9 area players make All-Ski Valley team
On Monday, the Ski Valley released its all-conference softball team, which featured nine Otsego County players.
Making the first team were Johannesburg-Lewiston senior Grace Boden and Gaylord St. Mary junior Summer Sullivan.
Boden, an infielder, dominated at the plate, leading her team with 48 hits, 47 RBIs and four home runs and batting a staggering .490 average for the season.
Sullivan made the first team as an alternate, but she got the job done on both offense and defense. She finished with 30 hits, 16 RBIs and two homers, which included a .566 batting average, while she struck out 127 batters in 91 innings pitching, carrying a 2.33 ERA.
Three Cardinals made the second team in pitcher Jessie Marlatt, infielder Jamie Burke and outfielder Emma Johnson. St. Mary outfielder Eliza Handley and infielder Gracie Blust (alternate) also made the cut.
Honorable mentions included St. Mary's Megan Grusczynski and J-L's Holly Kussrow, who were both infielders.
The Cardinals, who finished 23-8 overall after losing to Rogers City 1-0 in the Division 4 district semifinal, placed both Boden and Marlatt on the all-district team. This week, J-L also gave out its annual team awards with Boden and Marlatt winning the Team MVP honor and Devyn McVannel and Jordyn Stark earning the Coaches Award.
St. Mary, which lost to Inland Lakes 6-1 in the D4 district semifinal, finished the season 7-12 overall. Sullivan and Blust each made the all-district team. Last week, Sullivan was named the Team MVP, Bailey Murrell was picked as the Most Dedicated, Handley was named the Most Improved, Emma Glasby was given the Rookie of the Year Award, Blust was picked for the Heart of the Team Award and Sullivan was selected for the Leader of the Team Award.
Cardinals narrowly lose to No. 4 Hurons in D4 district semifinal
The Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team came THIS close from upsetting fourth-ranked Rogers City in the Division 4 district semifinal Saturday at Atlanta.
With pitcher Jessie Marlatt dealing in the circle, the Cardinals (23-8) played back and forth with the Hurons until a pop fly in the fourth allowed Rogers City to tag up and scoot home for the game's lone run.
Rogers City held on for the 1-0 victory and then downed Hillman 9-2 in the district championship to earn a berth into the regional round.
Marlatt struck out six and allowed only two hits and one walk.
The Cardinals collected just three hits, getting one apiece from Jamie Burke, Emma Johnson and Alyce Vermilya. They left runners stranded at both second and third base throughout the game.
"We just can't get one of them in," coach Kim Marlatt said. "Jessie pitched phenomenal – she even struck out Taylor Fleming twice.
"But we do feel good. Obviously, we stuck in there against a good team. We still need to focus on our hitting because, obviously, we had girls stranded on second and third two times and we couldn't produce hits to get them. So our focus going forward is going to be on hitting.
"We'll keep working. Hopefully, next year, when most of these girls are seniors, we can look for bigger and better things."
Hits were definitely tough to come by as Rogers City pitcher Kyrsten Altman struck out a staggering 16 Cardinals and walked just one..
"She pitched very well," Coach Marlatt added.
"We've got only better things to come next year. When you lose 1-0 and they don't even score until that late in the game, you know we've come a long ways since we took over the team three years ago."
The Cardinals wrapped up the regular season in dramatic fashion Thursday, sweeping Roscommon, 4-0 and 9-8.
But that one-win victory required Holly Kussrow to drive home the winning run in extra innings after J-L fumbled an 8-1 lead late in the game.
"Those couple of errors hurt us, but we played well," Coach Marlatt said. "They were focused, and we hit the ball."
Boden key as Cardinals sweep Eagles in SVC doubleheader
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times
Grace Boden continues to take over softball games for Johannesburg-Lewiston.
The senior was 6-for-7 batting with eight RBIs, three doubles and a pair of home runs during the Cardinals’ 5-2 and 20-10 sweep over visiting Bellaire in Ski Valley play Thursday.
In Game 1, in the third inning, Boden doubled home Maggie Wells to knot the score at 2, and then Emma Johnson batted in Jamie Burke for the winning run two innings later.
Jessie Marlatt struck out seven, walked none and allowed three hits while pitching six innings.
“In the first game, we got off to a slow start hitting the ball,” coach Kim Marlatt said. “We hit it in play, but it was right at (Bellaire’s defense).”
“Luckily, Grace was on fire tonight. She’s just connecting with the ball right now.”
The Cardinals (19-7, 9-5 SVC) grabbed a 16-1 lead to open Game 2.
Alyce Vermilya (three RBIs), Jessie Marlatt (two RBIs) and Burke each collected two hits, while twin sisters Arielle and Alyce Vermilya each tripled.
