Wayland claims another regional championship
There are certain occasions when longtime Wayland softball coach Cheri Ritz doesn’t mind having water thrown on her.
One of those times came on Saturday, June 11, when her Wildcats chalked up another regional championship thanks to a 7-3 win over Hudsonville Unity Christian in a Division 2 regional title game at Hope College.
Wayland upended Forest Hills Eastern 11-1 in the semifinals.
“It’s easy to tell that coach really enjoys this time of the year,” said Wayland sophomore Abby Merice, who was in the pitcher’s circle for both of the regional contests.
Merice limited Forest Hills Eastern to five hits and didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning.
“Once again Abby pitched well,” Ritz said.
Merice was equally strong against Unity Christian, scattering six hits in the complete-game effort.
“On paper Unity Christian was a much stronger team than Forest Hills’ Eastern,” pointed out Nicki Cardosa, the Wildcats’ assistant coach and a former Wayland standout on the diamond.
In the title game, Wayland broke open a scoreless tie with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. The Wildcats made it 6-0 with three more runs an inning later.
Wayland’s final run came in the top of the seventh, while Unity Christian plated two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Taylor Bell (2-for-3), Cait Bronson (2-for-4 with a double) and Merrice (2-for-4) led the Wildcats at the plate.
Catcher Leigha Morse, who last season tied a Michigan High School Athletic Association record with two home runs in Wayland’s Division 2 state finals win, homered for her only hit.
Against Forest Hills Eastern, Wayland scored five times in the top of the third, seven times in the fifth and four times in the sixth.
Sydney Urben went 3-for-3 with a double, while Bethany Teunissen was 3-for-4 with a double and a triple. Chanlyn Commons added a 2-for-4 effort.
For full story, pick up a copy of the June 16 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.