UNIVERSITY CENTER — Vestaburg’s softball team will be going to the Division 4 semifinals.
The sixth-ranked Wolverines won the quarterfinal game at Saginaw Valley State University Tuesday by beating second-ranked Ubly 4-2.
“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it,” Vestaburg coach Dan Rons said. “It’s been 10 years we’ve been looking to get there.”
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So was Jannelle Rons, the winning pitcher.
“Wow,” she said. “It’s definitely a dream that I’ve been wanting to live.”
Vestaburg (29-8), ranked sixth in the state in Division 4, according to the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association, used the longball to beat the Bearcats. Jannelle Rons hit a solo home run in the first inning to put the Wolverines on the board.
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“We have a tendency to look for that first ball,” Dan Rons said. “They love to hit the longball.”
Jannelle Rons didn’t want to say what kind of pitch she hit out to straightaway center field.
“It was a perfect pitch for me,” she said. “It was my dream pitch, it was gone and I was happy.”
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Two innings later catcher Karrigan Gates hit a two-run shot that cleared the SVSU scoreboard in centerfield. That made the score 4-0 after 2 ½ innings.
“It looked like a twin” of Jannelle Rons’ homer, Dan Rons said. “I don’t know if its come down yet.”
Janelle Rons noted how close she and Gates have become.
“Karrigan, her hitting has been improved since her freshman year,” she said. “We always mess around, battle, see who can do this many triples and I love her.”
The Bearcats finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth, using two hits, a passed ball and two errors to score their runs.
“I told the team (Vestaburg Monday), this team (Ubly) will make you throw the ball around,” Dan Rons said. “They (Ubly) want to put the ball in play and make you make mistakes. We bought into it for one inning and the coaching staff was a little disappointed. I finally caught the catcher (Gates) and I told her, ‘You know what? This is the first inning of the game. I want you to change your attitude, your whole emotion and she came back with a smile the rest of the game.”
Both teams settled down and neither got a runner past first base the rest of the game.
Jannelle Rons went the distance and struck out seven in pitching a three-hitter. No Vestaburg player had more than one hit out of the six they had.
The losing pitcher was Michaela Guza, who also threw a complete game. She struck out five and walked three in the loss.
Janelle Rons is very excited to go to the state semifinals.
“We are together, we are collected, we are Vestaburg,” she said. “It’s amazing to have everyone on the field know they are going to get that play. We worked so hard for this.”
The Wolverines will play at MSU’s Secchia Stadium at 3 p.m. Friday against defending Division 4 state champion Kalamazoo Christian, who shut out Morenci 4-0 at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
Division 1 — Thursday
Portage Central vs. Utica Ford, 10 a.m.
Romeo vs. Bay City Western, noon
Division 2 — Thursday
Wayland Union vs. Livonia Ladywood, 3 p.m.
Croswell-Lexington vs. Stevensville Lakeshore, 5 p.m.
Division 3 — Friday
Gladstone vs. Coloma, 10 a.m.
Unionville-Sebewaing vs. Clinton, noon
Division 4 — Friday
Vestaburg vs. Kalamazoo Christian, 3 p.m.
Fowler vs. Rogers City, 5 p.m.
Division 1, 11:30 a.m.
Division 2, 9 a.m.
Division 3, 5 p.m.
Division 4, 2:30 p.m.
Note: Division 4 semifinals and finals will take place at Michigan State University in East Lansing on Thursday and Friday. The state finals are Saturday.