Marlatt struck out nine, walked one and allowed four earned runs in four innings, and Wells struck out one.
The Cardinals conclude the Ski Valley portion of their schedule Tuesday, May, 28, at Central Lake. They host Roscommon to wrap up the regular season the following Thursday.
Selke, No. 3 Onaway too much for J-L
If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best.
That's the lesson the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team is taking from its 5-0 and 11-1 losses Monday at No. 3 Onaway.
"We told the girls that playing teams like these will get us ready for Rogers City in the districts," said coach Kim Marlatt, referencing the Cardinals' Division 4 district semifinal match-up with No. 4 Rogers City next week. "Their pitcher won't be as fast as Onaway's (Calley) Selke, but tonight got us ready for Rogers City."
Selke no-hit J-L in Game 1, but Marlatt got a great pitching performance from her daughter, Jessie, who went five innings, struck out six and allowed no earned runs and only one walk.
Alyce Vermilya and Marlatt got the only hits for J-L (17-7) in the nightcap. In the circle, Autumn Vermilya struck out five, walked two and gave up three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
"We're going to be working on, obviously, hitting and trying to get some time on the pitching machine, making it faster so they can see it and get their timing down," Coach Marlatt said. "We've got to work on fielding when balls are hit hard to us, too.
"What we need to do is make plays, and not doing that is kind of what hurt us tonight."
Burke's bunt pushes J-L past Whittemore-Prescott
The Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team trailed 7-4 in the final inning of a tournament game Saturday at Whittemore-Prescott.
Then Jamie Burke (2-for-4 batting) bunted home the winning score as part of an eight-run fifth inning, ensuring the Cardinals a 12-7 victory.
Grace Boden (double, triple) and Holly Kussrow (three RBIs) each were 2-for-4 at the plate, while Emma Johnson was 3-for-3 with one RBI.
Autumn Vermilya pitched five innings, striking out five and allowing nine hits, four earned runs and one walk for the Cardinals, who are 17-5 overall.
In the tournament opener, J-L grabbed a 3-1 lead over Mount Pleasant, but the Oilers scored six-straight runs to pull off a 9-4 comeback win.
Boden (one RBI, double), Alyce Vermilya (two RBI, double) and Johnson each went 2-for-3 batting.
Jessie Marlatt gave up 11 hits, nine earned runs and one walk while striking out one in five innings.
Vermilya sisters push Cardinals past Tigers
The Vermilya sisters were key in the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team sweeping Hillman 3-1 and 4-3 on Friday at home.
With the scored knotted at 1 in Game 1, twins Alyce and Arielle Vermilya scored consecutive runs on a wild pitch and a passed ball, respectively, to clinch the win.
In the opening frame, Grace Boden tied it 1-1 by scoring on a wild pitch.
Boden (double) and Jessie Marlatt recorded J-L's only hits.
Marlatt gave up five hits and one walk while pitching but also struck out six.
"Those were some close games," J-L coach Kim Marlatt said. "They made some defensive plays, but we're not hitting the ball.
"We had some chances with girls on base with one out. The next girl would get up and put the ball in play, but we'd hit the ball right at someone."
In Game 2, Arielle Vermilya (2-for-3, three RBIs) doubled to right to score Boden and Marlatt for the winning runs in the third. The score was tied 2-2 before she batted.
Emily Crandell and Marlatt added one RBI apiece, while Marlatt and Autumn Vermilya combined to strike out five batters in six innings.
The Cardinals left seven runners on base during the doubleheader.
"We just have to get the ball in play and not hit right at someone," Coach Marlatt said.
On Thursday, No. 7 Inland Lakes swept host J-L, 4-1 and 11-0.
Marlatt drove in Alyce Vermilya for J-L's lone run of the night. The junior also combined with Autumn Vermilya to strike out three in the pitcher's circle during the doubleheader.
Cardinals drop 2 SVC games to Bulldogs
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times
No. 7 Inland Lakes swept host J-L 4-1 and 11-0 in softball Thursday.
Jessie Marlatt drove in Alyce Vermilya for J-L's lone run of the night.
Kussrow homers, Cardinals find way to beat Snowbirds' pitcher
GAYLORD – It took some time for the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team to get the hang of opposing pitcher Summer Sullivan.
But when the Cardinals finally got used to the Gaylord St. Mary arm, they ultimately pulled out 7-2 and 6-1 wins over the Snowbirds in Ski Valley play Monday at William Mackowiak Sports Complex.
The Cardinals (14-2) led the opener 1-0 briefly, and it was a 1-1 game going into the fifth. Then they plated four runs in the fifth to secure the win and another pair of runs in the sixth. That included Holly Kussrow blasting a home run. Grace Boden was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
“I thought the girls played really well, and it took us a little bit of time to hit the ball,” J-L coach Kim Marlatt said. “We needed to get Summer’s timing down. Once we started hitting the ball, we put it in play, and that’s what we need to keep doing going forward.”
