Bobcats advance to semifinal with 13-0 victory over Kalamazoo Christian

By DOUG DONNELLY

Monroe News

KALAMAZOO — Unity Nelson struck out nine batters in a five-inning no-hitter Tuesday as Whiteford blew past Kalamazoo Christian 13-0 to advance to Friday’s Division 4 semifinal.

“It’s amazing,” Nelson said. “We are going to be playing at Michigan State. I can’t explain it.”

Nelson’s pitching was spot-on once again. She hasn’t allowed a hit this post-season and the Bobcats haven’t allowed a run.

“I was pretty amped up,” Nelson said after striking out the final batter of the game on a strikeout. Kalamazoo Christian had a runner on third, who reached on Nelson’s only walk of the game.

The Bobcat hitters settled down the second time through the order, rallying for 10 of its 13 runs with two outs. The first eight Bobcats went down in order before Anna VanBrandt reached base on an error. Her sister, Aly VanBrandt smashed a line drive off the Kalamazoo Christian left fielder, scoring Anna. That opened the floodgates as the Bobcats scored five times in the third inning. Ambrelle Billau, Berlynn Keller, Patrina Marsh and Nelson all had hits in the frame.

“That’s typical of us, to settle down once we go through the order the first time,” second-year Bobcat coach Matt VanBrandt said. “Once we see the pitcher for the first time, I think they have more confidence.”

After the long break due to the Bobcats sending 10 hitters to the plate, Nelson allowed her first baserunner, who reached on an error. She was left at third as Nelson caught a pop-up, then struck out the next two batters.

Whiteford scored three times in the top of the fourth to go up 8-0. 

In the fifth, Whiteford again had two outs when the bats came alive, Keller and Marsh both had hits to the fence to score runs and a 13-0 Whiteford lead.

Nelson struck out the first Kalamazoo Christian batter in the bottom of the fifth, then walked a batter. The next hitter bunted, which Nelson field cleanly and retired the runner at first, then got the strikeout to end the game.

Keller said the Bobcats were a little nervous coming into the game, but once they got on the scoreboard, they settled down.

“I think having some runs under us definitely made us more confident at what we were swinging at,” she said. “A lot of us were nervous because this is the game where we played last year and got out. After we started hitting, it wasn’t so nerve wrecking.”

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