Mendon vs. Unionville-Sebewaing – – MHSAA Division 4 State Softball Championship – – The Bleacher Denizen – – June 17, 2023 – – by Chuck Krafft
In this video from my You Tube Channel, I tell my readers that you never know where the Red River Valley will lead you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w03AhhNk1M8
One place it does not lead to is the softball field on the Michigan State University campus where the Michigan High School Athletic Association is hosting the state softball final game between Unionville-Sebewaing Area and Mendon. Fortunately, Kalamazoo Street does lead there, so the teams, the fans, reporters and sports bloggers like your ancient Bleacher Denizen can get to the game!!
The Patriots from Unionville-Sebewaing won the softball championship last year and have won eight MHSAA State Softball Titles in their history. This year, they have a 32-10 record and are ranked Number 1 in Division 4. As the district’s full name is “Unionville-Sebewaing Area”, I will probably frequently use the abbreviation, “USA” in this play by play article.
Here are some of USA’s top players. (Please note that these statistics from the MHSAA Preview do not include the semifinal game for either team.) Gabriella Crumm has a .420 batting average to go with 10 doubles and 30 RBI. Olivia Jubar is batting .486 with 10 doubles and 40 RBI. Rylie Betson is hitting .427 with 13 doubles and 34 RBI. Jenna Gremel has a .396 average with 32 RBI.
Natalie DeGroat is hitting .411 with 32 runs and 34 RBI. Hanna Wood has a .400 average with 32 RBI and Ella Neumann is batting .380 with 10 doubles.
The Mendon Hornets enter the game with a 35-5 record and are rated Number 2. They earned their spot in the semifinal in this quarterfinal game against Fowler that is written up in the blog. https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2023/06/14/fowler-vs-mendon-mhsaa-softball-quarterfinal-the-bleacher-denizen-june-13-2023-by-chuck-krafft/
Here are some of the leading Hornet players. Lauren Schabes has a .487 batting average with 40 RBI and 27 stolen bases. She also pitches and has a 15-1 won-lost record with a 1.12 EAR and 177 strikeouts in 99.6 innings pitched. Mattea Bingaman has a .433 average with 35 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Jadyn Samson is batting .434 with 31 RBI and 46 stolen bases.
Kaidee Gonser is hitting .406 with 12 doubles and 52 RBI. Rowan Allen is batting .419 with 24 stolen bases. Rowan Allen also pitches and has a 12-3 record with a 1.64 ERA. She has 143 strikeouts in 85 innings pitched.
Here are the starting lineups:
Mendon will be the home team and USA will bat first.
UNIONVILLE-SEBEWAING AREA PATRIOTS:
Rylie Betson p
Hanna Wood rf
Gabriella Crumm c
Olivia Jubar 1b
Jenna Gremel lf
Ella Neumann ss
Erin Jubar 3b
Kennedy Schember 2b
Lauren Green cf
Jadyn Samson ss
Lauren Schabes p
Kaidee Gonser c
Mattea Bingaman cf
Carlie Doehring 3b
Rowan Allen lf
Ally Butler 2b
Brielle Bailey dp
Abby Butler rf
Cienna Nightengale will play first base, but will not bat.
Rylie Betson singled to lead off the game for USA. Layla Bolzman came in as a courtesy runner and stole second base. Layla Bolzman took third base on a groundout to the shortstop. The next Patriot hitter was out on a soft fly to the shortstop. Layla Bolzman scored on a passed ball. Hornet Pitcher Lauren retired the next batter on a foul popup to the catcher to end the inning.
USA scored one run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Patriot Pitcher Rylie Benson struck out the Hornet leadoff batter in the bottom of the first inning. Lauren Schabes hit a solid single to right-center field. Gracie Schultz came in to run for Lauren Schabes. Gracie Schultz was out at second and Kaidee Gonser safe at first on a fielder’s choice grounder to the shortstop. Rylie Betson retired the next Hornet batter on a fly to second base to end the inning.
Jenna Gremel lined a single to left field to lead off the top of the second inning for the Patriots. The next USA hitter was out on a bunted fly to the pitcher. Jenna Gremel was out at second base and Erin Jubar safe at first on a fielder’s choice grounder to the shortstop. Hornet Pitcher Lauren Schabes struck out the next Patriot hitter to end the inning.
USA Pitcher Rylie Betson retired the three Mendon second inning batters on a strikeout, a fly to left field and another strikeout.
Hornet Shortstop Jadyn Samson ran into foul territory to record the first Patriot out of the top of the third inning. Lauren Schabes retired the next batter on a popup to the shortstop and got the third out when Rowan Allen went way back in left field to catch a drive off the bat of Hanna Wood.
