The Vicksburg High School baseball team topped Otsego and Three Rivers Saturday to win District 47 at Three Rivers. Vicksburg had a 2-1 walk-off win over the Wildcats in the semifinal, then downed Otsego in the final, 8-0. Otsego made it through after a 7-1 victory over Plainwell earlier.
Strong pitching and defense was key in both wins for the 10th-ranked Bulldogs. Against Otsego, only the pitch count rule prevented Ryan Morgan from completing a shutout. He finished with five hits and two walks allowed over 6.2 innings with ten strikeouts. Vicksburg jumped ahead immediately with four hits and an error leading to four runs in the first inning.
“To have that time off (between games) and then come right back and out of the gate, put four up in the first inning, says a lot about our guys having that focus of getting that next win,” said Vicksburg coach Brian Deal.
They added three more in the fifth and one in the sixth, getting 11 hits total. Otsego starting pitcher Jayden Dentler lasted four innings, allowing six runs, three earned, and seven hits. Otsego ends the season at 20-16-1.
Vicksburg won the opening game in a 2-1 pitching duel over the host Three Rivers. Both teams scored their first run in the fifth inning. Three Rivers led off the seventh with a hit, but the runner was caught stealing. After a strikeout, the Wildcats doubled, but Brenden Lovell got a ground out to get out of the jam. In the bottom of the frame, Garrett Ketelaar drew a lead-off walk for Vicksburg. After an error, walk, and strikeout, Josh Povlock brought in Ketelaar for the winning run.
Povlock had both Vicksburg RBI. Lovell finished with a complete game win, allowing five hits, one earned run, and two walks with eight strikeouts. Alex Minger went 6.1 innings for Three Rivers, allowing three hits, two runs, one earned, with four walks and three strikeouts. The senior-heavy Wildcats finish at 18-14.
“It was a grind right from the start,” said Deal. “I can’t say enough about that Minger kid, he did a great job.”
Vicksburg advances to Regional 12 at Edwardsburg next Saturday and will meet seventh-ranked Stevensville Lakeshore at 10 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., Edwardsburg, who split the Wolverine Conference crown with Vicksburg, plays Harper Creek. The winners face off for a trip to the quarterfinals. Vicksburg now sits at 29-10 and will see the Lancers for the second time, having lost to Lakeshore 9-4 back in a tournament game on May 13.
“They’re very well coached,” said Deal. “They will push you; they bunt, they run, they play the game really well.”
“We saw a couple of their better pitchers, they didn’t see our better pitchers, so maybe that gives us a little bit of an advantage going in. Those two guys (Lovell and Morgan) are two of the best guys in the area as far as I’m concerned. We run those guys out there and we feel like we’ve got a chance against most teams. Starting pitching and quality defense certainly keeps you in games.”
In Saturday’s second district game, Otsego beat Plainwell 7-1 on a strong outing from Derek Slocum, who gave up one earned run, three hits, and five walks over six innings. Will Eldred scored three runs. Plainwell’s Hunter Nielsen got all but one out, allowing seven runs, two earned, with six hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. Plainwell ends the year at 11-14.
Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked Vicksburg softball team topped the same two squads to claim their district, taking a 17-7 final over Otsego in the championship. They’ll also go to Edwardsburg for Regional play and also play Lakeshore, with their game set for Saturday at noon.
Listen back to Friday’s district baseball games below:
VICKSBURG VS OTSEGO
VICKSBURG VS THREE RIVERS
OTSEGO VS PLAINWELL