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Shorthanded Rangers fall in 11 innings in the finals of Burr Oak Tournament – Leader Publications

Shorthanded Rangers fall in 11 innings in the Burr Oak Tournament final

Published on Monday, May 6, 2024 at 6:49 PM

BURR OAK — The Cassopolis girls softball team battled Burr Oak to the wire before falling 9-8 in the finals of the Bobcats’ Tournament Saturday.

Originally, four teams were scheduled to participate in the double-elimination tournament. However, White Pigeon chose not to participate due to a conflict with Prom activities.

DeShawn Curtis’ Rangers started the day with a 17-0 win over North Adams-Jerome before losing a 6-2 decision to Burr Oak in their second match. Burr Oak eliminated North Adams after handing the Rams a 15-0 setback.

Curtis was encouraged by his team’s performance on a day when Rangers played shorthanded with just nine players.

“Of course we wanted to win this tournament, but the biggest goal today was to leave here a better team than when we arrived. I think we accomplished that,” Curtis said. “I thought we did a great job hitting the ball at the end of the second game and throughout the third game.”

Curtis was also very pleased with the pitching performance of Mackenzie Boyer, who went the distance in all three games for Cassopolis, now 9-6 overall.

Boyer posted 10 strikeouts with just one walk while yielding 19 hits in the finale against Burr Oak. Seven of the nine runs she allowed were earned.

“Mackenzie had a phenomenal pitching day for us. I think she only took three walks all day. I am very proud of the control and poise she showed,” Curtis said.

Burr Oak (16-3) scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh. Elaine Holtom hit an RBI single that scored Makaila Whittington.

Using the international tiebreaker rule, Whittington started the inning at second base and moved to third base on Payten Hudson’s single.

Linda Ultz reached first base on a bunt-single. Holtom then came through with the winning hit for the Bobcats.

Root struck out 15 in the championship win for Burr Oak.

Burr Oak took a 1-0 lead after one frame on Root’s RBI double, which scored Braylyn Hernandez.

The Bobcats scored twice in the third to make it 3-0. Holtom singled and later scored after Inez Ultz was hit by a pitcher with the bases loaded. Ultz eventually scored on a throwing error by the Rangers.

Cassopolis scored three in the fifth, making it 3-3. Boyer’s RBI triple plated Sienna Young. Boyer scored on Ella Smith’s RBI single. Atyanna Alford’s double drive drove home Smith.

Boyer retired the first three Burr Oak batters in the bottom half of the frame.

Cassopolis extended its lead to 6-3 with three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Ryley Bowsher’s double-plated Jordin Heiman and Boyer’s two-run double brought home Young and Bowsher.

Burr Oak rallied with a run in the bottom of the sixth and two in the seventh to force extra innings. Lilky Holtom’s double scored Inez Ultz in the sixth. The Bobcats’ Elaine Holtom scored on an error in the seventh and Root’s RBI single plated Hernandez.

Cheyenne Redmond scored on a Burr Oak error in left field, giving the Rangers a 7-6 lead after the top of the eighth.

Burr Oak made it 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth after Lillky Holtom came around to score on Hudson’s fielder’s choice.

Cassopolis took an 8-7 lead in the top of the ninth inning when Redmond doubled and scored on a throwing error.

Burr Oak answered with a run in the bottom of the ninth, tying the game at 8-8. Elaine Holtom of the Bobcats initially scored on a throwing error by Cassopolis.

In the win over North Adams-Jerome, Cassopolis scored twelve runs in the first inning and added the final five runs in the second inning. The game was called after three innings due to the 15-run mercy rule.

Boyer struck out four, walked one and didn’t allow a hit in the win. Janayla Franklin and Leaysheneau Willis all hit doubles for the Rangers, while Bowsher had three hits and one RBI. Franklin, Willis and Young all finished with two hits each.

In the first game against Burr Oak, Cassopolis saw the home team take a 6-0 lead after four innings.

Cassopolis scored both runs in the top of the fifth inning.

Burr Oak’s Root took out Cassopolis in the final two frames for the win. Root was the winning pitcher with 11 strikeouts.

Boyer fanned four Burr Oak batters in the loss.

Root and Hernandez both tripled in that game for Cassopolis. Bowsher had two hits and two RBI for the Lady Rangers.

Curtis likes the position his Lady Rangers are in as they look for a solid finish in the Lakeland Conference while building momentum for the postseason.

“At a small school like ours, we deal with a lot of girls who are dual-sport athletes, but we are getting better and building toward the tournament in June,” Curtis said.

“I’m just impressed with how we got here today and still put it all together with just nine players. We had girls away participating in travel volleyball tournaments, at Future Farmer’s of America and in the Miss Cassopolis Pageant,” Curtis added.