Connect with us


Timely hitting, Gabby Quijas’ pitching power Hart to fourth straight district softball title

Pirates turn back two WMC Rivers Division opponents.

Photos courtesy of Rich Copenhaver

A double dose of Gabby Quijas in the pitcher’s circle led to a fourth straight district title for Hart’s softball team Saturday in Manistee.

Quijas earned pitching wins in both games as Hart defeated Shelby in the semifinals (14-0) and Mason County Central in the finals (7-3) in a Division 3 district tournament.

Hart (26-13) advances to Saturday’s regional at Kingsley, where the Pirates face familiar foe LeRoy Pine River in a noon semifinal. Last week, Hart lost a pair of games to Pine River, 10-8 and 14-2. Pine River won its district with a 7-0 victory over Manton. In the 10 a.m. regional semifinal at Kingsley, Traverse City St. Francis and Evart square off. The regional final is slated for 2 p.m.

“Both games were a well-rounded effort for us,” Hart coach Dean DeVries said about Saturday’s district victories over the West Michigan Conference Rivers Division foes. “We pitched really well in the circle, had some timely hits, and played much better defense from earlier in the week.

“Now, we look ahead to regionals at Kingsley at noon against an opponent we saw just a few days ago in Pine River. We are excited for another opportunity to grow and get better.”

Against Shelby, Quijas carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before Shelby broke it up with a single leading off. Quijas still faced the minimum number of batters as the Pirates turned a 5-4-3 double play after the Shelby hit. Quijas struck out four batters.

Hart scored four runs in the second inning, two in the second, six in the third, and two in the fourth. Gabby Schmieding went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored to pace the Pirates offensively. Abby Hicks doubled for Hart, which drew 12 walks in the game.

In the final against MCC, Quijas scattered seven hits and allowed three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts and no walks in a complete-game effort.

Hart scored three runs in the second inning and three in the sixth to build its lead. Hicks hit her seventh home run of the season to make it 4-0 in the third inning. MCC answered with solo homers by Ellie Bendele and Wren Nelson in the fifth to pull within 4-2, but Hart responded with a three-run sixth for some breathing room.

Hicks and Makenna Carrier had two hits apiece to lead Hart, with Carrier racking up a double and three RBIs.

“This was a total team effort,” DeVries said about his squad, which totaled 10 hits.

Nelson went 3-for-3 for MCC in the district final against Hart. Aubrey Chye doubled, while Bendele’s home run was the first of her career.

Nelson took the pitching loss for the Spartans, allowing six earned runs, striking out four, and walking three.

“It’s frustrating getting so close with such a great group of players not be able to make it to the finish line,” MCC coach Jon Blake said. “Our record may not show it, but this team had a lot of talent. We are losing six seniors, five of them starters.

“I’m so proud of the effort these seniors and the rest of this team had today. They came to play. We just hit to ball right at the defense too many times and made it too easy for Hart. Seventeen of the 21 outs of the game were put-outs. These ladies hit the ball all day, but right at someone. I can’t be more pleased with their play. Congratulations to Hart and good luck in regionals.”

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Softball