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Johannesburg-Lewiston Softball Dethrones Hillman for District Crown

HILLMAN, MI- It was one of those matchups that was circled long before they stepped on the field. When the district pairings were released it would have been a shock to everyone if Hillman and Johannesburg-Lewiston did not meet in the district final.

Each team did what they had to do to get there. Hillman got the day started with a 12-0 win over Atlanta. Gretchen Weiland led the way as she threw 5 five shutout innings and struck out 13 batters. She gave up just one hit. Nicole Barbeau led the way at the plate with 5 RBI’s.  The final three came on a three run home run which triggered the mercy rule and ended the game.

The Cardinals would take on Wolverine in their semi final and much like the Tigers they had no problem in the semi-finals. Chloe Ferguson got the ball on the mound and retired all nine batters she faced over three innings. At the plate Cassie Tallman led the way with two hits and drove in three.  The Cardinals capitalized on 10 errors made by Wolverine and cruised to a 15-0 victory.

The championship game saw arguably the two best pitchers in the area face off. Jo-Burg’s Jayden Marlatt and Hillman’s Nicole Barbeau. The Cardinals wasted no time getting to the Hillman ace as after an error, Marlatt smoked a single scoring Gloria House. A few batters later a Hillman error extended the lead to three. The Cardinals would score seven times in the first.

Marlatt would shut the Hillman offense down for the first three innings as she pitched up five strikeouts along the way. The game remained 7-0 until the fourth. Weiland relieved Barbeau and after two shutout innings the Cardinals got to her as Marlatt hooked one around the left field foul pole for a two run home run and the Cardinals led 9-0.  The Tigers would get on the board in the fourth as Weiland and Saige Flaugher reached base and would both score on an error. The two unearned runs would be the only runs the Tigers could muster.

The Cardinals would tack on four more runs in the sixth and end the game via the mercy rule, winning the district with a 13-2 win over the Tigers.  Marlatt went the distance for the Cardinals striking out eight.

For Hillman the season ends with a 27-8 record. With both Barbeau and Weiland returning, the Tigers should be right back in this spot a year from now as they look to reclaim the district.

For the Cardinals, who now stand at 27-3-1 the path goes on. They move on to the regionals and will face Inland Lakes.  They will be heading to the Upper Peninsula to Rudyard who will host.