Beaubien homers, tosses 2-hitter as St. Mary C.C. wins first state title, 2-0, over Bronson in Division 3 finalSoftball  |
East Lansing - Meghan Beaubien proved she is human, lunging at a pitch and striking out the second time she stepped to the plate on Saturday.
It was a brief moment of fallibility in a virtually flawless postseason performance by the star sophomore pitcher from Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Beaubien took a perfect game into the seventh inning and hit a two-run homer for the game's only runs, as St. Mary C.C. won its first title in the 41-year history of the Michigan High School Athletic Association tournament with a 2-0 victory over Bronson (37-8) in the Division 3 final at Michigan State University.
She finished with a two-hitter, striking out 14. Beaubien did not allow a run in seven postseason games, as Kestrels outscored its opposition 29-0.
"I felt really good and focused in the postseason, which is really important," said Beaubien, who verbally committed to NCAA runner-up Michigan before her freshman year. "If there's any time to be really zoned in, it's now. It felt really good to be able to give my team the confidence that if we put up a couple runs, we had a good chance to win the game."
From the quarterfinals on, Beaubien allowed only five hits and didn't allow a walk in 21 innings of work. She had 45 strikeouts against three of the best teams in this division.
"She did a fantastic job," first-year St. Mary C.C. coach John Morningstar said. "We knew that definitely she's going to go out and strike out quite a few hitters."
In the semifinals, Beaubien retired the final 14 batters in a no-hitter against Pinconning. That streak reached 33 consecutive batters until Bronson's Kelsey Robinson reached base with one out in the seventh. The ball was bobbled by shortstop Kelsey Barron, but a single was awarded. Two batters later, Kinslea Blouin hit a clean single up the middle to give Bronson runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh.
Beaubien ended the Vikings' only threat by striking out Allie Sikorski.
"I wasn't that worried about it," Beaubien said of the potential for only the second perfect game in finals history. "I just wanted to win, but I knew it was there."
Beaubien wasn't the only pitcher who had a championship-caliber effort in this game. Bronson senior pitcher Skyler Sobeski allowed only three hits, striking out five and did not allow a walk.
Determining a winner and a loser came down to one swing of Beaubien's bat.
"I hope that (Sobeski) can let it go," Bronson coach Becky Gray said. "She'll feel like she lost the game, but that's not the case. It's unfortunate what happened today, but look what we did; it's spectacular. I cannot be disappointed, but I know there's tears."
Two of the Kestrels’ three hits came in the first, resulting in the two runs.
Barron, who was 2-for-3, had a one-out single to set the stage for Beaubien. Beaubien slammed a 2-1 pitch over the fence in left-center field, then made those runs hold up with a masterful performance that had to put a smile on the face of U-M coach Carol Hutchins.
"I didn't know it was gone," Beaubien said. "I knew it was hit hard, but this is a pretty big field. I thought it was going to drop somewhere in the outfield. When I knew it was out, I don't know how to describe it. That was fantastic to give my team a lead in the game."
Sobeski responded to the long ball by retiring 13 straight batters. But Bronson couldn't get anyone on base until there was one out in the seventh.
"(Beaubien) is a great pitcher," Gray said. "I thought we made some adjustments, but I think we made them a little too late. But my kids didn't give up. We didn't quit. We fought to the very last out. You can't ask for more than that."
St. Mary C.C. (37-5) reached the finals in 1989, 1992 and 2007, but lost each time.
"Everybody here knew that was the case," Morningstar said. "They've been here a few times before. We just tried to keep it very, very simple. We told them to play the game one pitch at a time. If it works out for you, it's going to be a very special thing. I don't think it's hit me just yet as far as the history for the school. It's not an easy thing to do."