Sabers rally to sweep Portagers

Posted by Dylan Savela, Manistee News Advocate

ONEKAMA — Down 6-0 after two innings can be a daunting deficit to overcome, so Manistee Catholic Central just wanted to buckle down defensively and chip away during Monday’s nightcap with Onekama.

Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, MCC’s Haley Doyle knocked a three-run, one-out triple.

That’s a big chip.

“Once we finally got a couple base runners on, that kind of broke the ice,” Sabers coach Dave Lijewski said. “The momentum kind of swung after that.”

Doyle soon scored from third in the inning to bring a 6-6 game into the sixth, and her team plated the walk-off run on a wild pitch in the bottom half to complete the West Michigan D League sweep of the Portagers.

The Sabers won 5-0 in the opener before squeaking out the 7-6 victory in Game 2. “We didn’t give up,” Lijewski said. “In league play like this — and Onekama’s a tough, well-coached team — to come back really shows our girls’ heart.”

In the opener, the Sabers were paced by a solid shutout performance in the circle by senior Mimi Modjeski, who allowed just two hits with 11 strikeouts. “Mimi pitched an outstanding game, and had a no-hitter going through four,” said Lijewski. “She had a heck of a game and we were able to score a few runs behind her to give her more confidence as she went.”

The Sabers scored a run in the first inning, had a three-run third and plated one more in the fifth. Hannah Janicki knocked a double with an RBI in the contest to lead the Sabers while teammate Jordan Barnett also had a hit and an RBI.

Onekama’s Emily Bergren allowed just four hits in the circle in the opener while throwing three strikeouts

“We talked about getting our bats going on the first go-around,” Portagers coach Rob Johnson said of adjusting in the nightcap. “We wanted to get people timed up earlier in the game rather than waiting until the third or fourth inning.”

The strategy worked as the Portagers started Game 2 with five runs in the first and one in the second for a 6-0 lead.

Haley Kott led the charge with a triple while Onekama’s seven hits in the contest were spread across the lineup.

“We went a little bit (with small ball) and got some good runs,” Johnson said. “Somewhere in the middle, though, we kind of broke down and couldn’t get anything going anymore.”

Bergren kept the Sabers quiet for the first three frames, finishing with eight strikeouts in the contest. MCC’s Amber Robke pitched one inning, allowing four hits, before being relieved by Modjeski, who finished the game with seven strikeouts while allowing three hits and a run.

Onekama’s Nicki Slater slides safely into home in front of MCC pitcher Mimi Modjeski on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate

MCC plated two runs in the fourth before the big four-run fifth knotted the score and Maegan Sorenson plated the walk-off winner with two outs in the sixth on a passed ball.

“We need to take some things away from this as a positive note,” Johnson said, “and realize that we just played the district champs — who handled the districts relatively easily last year — and we gave them a good battle in two games. As a coach, I’m excited to see that.” Serving Onekama School since 1997