Beaubien's no-hitter leads Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central to first D-3 Title game since 2007Softball  |
East Lansing – In a sophomore season where she registered nine no-hitters and five perfect games, Meghan Beaubien saved one of, if not her best performance for Friday afternoon in the Division 3 semifinals at Michigan State.
The sophomore pitcher for the Kestrels was locked in from the start as she pitched a no-hitter, while striking out 16 batters to lead Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central to a 6-0 win over Pinconning and into the Division 3 state championship game.
St. Mary Catholic Central (36-5) now advances to the Division 3 state championship game on Saturday at 5:30 pm at Michigan State.
Beaubien, a Michigan commit, said that Friday’s effort was at the top of the list of her performances on the year, adding that she hopes the momentum from Friday can carry into Saturday.
“This is definitely up there,” Beaubien said of her performance. “A no-hitter in the semifinals to go to states is a big deal, so hopefully we’ll keep the momentum going into tomorrow.”
Kestrels’ coach John Morningstar agreed with his pitcher, saying that on the stage and what was at stake, Beaubien’s performance was one of her best of the season.
“It’s right up there with the best of them,” he said. “The deeper we go into the playoffs, we’re seeing more quality teams, so the teams up there have good at bats. So it ranks right up at the top, in the semifinals, moving on to the state championship game. All year long I’ve told these kids to be poised and to come out here and take each game and one pitch at a time and she’s been the catalyst the whole way.”
The only two base runners that would reach for Pinconning (30-14) would come off of errors, both in the third inning, but a pair of strikeouts and a fly out would get Beaubien out of the first and third jam unscathed.
“The strikeouts were good, but it was important for us as a team to get out of it,” she said. “They had that nice line drive to centerfield on that last out and our centerfielder made a nice play.”
Morningstar said that to keep Pinconning from scoring behind Beaubien’s pitching was key to keep from any momentum shifting.
“It’s huge to take away the momentum that was created on the other side,” he said. “Typically, we field the bunt a little bit better than that, but she doesn’t put a lot of balls in play, so it’s one of those things where you’re averaging 16 strikeouts per game, the other five that you have to come up with, you’re surprised they’re coming.”
In the first inning, the Kestrels wasted little time in getting things started, as they would use back-to-back RBI from Junlianne Venier and Keeley Taft to jump ahead 2-0.
Before the end of the first inning, St. Mary Catholic Central would have a 4-0 lead after an RBI double from Anna Dobberstein and an RBI single by Michaela Rogers.
But it was more than enough run support that Beaubien would need as she kept Pinconning off balance throughout the entire game and didn’t issue a single walk on the afternoon.
Beaubien said that she felt her changeup was working well for her throughout the day and that was key to keeping Pinconning on its heels offensively.
“I think I got my changeup working well,” she said. “That’s a good pitch to keep them off balance, because they don’t know if you’re going to throw your hard stuff or off-speed and it’s really hard to adjust to.”
Even with nine no-hitters going into Friday, Beaubien added that she never really thought about pitching a no-hitter because of just how difficult of a thing it is to do.
“I never try to think about that,” she said. “I don’t expect it, but I expect a lot out of myself. But I don’t think you can expect a no-hitter, because that’s hard to do, but it’s good to do.”
In the bottom of the fifth, the Kestrels tacked on two more runs on a two-RBI single from Taft to push the lead to 6-0.
Bronson 5, Montague 0
East Lansing – About a month ago, Bronson coach Becky Gray had a talk with senior pitcher Skylar Sobeski.
The talk was about Sobeski’s pitching and that Gray wanted her senior ace to attack hitters with more regularity.
And since then, Sobeski took the advice of her coach and has been simply dominant, as she hadn’t allowed an earned run in almost a month entering Friday’s Division 3 semifinal against Montague.
Sobeski was back at it again on Friday as she turned in a complete game shutout performance, recording 12 strikeouts to lead the Vikings to a 5-0 win over Montague and into the first Division 3 state championship game for the school.
Sobeski said that she was upset during the conversation with her coach, but afterwards, she took the advice and has used that mentality, which has led to her stretch of not allowing an earned run in almost a month.
“At the time, I was kind of upset,” she said. “I just decided to listen to what she had to say and not take it personally and I just went out every game after that with that mindset.”
Gray said that the conversation probably wasn’t an enjoyable one for Sobeski, but her senior took her coach’s advice and has been lights out ever since.
“We did have one specific conversation,” she said. “I don’t think it was fun for her to hear, but it did change things. It was more of a ‘You have to start attacking hitters’ kind of talk and she came out and did it.”
Attack was exactly what Sobeski did from the start of the game, as she struck out the first eight batters that she retired and was in full control from start to finish.
“I mostly threw curves and rises,” said Sobeski of her outing. “That’s what I usually go with.”
Bronson plated a run in the first inning on an RBI ground out from Sobeski to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Vikings later scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, behind a two-RBI single from Kelsey Robinson and another RBI single from Sobeski.
“It’s definitely relieving,” Sobeski said of getting a big lead later on. “It takes a lot of pressure off. Pretty much until we had the five runs, I was feeling really tense.”
Gray added that with her young team, which features eight freshman and just three seniors, she didn’t expect her team to have an opportunity to play for a state title when the season started.
“At the beginning of the year, to be honest, no,” she said. “We had graduated five starters from last year and you don’t know what freshman are going to do. So as the season went on, we knew it was a possibility, but at the beginning, I didn’t know this was possible.”