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Richmond falls short against Ida in Division 2 finale PHOTO GALLERY

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Blue Devils were three outs away from victory

EAST LANSING >> Richmond was three outs away from winning back-to-back Division 2 state softball championships.

Those three outs in the seventh on Saturday at Secchia Stadium on the campus of Michigan State University didn’t come quick enough.

Ida scored three times in the seventh and added five more over the next two innings to knock off the defending champs, 8-4 in nine innings.

“We were three outs away and then obviously,” said a teary-eyed Emma Caperton, a senior. “It sucks. It’s hard because this was my last game. I’m really proud of my team. We played our hearts out so it’s alright.”

Richmond was looking to become the first team from Macomb County to win two state softball championships let alone two in a row.

“We had it in the bag and just let it slip away,” Richmond coach Howard Stuart said. “They were a hot team and had momentum on their side. All we had to do was make the routine play and we tried to make a spectacular play and it cost us. It was just a downright not very smart play.”

The Bluestreaks (37-7) put their first two runners on base to start the seventh. After a pair of fielder’s choice outs that scored a run, Brooklyn Woelmer lined a shot to the Blue Devils’ right fielder, who hesitated coming in and the ball slid under her glove to plate Sydney Motylinski ahead of herself tie things up 3-3.

“We just needed to make a play,” Stuart said. “We’re a good team. Anyone can make a mistake and we made a mistake and it cost us the game. No one thing will ever cost you a game, but they’re hot. Those teams scare you to death. They looked OK and then all of a sudden they just pounded the ball.”

After both teams scored a run in the eighth, Ida put up four in the ninth to all but put Richmond away.

“They finished second in the state so that’s nothing to laugh about,” Stuart said. “They wanted to be repeat champs and we almost were. We need to work harder to make it happen again.”

This was the Blue Devils’ fourth straight extra innings game in the state tournament and second that went nine innings. The other two went eight.

“I’m numb,” Ida coach Dawn Forter said. “These girls have been playing softball together since they were eight and this is what they’ve been playing for.”

Richmond (33-5) got two runs in the third on RBI singles from Emma Caperton and Evelyn Swantek.

In the sixth, the Blue Devils added another run after Amy Thueme singled home Kennedy Caperton.

Richmond, which has now lost four times in the state championship game, totaled 11 hits, three from Carley Barjaktarovich (two runs) and two apiece out of Thueme, Emma Caperton and Swantek.

Erin Shuboy, who was walked twice, took the loss, allowing seven earned runs on 14 hits. She struck out four and walked four.

Shuboy, who’s a sophomore, threw a no-hitter in last year’s 2-0 win over Vicksburg to win the state championship.

The state title was Ida’s third all-time in softball, winning the championship in Class C in 1994 and 1989.

Last Updated: 6/17/2017 5:54:22 PM EST