Pitcher Jessie Marlatt struck out eight, while the Snowbirds committed two errors.
“You could see how young we are tonight,” St. Mary coach John Sullivan said. “We’re young in many spots. If we’re going to beat a team like that, we have to play flawlessly, and we didn’t. Our defense is still learning. Because we’re so young, we have kids who are going to make mistakes sometimes.”
Marlatt was 2-for-3 batting with three RBIs in the nightcap, while Alyce Vermilya drove in a pair of runs.
In the circle, Marlatt struck out another nine.
Sullivan struck out 16 for the Snowbirds (3-9, 2-6 SVC) during the series.
“We knew Summer liked to throw the rise ball a lot,” Coach Marlatt said. “We needed to be ready in the batter’s box and not chase pitches. I thought the girls finally adjusted to that really well.”
Game 1 highlights for the Snowbirds included Sullivan scoring on a sacrifice bunt by Emma Glasby and Emma Cherry scoring off a sacrifice bunt from Christina Harbin. Eliza Handley, who got on base with a single, scored St. Mary’s lone run in Game 2, relying on Megan Gruszynski’s line drive to bring her home.
Bailey Murrell and Grusczynski also had successful sacrifice bunts for St. Mary.
Coach Sullivan said Handley excelled on defense.
“Eliza Handley has really been a highlight for us in center field,” the first-year coach said. “She’s really stepped into that role that was vacated by Anna Torsky when she graduated. I have a ton of confidence in her, and she’s taking right over.”
The Cardinals have tough matchups with Inland Lakes, Hillman and Forest Area coming up as well as a tournament at Whittemore-Prescott.
“I’m really happy with the way we’re playing,” Coach Marlatt said. “We’re hitting the ball well, making plays, defensive-wise. Hopefully, that’ll carry into Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. The girls now have confidence when hitting the ball, and they’re making the plays they know they can make."
Jessie Marlatt doubled to right to score Grace Boden for the walk-off winning run in a 6-5 victory over Posen on Tuesday.
One at-bat earlier, Boden singled to left to score Emma Johnson to knot the score, as the Cardinals (11-1) used four runs in the final frame to complete the comeback win.
Johnson drove in a pair of runs, while Holly Kussrow also doubled.
Autumn Vermilya struck out five in the circle.
“That was a crazy game because we left too many runners on base,” J-L coach Kim Marlatt said. “We had some great defensive plays, and the girls were hitting the ball well. We just couldn’t get girls to score.”
“So we just told the girls (in the final inning) to have some patience and wait for their pitch, so it was a great comeback for the girls.”
In the series opener, J-L scored all of its runs in the first inning to beat Posen 16-0 in a three-inning mercy.
Kussrow was 2-for-2 with four RBIs, and Jamie Burke and Maggie Wells added two hits apiece.
Marlatt struck out three to secure the win.
Boden's bat, Cardinals' Defense key in wins vs. Pellston
JOHANNESBURG — That’s the way you open the Ski Valley season if you’re the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team.
First, the Cardinals (7-1, 2-0 SVC) gutted out a 3-2 win over visiting Pellston in Game 1, and then it blew out the Hornets 16-8 with an 11-run first inning in the nightcap Thursday.
The opener saw Emma Johnson single to right field to score Jamie Burke to knot the score at 1 in the third. Shortly afterward, Grace Boden singled to center to bring home Johnson for the go-ahead score.
Johnson used a fielder’s choice to help Maggie Wells make it home for the winning run in the fifth.
Jessie Marlatt pitched six innings, giving up six hits, one earned run and one walk and striking out seven.
“We had a couple of errors that hurt us, and they got some girls on base,” coach Kim Marlatt said. “Those couple errors could have cost us. But our pitching was great in the first game, and our defense was really stellar. They were making the right plays, just like they should be.”
It was all Boden in Game 2, as the senior was 4-for-4 batting with three RBIs and three doubles.
Jessie Marlatt added two hits and three RBIs, and Arielle Vermilya drove in a pair of runs.
Wells and Autumn Vermilya combined to strike out four in the pitching circle.
“I’m super excited for these girls,” Coach Marlatt said. ‘They have put in a lot of time, a lot of work, and I hope we continue to play like we have in these past few games.”
On Wednesday, the Cardinals swept East Jordan behind both stellar pitching from Marlatt and Devyn McVannel’s timely hitting.
Marlatt threw a one-hitter, striking out six in four innings during a 16-0 win in Game 1. Boden was 3-for-4 hitting with a double, a triple and three RBIs, while Autumn Vermilya was 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.
