Chelsea Takes Two from Saline in SEC Softball Showdown
The battle between state-ranked and SEC White and Red conference leaders between Chelsea and Saline went the way of the Bulldogs as Chelsea swept a pair of games from the Hornets to improve to 11-0 in the White.
Both teams went into the match-up with two game leads in their divisions, but it was Chelsea that keeps its two-game lead over Pinckney, while the Hornets lead over Ypsilanti Lincoln drops to one game in the Red.
Two of the top pitchers in the state faced off in the opener with the Bulldogs Emilee Underwood and the Hornets Karli Dorr and hits were at a premium.
The game was scoreless through 2 1/2 innings when Saline broke through in the third. Sydney Hastings singled with one out and with two outs, Clara Cherry ripped an infield single to put two runners on. The Hornets took advantage of a Bulldog error to score Hastings for a 1-0 lead heading to the fourth.
Chelsea got some help in the top of the fourth with a Saline error and a walk put the first two runners on. Madison Kay sacrificed the runners over, but Dorr got a strikeout for the second out. Underwood came to the plate and helped her own cause by ripping a single to center to plate two runs and give Chelsea a 2-1 lead.
The bottom of the fifth saw Hastings lead off for a single. A sacrifice bunt moved her to second and Chelsea intentionally walked Cherry to put two runners on. Underwood got a strikeout for the second out, but a walk loaded the bases. Underwood would get out the jam with another strikeout to keep it 2-1 heading to the sixth.
Jenna Ouellette led off the Bulldogs sixth with a single and stole second. She moved to third on a sacrifice fly and freshman Kaydee Absher drove her home with a two-out single for a 3-1 Chelsea lead. A Saline error extended the Bulldogs inning and Anna Reisner made them pay with a two-run singles to push the Chelsea lead to 5-1.
Hastings led off the bottom the seventh with a double, her third hit of the game, but Underwood would slam the door with a pair of strikeouts and a pop-out to give the Bulldogs the win in the all-important first game.
In crossover doubleheaders between the SEC Red and White, the first game of the doubleheader counts toward the league standings. The second game does not count toward the standings, just the teams overall records.
Underwood struck out 13 batters and allowed six hits for the win and had the big single and two rbi at the plate for Chelsea.
Absher had two hits and one rbi, while Reisner had a hit and two rbi, and Ouellette a hit and two runs scored.
Hastings went 3-3 with a run scored to lead Saline. Cherry, Leah Holloway, and Izzy Deveau had one hit each.
While it didn't mean anything in the league standings, the second game was still a game that both teams wanted to win with the state tournament just a couple of weeks away.
Chelsea took an early lead thanks to a two-out Saine error that gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the first.
Saline bounced back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first due to a pair of Chelsea errors and a walk to take a 2-1 lead after one.
The Hornets loaded the bases in the third, but the Bulldogs turned a line drive into a double play to end the inning and keep it 2-1 Saline.
Kay led off the fourth with a tiple and scored on a sac-fly by Absher to tie the game at 2-2. Later in the inning Reisner doubled with two outs and scored on a rbi-single from Tori Parisho to give Chelsea a 3-2 lead.
The top of the seventh saw Samantha Dark single to lead things off and a Saline error on a sac-bunt moved her to second. Dark then stole third and scored on a Ouellette sac-fly to extend the lead to 4-2.
Hastings led off the seventh with a double for Saline. Underwood came in to pitch in relief and struck out the first batter. Underwood then got a line shot to third and the Bulldogs doubled off Hastings at second to end the game with a double play.
Parisho earned the win for Chelsea with 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out three. Underwood earned the save with one strikeout.
Dark led the Chelsea offense with two hits and a run scored. Absher, Parisho, and Ouellette each had a hit and rbi.
Hastings led Saline with two hits and a run scored. She finished with five of Saline's 10 hits in the doubleheader.
Kaleigh McClelland had a hit and rbi, and Cherry one hit for the Hornets.
Izzy Deveau had a strong game on the mound, allowing eight hits and two earned runs, while striking out 10.
Chelsea improved to 16-1 overall, while Saline fell to 22-5 overall and 12-1 in the SEC Red.
Photos by Mike Williamson