Central Montcalm prepares tough task at regionals

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 10:03 am on Friday, June 07, 2013

Central Montcalm’s Makayla Studley tags Hesperia’s Holly Whelan at second base during the team’s game May 14.

STANTON — Central Montcalm’s softball team has been preparing for the Division 3 regional Saturday at Holton.

“We had a good practice Monday,” said coach Bruce Nicholson. “We took (Tuesday) off but we had a scrimmage (Wednesday) with Ithaca who is also going to regionals. (Thursday) we went to Belding to scrimmage them and Northview.”

Nicholson is hoping that will help the Green Hornets face Manistee in the first game of the Holton regional tournament.

But the Chippewas are a different team than Central faced in the districts. Manistee is 27-3 overall and has won its last 14 games. However, the Chippewas  are not ranked in the top 10 in Division 3 by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.

“We know they have a real good record,” Nicholson said. “They are pretty experienced team. Their shortstop (Megan VanderWeele) is going on to play junior college ball. They have a left-handed pitcher (Haley Maser) we expect to see. She’s around the plate, not overpowering, but she has a pretty good changeup and a drop curve we’ve heard about. They have a senior first baseman (Destiny Blake) that can hit the ball well.”

Nicholson said there are some things that his girls will have to do to beat the Chippewas.

“We’re going to have to hit more consistently with runners on base and two out hitting,” Nicholson said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work putting the ball in play. We know we have to be aggressive early in the cot so that if we get a fastball we can hit it and not get behind. We need to get that two-out RBI hit.”

Central Montcalm’s Paige Switzer pitches during a game against Hesperia May 14.

The Green Hornets are fairly young, so that may be a factor in the game. But Nicholson doesn’t believe it.

“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “They’re pretty focused, they’re pretty driven. They’re quite relaxed. Some of them have never been there so they’re relaxed. I think it’s going to be a very winnable game. I think going (Wednesday night) and (Thursday night) we’re getting some game situations.”

Central Montcalm defeated Lakeview 3-2, White Cloud 6-3 and Morley Stanwood 6-5 in the district final.

Host Manistee defeated Shelby 7-6, Montague 10-1 and Mason County Central in the district finals 8-0.

The winner of the Central/Manistee game will face the winner of Holton and LeRoy Pine River in the regional championship. Hornets/Chippewas is at 10 a.m., Red Devils/Bucks is at noon and the title game is at 2 p.m.

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