartz, and a catch by Junttila on a foul pop fly on the first base side of the field.
Erin Prosser singled to center field with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, but Manton got the third out with a fly ball to right field.
The Rangers hit a double to left center to lead off the second inning. Kyla Roach caught a short pop-up in center field for the first out of the half inning. Hatfield threw to first baseman Olivia Schreiber after fielding a grounder for the second out. A single to right center scored a run for Manton. The next batter hit a grounder to Schreiber; she tagged the runner for the third out.
The Rangers led 1-0 going into the bottom half of the second inning.
Jenna Schwartz singled to center. Jenna Shelp reached base on a fielder’s choice. Shelp advanced to second base on a pitch in the dirt. Hatfield singled to right field, driving in Schwartz. Hatfield scored from second base on a ball put in play by Schreiber. The next two batters got out on pop-ups.
Grayling led 2-1.
The Vikings got three quick outs in the top of the third inning with a strikeout by Hatfield, a fly ball to Roach in center field, and a pop-up to Erin Prosser at shortstop.
In the bottom of the third, Junttila hit a lead-off single. Emma Prosser singled to left with one out. Schwartz hit a single to left center. Shelp singled to drive in Junttila. Emma Prosser scored on a ground ball by Schreiber.
After three full innings, the Vikings had a 4-1 lead.
Manton walked. Shortstop Erin Prosser threw to Junttila at second for a force out on a ground ball. Hatfield caught a short pop-up and threw to first base for a double play.
Grayling did not have a base runner in the bottom of the fourth.
The Vikings posted a one-two-three inning in the top of the fifth, getting fly ball outs on catches by Schwartz and Junttila and a strikeout by Hatfield.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Jenna Schwartz doubled. Hailey Hartman singled to left, putting runners at first and third with one out. Schwartz scored on a grounder to the left side by Hatfield. Manton got two outs with a runner interference call and a force out at second base.
After five innings of play, Grayling had a 5-1 lead.
The Vikings got two outs on a pop-up to Shelp at third base and a grounder. The Rangers doubled to left and singled to score a run. Another double to left field drove in another run. Grayling got the third out with a ground ball to Schreiber.
Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the score was Grayling 5, Manton 3.
Roach and Junttila reached base to start the bottom half of the sixth. Erin Prosser singled to left. Roach and Junttila scored on a passed ball. Emma Prosser walked. With runners at first and third and no outs, Manton caught a line drive at second base and threw to first for a double play. A ground out to the pitcher ended the inning.
Going into the top half of the seventh (final) inning, Grayling led 7-3.
Manton singled to left. The next batter struck out vs. Hatfield. A pop-up to Erin Prosser at shortstop resulted in the second out. The next batter hit a ground ball to the pitcher, Hatfield, and she threw to Schreiber for the final out of the game.
The Vikings won 7-3, clinching the District 67-3 championship.
According to the team, Schwartz was 3 for 4 with a run scored vs. Manton. Schreiber was 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Junttila was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Erin Prosser was 2 for 4 with two stolen bases. Roach, Emma Prosser, Hartman, Hatfield, and Shelp also had hits for GHS. Hatfield pitched all seven innings for the Vikings. She allowed six hits and struck out three.
Coach Mark Golnick said his squad hit the ball well, did a good job running the bases, and played solid defense.
“The final game of districts, it was our best game of the year,” Coach Golnick said. “I was real happy for the kids. They played hard. A real good team win.”
The Vikings advance to the Region 17-3 tournament to be held at Boyne City on Saturday, June 10. Grayling will play against Gladstone in a regional semifinal contest. The winner will advance to the regional finals.