By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
BATTLE CREEK – Dansville catcher Rebekah Guy waited four years for Friday’s tears of joy, and through two Semifinals losses when the tears were sorrowful.
She first played at Bailey Park as a freshman, and returned with the Aggies as a sophomore. Both times, her teams lost. But both times, she and now-seniors Addie Price and Alison Schlicker picked up a little bit more knowledge to use if they got a chance to come back.
And if those three think they’ve had a while to wait, their coach Mick Ream pointed out Friday that he’s been waiting 31 years to coach his team in an MHSAA championship game.
The No. 9 Aggies earned that opportunity with a 4-3 win Friday over No. 3 Rapid River.
“It means everything, honestly. This team is so awesome, they’ve worked so hard, and I just wanted to win this for them,” Guy said. “I couldn’t ask for more for my senior year.”
Dansville will face two-time reigning champion and top-ranked Petersburg-Summerfield in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. Final.
The seniors certainly did their part Friday. Guy and Price both drove in runs, and Schlicker singled and her pinch runner scored. All of this happened after Rapid River (35-6) opened with three runs in the top of the first inning. But Guy came through big at the end as well, guiding sophomore pitcher Meagan Kelly through the final out after the Rockets put two runners on with two outs in the seventh.
“We’re here. Champions find a way to win,” Ream said. “That’s what we’ve said all year long. And it happened again.”
Guy’s calm was a characteristic Ream said has come to his team because of its three trips to Battle Creek. And she said there’s a lot more confidence too – despite Saturday’s daunting opponent.
“We knew we could beat (Rapid River). We’re an awesome team,” she said. “We know if we can hit the ball we can beat any team, honestly. The girls have worked so hard, and I’m so proud of them.”
Kelly struck out three and gave up six hits for the Aggies (30-5). Senior Heather Sanderson struck out nine and gave up only two earned runs for Rapid River, and also had two hits, scored a run and drove in another. Click for a full box score.
Petersburg-Summerfield 9, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 7 (9 innings)
The Bulldogs (34-3) nearly lost out on their chance to return to the Final, but scored five runs in the top of the ninth. The Irish (31-8) came back with only one in the bottom of the inning.
Sacred Heart scored in the bottom of the seventh inning to knot the score 3-3 and push the game to extras. Sophomore shortstop Sara Hansen had three hits and scored twice, and junior catcher Elizabeth Albaugh drove in two runs.
Senior pitcher Emily Puterbaugh gave up only one earned run in throwing all nine innings for the Bulldogs. Senior first baseman Kysha LaMonde had three hits, an RBI and scored a run. Click for a full box score.
PHOTOS: (Top) Dansville catcher Rebekah Guy played in her third Semifinal on Friday. (Middle) Petersburg-Summerfield pitcher Emily Puterbaugh threw all nine innings in her team's win over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart.