By Andrew Johnson
Mallory not only hit a home run off Holton in a game earlier this season, but struck out 13 Holton hitters and knocked in both runs on Friday.
Her great pitching and two RBIs were enough to give Indian River Inland Lakes a 2-0 victory over Holton in the Division 4 state semifinals at Michigan State University.
Mallory did her damage at the plate in the very first inning, hitting a majestic home run to right center field to score the lone runs of the game.
Those two runs were all Mallory needed on the mound, because she only allowed two hits and a total of five Holton runners to reach base in the complete-game victory.
The Red Devils finished the season with a 29-13 record. They finished with a loss in the state semifinals for the second straight year.
Holton pitcher Mikaela Baker was the hard-luck loser, allowing only two hits and walking four.
“The first inning killed us – if we had pitched around (Mallory) the first time it would have been a different game,” said Baker about pitching to Mallory in the first inning, rather than intentionally walking her like Holton did the rest of the day. “She led their whole team, she’s really good.”
“She threw a two-hitter and lost today,” Holton head coach Kirk Younts said about Baker. “She’s really upset and feels like she cost us the game, but she was actually fantastic and it’s the best she’s ever pitched.”
The Red Devils had a total of five batters reach base, but only three advanced to second base and none reached third.
Freshman Morgan Murat had the lone two hits for Holton while Kaitlynn Mock walked twice and Haylee Brant walked once.
“I thought it was a perfect speed for me (Mallory’s pitching) because I’ve been working for a while and was ready for it,” said Murat about her plate appearances against Mallory. “I wish we would have hit the ball more, but what can you do?”
While this season may be over, all the Red Devils are excited to think about what next year could bring with only three seniors graduating from the team.
“I said this last year, but we’re going to be back again, I mean it,” Younts said. “We’re losing three in the field but the rest come back. I love our kids and we’re going to stick around here all day tomorrow and see what it’s like to win a championship so they’re hungry to come back and win one.”
“I’m really excited to get back next year – this was an amazing experience playing on this field.” Murat said.