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Coleman wins third straight D4 regional title, Montabella loses heartbreaker in semifinals WITH GALLERY

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Third time's the charm?

Coleman softball won a third consecutive Division 4 regional title Saturday at Sacred Heart, while it will now once again face the same program in Holton in quarterfinals that has ended its season the previous two years.

There was not much drama in the five-ranked Comets' rolling to another regional championship as it clobbered Michigan Lutheran Seminary 11-1 in five innings before toppling Morrice 12-6 in the title game.

“We had at least five or six runners called out at third so maybe a little work on the base running today,” Coleman coach Chad Klopf said. “But overall it was a strong day for us. There was some slower pitching than we're used to, so they had to time it up and it took a while. But when the going got tough, they came through.”

Coleman (34-6) had no issues disposing of MLS, scoring twice in the first and second before adding four more in the fourth. When the Comets tacked on three more runs in the fifth, it brought on the mercy rule.

Faith Barden settled down after surrendering a run in the top of the first, giving up no more runs the rest of the way. She allowed one earned run on three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk over five innings.

Barden, a junior, has stepped in as ace pitcher all season and was on her game once again during the regional round.

“We played as a team and knew we had each others backs,” Barden said. “We knew after losing so many seniors from last year that we could get back here. We had some sophomores coming up who we knew would step up. And we're all so close and have worked hard together to make this happen.”

MacKenzie Miller went 2-for-4 with three runs, three RBIs and two stolen bases to lead the Comets. Jaden Berthume was 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run and three RBIs. Liz Dana finished 1-for-2 with two walks, three runs, four stolen bases and an RBI. Barden helped her own cause with a single and a walk plus two RBIs, while Brianna Townsend was 2-for-3. Makailyn Monson went 2-for-3 with two runs.

In the title game, a seven-run first inning told the story.

The Comets led 9-1 through four innings before the Orioles closed the gap late, but nothing was ever in doubt.

Barden threw the final 1 2/3 innings in relief of Berthume, striking out one and walking two. Berthume allowed six runs (two earned) on nine hits with eight strikeouts and one walk over the first 5 1/3 frames.

“I'm always ready to go if I'm needed in relief,” Barden added.

Dana, the lone senior on the Coleman roster, was 3-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBIs. Miller went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Berthume was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Barden went 1-for-4 with a double, a run and two RBIs. Autumn Tubbs was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Abigail Tubbs finished 1-for-3 with a run and two RBIs. Kalie Weidman contributed a double, a run and an RBI. Brianna Townsend added a hit, a run and an RBI.

“We've had so many girls who have stepped their game up this year and this is the result,” Klopf said.

Coleman will face Holton Tuesday in a 4 p.m. quarterfinals game hosted by Greenville High School. The game was previously slated to be at Saginaw Valley State University before being moved to a location more centrally located between Coleman and Holton.

Montabella lost a heartbreaker to Morrice in the first regional semifinal game of the day, falling 12-11 in eight innings.

The Mustangs (18-14) took it to the Orioles early, scoring five runs in the first inning and another in the second to go ahead 6-0.

After going to the seventh inning still leading 8-3, Montabella gave up five runs and the game went into extra innings tied 8-8. But instead of folding, the Mustangs bounced back to grab an 11-8 lead in the eighth inning.

Unfortunately for Montabella, it was Morrice that would advance as its four-run bottom of the 11th secured a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

“It was a really tough loss,” Mustangs coach Whisper Dawson said. “They were ranked, an honorable mention team. We weren't supposed to beat them. So at the end of the day we made them work extremely hard for it. People thought they were going to come in and roll all over us and that is not what happened at all. I couldn't be prouder of my girls.”

Cheyenne Fuller, Taylor Peabody, Lexi McQueen and Dani Hunt all had three hits for the Mustangs. Madi Cutler added a double and a triple.

Last Updated: 6/10/2017 10:06:41 PM EST