By Ben Murphy
It took two road wins at Farwell and a little help from Clare, but for the first time in school history, the Harrison Lady Hornet softball team can call themselves Jack Pine Conference champions.
“I am so happy for the girls, they put in a lot of work over the past couple of seasons, from playing summer ball to hitting all winter to lifting weights,” Harrison head coach Matthew Cooper said. “No one deserves it more than they do. The girls all had important roles this season and each player executed their role and did all they could do to help the team win each game we played and that is what it takes to have a successful season.”
When the night was over and it was learned that Clare had swept co-JPC leading Meridian, the championship belonged completely to the Hornets.
The Hornets picked up a narrow 4-2 win in game one of the JPC doubleheader, getting a three run third inning to take a 4-0 lead at that point.
In the third and batting with one out, Emily Gillespie roped a double and Savannah Duggan followed by getting hit by a pitch.
After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Erica Heckman and Katelyn Sherrick had back-to-back walks to score Gillespie, making it 2-0.
Haley Sulla stepped up next, roping a two-run single to put the Hornets up 4-0.
That would be all the offense Harrison needed, as Farwell scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Allison Lipovsky was the winning pitcher for Harrison, pitching all seven innings, giving up two unearned runs on four hits, 11 strikeouts and zero walks.
Kate Saupe suffered the loss for Farwell, pitching seven innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, four strikeouts and four walks.
Sulla, Gillespie, Heckman and Brandi Powell had hits for Harrison, with Alysha Luster, Emily Ruckle, Saupe all had singles, with Luster scoring both Farwell runs and Saupe adding an RBI.
Game two Harrison had an easier time, winning 9-1 to secure at least a conference championship.
Lipovsky earned another win in the second game, pitching seven innings and giving up one earned run on one hit, with nine strikeouts and one walk.
“Steve Klinge does a great job with the Farwell team, he’s a class act and they will be a force in the league the next couple of seasons,” Cooper said.
Saupe suffered the loss for Farwell, pitching two and 1/3, giving up four hits an striking out two batters. Caron White also pitched, allowing six hits in three 2/3 innings.
Taylor Bondie, Lipovsky, Hillary Brewer and Gillespie all had two hits in the game, with Lipovsky and Sulla both adding one hit apiece.
Seiter had the only hit for Farwell.
“Harrison is a good team and we knew we were going to have to play perfect in order to beat them,” Klinge said. “They have a dominant pitcher and we just couldn’t put the ball in play like we needed to.”
Harrison (22-3 overall, 12-2 JPC) and Farwell both open up play in the Standish-Sterling district next week.