GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets and Grand Rapids West Catholic Falcons began a three-game series on Tuesday that would help decide the outcome of the O-K Bronze.
After three games, it was the Falcons who clinched at least a share of the league title after taking two-of-three games from the Yellow Jackets, including Wednesday’s 6-3 win at Greenville.
“We needed to sweep Greenville to win the conference outright, but we lost game two yesterday (Tuesday),” Falcons coach Glenn Ridder said. “I only have one senior starter and one junior. Basically, we have a junior varsity team out there.”
With the score tied 3-3 after six innings, the Falcons started the seventh inning with three consecutive hits. West Catholic’s Riley Ostapowicz singled in what turned out to be the game-winning run. West Catholic scored twice more in the inning on a wild pitch and a single by Kelsey Feutz for a three run advantage.
“It’s disappointing. We didn’t play our best by far,” Hallock said. “We had multiple errors and mental errors that didn’t go in the error column. We still made some great plays and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
The win moved West Catholic to 12-3 in the league (15-10 overall). Greenville finished 10-5 in the league (11-7 overall). West Catholic needs Northview to lose one of its next three games against Cedar Springs to clinch the league title outright.
Those two teams played a doubleheader on Wednesday, but the scores were unavailable this morning.
“These girls wanted this game so bad,” Ridder said. “That was one of our goals this year, winning conference. They had it in their own hands and they felt they let it slip away yesterday (Tuesday).”
West Catholic started the scoring with two runs in the top half of the second. Freshman Brooke Wila tripled in two runs with a shot to right centerfield.
The Falcons took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning when Catherine Coddington scored from third on a wild throw to the plate from centerfield. Greenville committed three errors in the inning and seven in the game.
“We got off to a good start. We like to run and we ran, but a couple of times we ran ourselves out of an inning,” Ridder said. “The girls battled back and kept fighting. This is a good group of girls and they are a young team.”
The Yellow Jackets got their offense going in the fifth inning. Sarah Newhouse led the inning off with a single, while Devon Tate walked. With two outs, Beth Gantz singled in two runs to pull Greenville within one run.
Nikota Howe led the sixth inning off with a walk. She stole second base with a nice slide to avoid the tag. Three batters later, Newhouse singled in Howe to tie the game.
“We finally put some good at-bats together,” Hallock said. “I thought Sarah’s (Newhouse) hit was huge for us. I thought when we tied it up we had a tremendous opportunity. They (West Catholic) just made a few plays in the seventh.”
Lexii Canterbury took the loss for Greenville. She pitched seven innings, allowing six runs, four earned, 10 hits with six strikeouts.
Emily Kimball earned the win for West Catholic in seven innings. She allowed fives hits and three runs, all earned, with seven strikeouts.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Hallock said. “From where we’ve been a couple of years ago to having a chance to play for a conference championship, we haven’t been there and we played a little tight like we haven’t been there. Now we have and hopefully we can build on that.”
Newhouse finished with three hits and Gantz two hits.
Greenville will play at Carson City-Crystal on Friday.