In the following game, J-L needed just six runs in the first inning and another three in the second to pull out a 9-7 victory. McVannel (2-for-3, three RBIs) singled in the winning run to open the second inning, and Wells added two RBIs.
Wells and Autumn Vermilya combined to strike out three in six innings.
Vermilya hits 1st homer, Cardinals split with Rangers
After a timid opener Tuesday, which the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team lost 1-0 to Manton, the Cardinals rebounded to top the host Rangers 5-2 in the second game of the non-conference doubleheader.
The Cardinals (3-1) trailed 2-0 but used a four-run third inning to seal the win, which included Grace Boden driving in Jamie Burke for the winning run.
Autumn Vermilya smacked her first-career home run in the second, and her older sister, Alyce, led with two RBIs.
"It's just all mental with the kids," coach Kim Marlatt said. "They think a strikeout is the end of the world. They've got to learn to overcome that and get back into the batters box and do what you do. You're going to strike out in this sport. So they just started hitting for us in the second game."
In the opener, Manton scored on an error to snap a scoreless tie in the fourth.
Boden and Alyce Vermilya each doubled for the Cardinals.
"We just left too many runners on, and we couldn't get a hit in the first game," Marlatt said. "It's not like their pitcher was overpowering us. She had average speed, but we just couldn't hit the ball."
Pitcher Jessie Marlatt struck out six and walked two in the Game 1 loss, but Maggie Wells fanned two and walked one during the win.
"For our girls to come back in the second game like that to get a win and start hitting the ball with confidence, that was awesome," Coach Marlatt said. "Hopefully, they'll carry that into our next game.
Cardinals leaning on 8 returners while contending for SVC title
OHANNESBURG – After losing to Rogers City, a final-four team, in the Division 4 district opener last year, the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team is 2-0 overall and already off to a hot start this spring, despite poor weather rearing its head well into the season.
“I thought the girls have done a really great job stepping out onto the field for the first time,” coach Kim Marlatt said. “It’s been the first time our outfielders have gotten to chase fly balls outside of the gym, and we’ve had some great hitting and great pitching, making plays in the field. They’ve all done a great job.”
The Cardinals, 10-14 a year ago, bring back two juniors who made the Gaylord Herald Times’ All-Area first team in pitchers Jessie Marlatt and Maggie Wells. Marlatt, voted the team’s best offensive player, batted 3.44 with 21 hits and stuck out 89 in 16 games. Wells struck out 47 in 12 games.
They also return All-Area honorable mentions in Alyce Vermilya, Arielle Vermilya, Grace Boden, Sydney Townsend and Jamie Burke.
This year’s infield will include Alyce Vermilya and Holly Kussrow at catcher, Burke and Marlatt at first base, Autumn Vermilya and Emily Crandell at second, Boden at shortstop and Kussrow at third.
The outfielders are Devyn McVannel and Emma Johnson in left, Wells, Jordyn Stark, Kamryn Kennedy and Hailey Dahms in right and Arielle Vermilya in center.
“We have eight returning starters, so with our experience, they’re playing in the same positions so they really know their positions well,” Coach Marlatt said. “Autumn Vermilya will come in at second, and she’ll mostly be starting as a freshman, but I think she’ll do a good job there, so we really only replace one starter from last year with her.”
“We have four pitchers who can help us. We don’t have to rely on one pitcher, and we spent all winter hitting with (professional hitting coach) Greg Jones, so, hopefully, we can not only hit the ball but put it in play. And the girls in travel ball will have experience in more situations that will help us out.”
Despite a tough conference slate, which includes games with Onaway and Inland Lakes, Coach Marlatt wants her team to compete for a title.
“Ultimately, our goal is to still contend for the Ski Valley Conference,” she said. “Our girls are more experienced now. We have seven girls who have played travel ball throughout the summer, so they’ve gotten more experience and have seen more pitchers. They’ve had more game time and experience, and that should help us out this year."
Cardinals' Marlatt tosses perfect game in opener
Jessie Marlatt threw a five-inning perfect game, striking out six and allowing no walks, hits or runs in the Johannesburg-Lewiston softball team's 16-0 win over Eben Junction Superior Central on April 6 at Ovid-Elsie.
The Cardinals (2-0) scored six runs in the fifth to secure the mercy-rule victory.
Grace Boden (double, triple), Holly Kussrow (double) and Alyce Vermilya each drove in three runs, while Marlatt threw just 54 pitches.
Later in the day, with the score knotted at 1 in the fourth, Jamie Burke singled to left to score Devyn McVannel for the winning run, as the Cardinals edged the host Marauders, 4-1.
Burke was 2-for-3 batting, and Maggie Wells and Autumn Vermilya combined for six strikeouts in the circle.
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