EAST LANSING – Macy Irelan had never played softball in front of so many fans before Saturday, but the crowd of people standing at Michigan State’s Secchia Stadium didn’t faze her at all.
“It kept us optimistic and got us ready. We wanted to put on a show, we wanted to win for a reason, ”said Irelan, after leading Owosso to the Division 2 softball championship with an 8-5 win in the rain over Marysville.
Not only did Irelan – a Kent State start – go the distance, allowing nine hits, but she netted a brace in the fourth inning when Owosso (37-3) scored four times to definitely take the lead. Irelan, with a .520 stick heading into the final, hadn’t reached base safely in two games.
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“It was my first shot in a while, and I’m glad it came the right way and helped us up,” she said.
Irelan punched out Kirsten Smith of Marysville, who had torched her for a three-run homerun in the previous inning, giving the Vikings a 3-2 lead. Marysville increased the lead to 5-3 in the top of the fourth when Calle Perrin added a solo homerun, and Avery Wolters doubled up, moved up to third and scored on a defensive error.
“It took our breath away when they got that home run, like anyone, and it took us a round to figure out, hey, this game is far from over. I give these kids all the credit in the world, ”said Owosso coach JoEllen Smith, a former Trojan player who earned her 810th career victory in 38 seasons.
It was Owosso’s first State Championship in an MHSAA sponsored sport.
“This whole week has been crazy two weeks because we haven’t gone beyond the regional ones,” Irelan said. “Everything we do to build our program and make a name for ourselves is amazing. JoEllen deserves it. It’s a good memory that I hope she will remember in a few years.
Owosso scored the first two points of the game, crossing the plate in each of the first two innings. In the first, a double from Reyn Tuttle down center left led Emily Pumford, who was running for Irelan. Jamie Maier led the second with a home run down the middle from the start.
Irelan’s brace came in the bottom of the fourth, just after three straight singles from Neveah Ginger, Lexi Hemker and Madyson Rainey. An infield out brought Pumford home, again courtesy of Irelan, with the go-ahead. The Trojans have four runs on four hits in the inning.
Owosso increased his lead to 8-5 in the fifth, as Kendall Anderson doubled and Sydney Somers picked his house. Somers continued his round around the goal after a throwing error, adding an unearned run.
Marysville, chasing his first state title since 1983, finished 31-7.
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