Tribune Recorder Leader
It’s been a couple of years since post season hardware has been added to the Sandusky softball program but, this year’s squad took care of that Friday with an impressive showing to win the district crown for the first time since 2013.
“I am just so proud of the girls,” said Coach Danny Franzel. “What a great day for Sandusky softball. We did what it took to win the games. A little small ball, used the long ball, great pitching and clutch hitting. It was a good all around performance by the girls. We are happy to be moving on and realize it gets tougher the deeper we go in the play-offs.”
Indeed it will, beginning Saturday when the Lady Redskins collide with GTC power Reese in a regional semi-final game at Reese. The Rockets swept a pair of games from Sandusky earlier in the season. Game time is set for 10 a.m. with the finals set for 2 p.m.
Last week, in their opening game with league rival Marlette, Sandusky used the long ball to roll to a 11-4 win.
Senior Keegan Nelson clubbed her first career home run ever, a three run shot, to stake her team to the early lead and in the sixth inning, sophomore Katelyn Patterson put the finishing touches on the win with a dramatic grand slam home run.
“It was great too see Keegan get hers,” Franzel said. “We were all pretty excited. Katelyn has been doing that all season long (home runs). She crushed that in to the teeth of a stiff wind. We decided to play a little small ball inbetween, to mix things up a bit. The girls did a great job of hitting and running the bases.”
With the hitting machine cranked up, Franzel turned loose his pitching acer and Marlette had no answer. Senior Emily Cowley had an outstanding day, scattering four hits and striking out eight in the opener and came back with another stellar performance in the title game, allowing just three hits while striking out nine.
“Emily has done a great job for us all season,” said the proud coach. “She throws the ball hard, is accurate and makes it tough on hitters to catch up with her pitches. She has to be one of the best around. She certainly is one of the reasons we’ve had the successes we have had.”
Caroline Ross (double) led the hit parade for Sandusky in game one, going four for four, Keegan Nelson and Patterson were both three for four with home runs and Haley Nelson picked up two hits.
In the championship game, the Lady Redskins scored early and rode the pitching of Cowley to a 3-1 victory over Cass City.
Keegan Nelson drew a walk in the second inning, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Madysen Jansen and scored on a RBI single by her sister, Haley Nelson. Keri Molloy and Ross had the other RBI singles for the winners. Haley Nelson topped the Sandusky hit charts, going three for three with a triple and Jenna Franzel added a single and double.