Brielle Bailey drew a walk to lead off the top of the third inning for Mendon; she took second base on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Butler. Jadyn Samson blooped a single just out of the reach of the second baseman and Brielle Bailey advanced to third base. Lauren Schabes blasted a triple off the wall in right field to drive in Brielle Bailey and Jadyn Samson. Lauren Schabes scored on a sacrifice fly that the second baseman caught in short right field. Rylie Betson struck out the next Mendon batter to end the inning.
Mendon scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Gabriella Crumm lined a single to center field to lead off the top of the fourth inning for USA. Natalie DeGroat entered the game as a courtesy runner for Gabriella Crumm. Olivia Jubar singled to left field and Natalie DeGroat went to second base. Jenna Gremel belted a three run homer over the left field fence. She, Natalie DeGroat and Olivia Jubar all scored to give USA the lead.
Ella Neumann singled to left field. Erin Jubar beat out a squib to the catcher for a single as Ella Neumann advanced to second base. Lauren Schabes struck out the next Patriot batter. Ella Neumann took third base and Erin Jubar second on a sacrifice bunt by Lauren Green. Ella Neumann scored and Erin Jubar advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Lauren Schabes retired the next USA batter on a groundout to third base.
Unionville-Sebewaing Area scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to go on top by the score of 5-3.
Rylie Betson retired the Mendon leadoff batter in the bottom of the fourth inning on a fly to second base. Rowan Allen was hit by a pitch. Rylie Betson retired the next two batters on a popup to first base and a fly to deep center field by Brielle Bailey to end the inning.
Lauren Schabes retired the first two Patriot batters in the top of the fifth inning on fly balls to center field. Olivia Jubar lined a single to left field and went to second base when Jenna Gremel walked. USA made its third out of the inning on a fielder’s choice groundout to third base.
Abby Butler walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning for Mendon. Rylie Betson retired the next Hornet batter on a fly to left field. Lauren Schabes singled to move Abby Butler to second base. Kaidee Gonser was safe at first on a fielder’s choice grounder to the pitcher. Abby Butler was out at third and Lauren Schabes took second base.
Lauren Schabes advanced to third base on a throwing error. Kaidee Gonser stole second base. Rylie Betson got a big strikeout with runners at second and third base with two out to end the inning.
After five innings, USA still led by the 5-3 score.
Rowan Allen came in to pitch for Mendon and Lauren Schabes moved to left field.
Rowan Allen retired the three Patriot hitters in the top of the sixth inning on a groundout to shortstop, a bunt to the pitcher and a fly to right field.
Rylie Betson had a personal hand in all three Mendon outs in the bottom of the sixth inning as the leadoff batter popped up to her in the circle, the second hitter was out on a bouncer to her and the third batter struck out.
Rowan Allen had a personal hand in all three USA outs in the top of the seventh inning as the leadoff batter was out on a bouncer to the pitcher and the next two batters struck out.
Unionville-Sebewaing Area had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Brielle Bailey led off the top of the seventh inning by lining a single to left field and went to second base when Abby Butler was hit by a pitch. Brielle Bailey advanced to third base and Jadyn Samson was safe at first base on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base. Abby Butler was out at second base. Jadyn Samson stole second base to put the tying run at second base with one out.
Lauren Schabes walked to load the bases. The next Hornet batter was out on a soft liner to third base as Brielle Bailey alertly got back quickly to avoid a game-ending double play. Mattea Bingaman was hit by a pitch to force Brielle Bailey across the plate. Jadyn Samson moved to third base and Lauren Samson went to second.
With the bases loaded, two out and USA up by one run, Rylie Betson retired the next hitter on a soft fly to the pitcher to end the game.
Unionville-Sebewaing Area won this game by a 5-4 score to claim the Division 4 Softball Championship!!
Lauren Schabes had a triple, two singles and two RBI for Mendon. Jadyn Samson and Brielle Bailey each had a single. Kaidee Gonser and Mattea Bingaman each had one RBI.
Lauren Schabes pitched five innings and struck out two batters for Mendon. Rowan Allen pitched two innings and retired all six batters she faced while striking out two of them.
Jenna Gremel had a home run, a single and three RBI for Unionville-Sebewaing Area. Olivia Jubar had two singles. Rylie Betson, Gabriella Crumm, Ella Neumann and Erin Jubar each had one single.
Rylie Betson pitched the complete game for the Patriots. She gave up four runs and five hits and struck out six batters along the way.