.Grant goes extra innings twice in dramatic tourney sweep.
Grant 7 Whitehall 5
The Tiger softball team brought home a District title Saturday.
But it didn’t come easy.
In a semi-final matchup with tournament host Whitehall the game went far into overtime.
So far, in fact, that the Vikes and Tigers finished ten innings still knotted in a tie game meaning, per MHSAA tournament rules, the international tie breaker was brought into play. This means each team would begin with a player on second base and no outs.
Grant began the inning with Madison Thompson on second base. A Makayla Zerlaut sac bunt moved Thompson to third. Emma Bradley then bunted to the pitcher who checked the runner at third but failed to make the play at first giving the Tigers runners at the corners with one out. Laney Shears looped a single to right scoring Thompson and Grace Scott followed with a sac bunt that put runners at second and third. Jaycee Hance then came through with a 2 out single plating both runners and giving the Tigers a 3 run edge in the game.
But then came the Vikings turn at the plate as Emma Bliss returned to the slab
With Evelyn Darke on second, a passed ball moved her to 3rd. A walk gave the hosts 2 on base with nobody out. Hailey Carnes popped out then a Fagen ground out to first sent home a run and Whitehall was within 2 with the tying run at the plate.
Onnyka Dempsey sent a fly ball to right that Allie Nobe tucked into her glove for the third out and a Tiger win.
"It was an incredibly crazy game,” said Head Coach Shelley Hance. “I cannot remember if I have ever coached a team into 11 innings in my 31 years. The emotions throughout the campus were exhilarating. Our entire team was supporting each other in every facet of the game. It was a dogfight and I am so proud!"
Bliss struck out 6 and earned the win. Jayci Hance led the Tigers going 4 for 6 with 3 RBI and one run. Jaycee Rider was 3 for 6 with one run and Taylee Self was 1 for 4 crushing a bases loaded triple to collect 3 RBI’s.
Grant 3 Ludington 2
Next up was the final against Ludington who had dispatched Tri County 15-0 in their semi final game. Oriole ace Lilli Goodrich toed the slab and despite sending 15 Tiger players back to the dugout on strikes the teams battled to a tie after 7 giving Grant their second overtime game of the day.
Here’s Coach Hance’s take on the final frame:
“Bottom of the 8th, Goodrich earned two more strikeouts, Allie Noble reached first base on an error by the second baseman, Allie steals second base, Jayci Hance fake bunts earning strike one but it allows Allie to steal third. Jayci Hance puts the ball in play and reaches first base on an error by first baseman and scores Allie. Jaycee Rider comes to the plate, taking strike one, swings and misses on strike two, next pitch ball one, Jayci Hance steals second, the count is 1-2, Jaycee Rider swings - foul ball, and then it happens, Jaycee Rider delivers a base hit into left field scoring Jayci Hance from second base for the win!!
"I can't explain the overwhelming emotion!! The girls were crying, the coaches were crying, the fans were crying. This is why we tell kids to never give up. I am so happy for this group of girls, they have endured a lot this season and they deserve it. Their school and their community will be so proud of them! Go Tigers!!"
Bliss once again picked up the win for the Tigers
Grant earned a trip to the Gaylord Regional where they will face the Escanaba Eskimos on Saturday.
Game time is scheduled for 11:00am