The Chelsea softball team saw its season end at the hands of third-ranked Eaton Rapids in the D2 Regional Finals Saturday, June 8.
Eaton Rapids All-State pitcher Grace Kehto was too much for the Bulldogs as the Greyhounds came out on top 5-2 in the Finals to send the Bulldogs home with a 32-7 overall record on the season.
Kehto struck out 13 Bulldog and had a perfect game going into the sixth before Kiersten Anstead reach on a pop single to right field.
The Greyhounds took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two0run homer that hit the top of the right field fence and bounced over.
They added another run in the second after two were out with a walk and two singles to make it 3-0.
Lehto dominated, keeping the Bulldogs in check until Anstead’s single in the sixth.
A bit of controversy happened after the single. Hayley Townsend attempted to sacrifice bunt and it appeared the first baseman dove and touched the ball. The ball then bounced and hit Townsend as she was running to first base. The umpires originally called Townsend out for interference, then they conversed and called her safe at first which would have put two runners on. The Eaton Rapids coach came out and argued and after another umpire conversation, they decided to call the ball foul. Townsend then struck out for the second out of the inning. Sydnee Liedel then doubled in a run, which is where Townsend not being on first base cost the Bulldogs as she would have scored on the double to cut the lead to one. But she was not on first and Allison Hale then singled to drive in Hale, making the score 3-2, not tied.
Eaton Rapids responded with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth and Lehto put the Dawgs down in order in the seventh to end the game.
The Bulldogs reached the finals by blanking Fowlerville 4-0 behind the dominating pitching performance by Maddie Kemp.
Kemp struck out eight and allowed just four hits, three of which were in the final inning when the Gladiators loaded the bases but could not score.
The game was scoreless in the third when Liedel and Hale each reached on infield singles. After a pop out, Peighton Root ripped a run-scoring double to drive in Liedel and Kemp followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0 after three.
Chelsea got an insurance run with two out singles by Maddie Vasquez, Root, and Kemp to make it 4-0 after five.
Liedel made the defensive play of the day I the sixth when she chased down a deep drive to center and leaping high above her head to make a running catch of the long ball for the third out of the inning.
After two were out in the seventh, Fowlerville kicked up its heals with three straight singles and had the tying run at the plate, but Kemp got a strikeout to end the game to send the Bulldogs to the finals.
Kemp not only got the win on the mound, but she also led the offense with two hits and three RBI. Root added a hit and RBI, while Liedel, Hale, Vasquez, and Stephanie Dark each had one.
Pictures by Mike Williamson