Whiteford splits with SMCC in battle of state-ranked powerhouses

MONROE TOWNSHIP — Whiteford’s softball team nearly pulled off a sweep of Division 3 powerhouse Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Saturday but settled for a split with the third-ranked Kestrels.

Whiteford beat SMCC 4-0 in the opener as Unity Nelson struck out 16 batters and scattered three hits in a seven-inning shutout.

The second game came down to the final at-bat and SMCC won it with a walk-off hit.

“That was a great split for us today against a very good SMCC team,” Whiteford coach Matt VanBrandt said. “They put the ball in play against us and we learned some important defensive lessons today.”

Aly VanBrandt had three hits of Whiteford’s five hits and scored two runs in the opener while Berlynn Keller had two RBIs.

Karlei Conard had a two-run single in the second game and had two hits for the game.

SMCC won the second game despite Keller striking out 12. The Kestrels won it in the bottom of the seventh with a hit with two outs and two runners in scoring position to overcome a 5-4 deficit. The hit came on a 2-2 count with two outs.

“Their pitchers had some of the best spin and speed we have seen all season,” VanBrandt said. “Nelson and Keller were both great today and all our coaches are proud of the entire group.  It was an excellent day of competition and a lot of fun to be put in pressure situations both games.”

Whiteford plays Blissfield Monday and Summerfield Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of Angie Link. For additional photos, visit the Ottawa Lake Whiteford Softball Facebook page.

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