Sports round-up 6.3.09

Written by David Green.

MORENCI BASEBALL: Morenci’s baseball squad had a high-scoring game going with Lenawee Christian School at the district opener Saturday.

Then, in the fourth inning, is suddenly became very high scoring—and not in the Bulldogs’ favor.

An 11-8 LCS lead ballooned to 21-8 to knock Morenci out of the tournament.

Eighth walks in the fourth inning, combined with a series of errors, put the game out of reach. The Cougars scored seven earned runs and took advantage of nine Morenci errors.

“We didn’t hit our cut-offs and we threw the ball around,” coach Roger Pontious said. “There were some wild pitches and passed balls, also, but we still played hard for as young as we are.”

BD—Britton-Deerfield claimed a 10-5 victory to end the league season May 27. Six of the Patriots’ runs were unearned.

Brett Bovee, Michael Snyder and Isaac Jeffers each batted two for four.

MORENCI SOFTBALL: Trailing 2-1 against Whiteford going into the seventh inning didn’t look unusual at all to Morenci’s softball team. The Bobcats captured the two league contests by one-run margins this season.

Then it turned to anything but the familiar.

Whiteford added six runs in the seventh to claim a Div. IV district title Saturday on its home diamond.

The inning started off with an error, then an out, and after that a triple.

“We probably could have got an out, but we had the infield pulled in close,” coach Kay Johnson said.

A walk, a single, a double—the game was rapidly getting out of control.

The Bulldogs couldn’t respond at the plate as they often have trouble with Whiteford’s pitcher.

Morenci’s only run scored on a base hit by Nicolette Swimmer. Tess Ramsey came through with three of the Bulldogs’ five hits and Jackie Paris had one single.

Jade Pfund struck out 11 batters, but she walked four and gave up seven hits.

The Bulldogs ended the season with a 22-14 record. Whiteford advances to regional play to face Camden-Frontier. Summerfield faces Homer in the other contest.


Morenci and Lenawee Christian School played a tight five-inning game in the opener except for an odd occurrence in the first inning.

The LCS pitcher was injured when a throw from the catcher struck her in the face. She left the game temporarily, but the Bulldog batters went wild against the substitute.

After a walk, Megan Cox and Pfund singled and Swimmer followed with a triple. Matea Garcia slammed a double, and on it went. Morenci scored 11 runs that inning and finished with an 11-1 victory.

Swimmer hit a grand slam along with her triple in the first inning and added a double later in the game. Megan Cox and Matea Garcia each finished with a pair of hits.

Pfund hurled a one-hitter and struck out six.

TRACK: Morenci’s four state track and field qualifiers each returned home with all-state medals following competition Saturday in Grand Rapids.

Phoenix Duncan finished third in Div. IV in the high jump and Lucas Johnson took fourth in the discus.

Zach Phillips came through with an eighth-place finish in the 1600-meter run and Chas Frey took eighth in the 200-meter dash.

“Phoenix finished the highest of anyone and she was the unhappiest,” said Bulldog coach Brad Brown. “She thought she could do better.”

Her best long jump of 15-3 was more than a foot below her top leap of the year and she failed to qualify for the finals.

In the high jump, the competition dwindled to just three girls. Last year’s champ, Sarah McCourtney cleared 5-6, but Duncan and the other competitor couldn’t get beyond 5-4. Because of an earlier miss, Duncan, a sophomore, slipped to third.

Johnson didn’t come through with his best toss of the season in the discus, but his 140-7 wasn’t too far off the mark.

The senior’s final throw went wide of the marker, Brown said. Had it been straight, Johnson would have likely set a school record and moved up from fourth to second. The winner tossed the disc 163-2.

Zach Phillips was in 10th place with a lap to go in his final 1600-meter run of his high school career. He passed number nine with about 200 meters to go, then sprinted to the finish to move into eighth place for a 4:34, just a second off his season best.

“It was a good time regardless of the place and a good way to finish as a senior,” Coach Brown said.

Phillips, the holder of two school records, earned his first all-state finish in the run.

A new Div. IV record was set by a Potterville runner at 4:16.94.

Chas Frey had a little luck in his 200-meter dash semifinals—just the thing that was lacking in his 100-meter attempt.

Placement in the semifinals is based on the results of the preliminary race, Brown explained. In the 100, Frey was in the semifinal heat with three of the fastest runners there, and he didn’t advance.

In the 200 semis, the leaders ended up in the other heat and he made it through.

“None of the times were anywhere near their best, with the wind,” Brown said, and that includes Frey’s run. “But it’s really good to advance to the finals.”

The junior ran a :24.32, about a second behind the winning time of :23.24.

Waldron’s Fletcher Masters earned a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter dash at :51.88. Katherine Baker placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles (:16.74) and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles (:49.63).

Four Div. IV records were set Saturday, including a 6-10.5 high jump that proved to be the best in the state regardless of school size. Other records were set in the 3200-meter relay (8:03.94), 110-meter hurdles (:14.35) and the 1600-meter relay (4:16.94).

For the girls, Div. IV records were set in the pole vault (11-3), 100-meter hurdles (:15.14), 800-meter relay (1:45) and 400-meter relay (:50.63).


At the DTII all-county meet May 23, Duncan placed first in the high jump (5-5) and second in the long jump (16-2). Nicole Elarton took fifth in the discus (94-5) and the 800-meter relay team placed fifth at 1:57.9.

Coach Brown said Duncan’s jump was officially recorded as 5-5, but he measured the bar at 5-6.

For the boys, Johnson placed second in the discus (145-3, his personal best) and fifth in the shot put (45-9). Frey took second in the 100-meter dash (:11.8) and third in the 200-meter dash (:23.7).

Phillips was third in the 800 (2:09) and fifth in the 1600 (4:53). Nathan Grieder placed fifth in the 400 dash (:54.5) and the 1600-meter relay team finished second (3:35.4).

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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