Chelsea Softball Claims First Regional Title Since 2004
The last time a Chelsea softball team won a Regional title most of the 2021 squad was not born yet.
The Bulldogs last won a Regional title in 2004, but the 17-year drought came to an end when Chelsea beat New Boston Huron 12-5 to claim the championship at Flat Rock Saturday afternoon.
Chelsea took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Maggie Olaveson launched two-run home to left, but Huron answered with two in the bottom of the first to tie it at 2-2.
Olaveson then gave the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead when she lined a shot over the right field fence in the third.
The Bulldogs made it 5-2 in the fifth on a RBI-single by Bekah Zachrich. Chelsea had the bases loaded with one out and looked to score more, but the Huron shortstop made an amazing diving catch of a line shot by Andi Evers to save at least two runs. The shortstop then made another great play of a bouncer up the middle to get a force out to end the threat.
Chelsea hurt themselves in the bottom of the fifth when two Bulldog errors put runners on and Huron made them pay with a three-run homer to tie the game at 5-5.
Pinch hitter Madison Kay led off the sixth with single and moved to second on an error by the right fielder. Emily McCalla laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Kay to third and she would score when the catcher tried to pick her off third and threw the ball away to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead.
The Bulldogs would blow the game open with six runs in the top of the seventh.
Jenna Ouellette singled to open the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. She scored on a single by Zachrich to make it 7-5. Huron intentionally walked Olaveson for the second straight time and Evers followed with a single to load the bases. A wild pitch scored a run and Kay followed with a two-run triple to make it 10-5. Kay scored on an error and Purdy drove her home with a single to make it 12-5.
Emilee Underwood set Huron down in order in the seventh and the Bulldogs rushed the field to celebrate the regional title.
Olaveson finished with her two homeruns and four RBI to lead the Bulldogs offense. Zachrich and Kay each had two hits and two RBI and Purdy two hits and an RBI. Ouellette and Evers each had a hit and run scored and Megan McCalla one hit.
Underwood struck out seven for the win.
The Bulldogs reached the finals by beating Flat Rock 8-5 in the semifinals.
Chelsea jumped out to a 5-0 lead on an RBI single by Zoey Monica and after an infield hit by Purdy, Ouellette smacked a grand slam over the centerfield fence in the second.
Flat Rock started chipping away at the Bulldogs lead with three in the fourth and tied it with two in the fifth.
Chelsea would retake the lead in the sixth when Monica reached on an infield single and the shortstop threw wild to first allowing Megan McCalla to score.
The Bulldogs would get some insurance when Olavesen smacked a no-doubter way over the right field fence for a two-run shot to give Chelsea an 8-5 lead.
The home run by Olaveson was followed by two more in her first two at bats in the championship game for three straight. She would be walked intentionally her next two times up.
A single and an error put two runners on and brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Underwood got a flyout to center and a strikeout to end the game.
Ouellette finished with three hits and four RBI, while Olaveson and Monica had two hits and two RBI each. Purdy and Nicole Roeser each had a hit and run scored, while Underwood and Kay each had one hit.
Underwood struck out nine for the win for Chelsea.
Chelsea (36-4) advances to the state quarterfinals Tuesday where they will face Detroit Country Day (22-8) at 1:00 PM in Novi.