TECUMSEH –– Tecumseh 10-11-12 softball mercied Blissfield, 12-2, over four innings on Thursday to win the District 16 title and advance to the state tournament.
Lauren Nadeau served as the “tonesetter” for Tecumseh’s win, notching two RBIs at the plate and spinning four innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts.
Tecumseh coach Keegan Grounds said the win was a testament to the team gaining more confidence in themselves, despite only playing together for the last two weeks.
“Our girls are starting to believe,” he said. “Coming into today, they came in knowing they could play with (Blissfield).”
With three of their first four batters getting hit by pitches, Tecumseh got off to a hot start, batting through in the top of the first on their way to scoring five runs off two walks, four hit-by-pitches and a slew of untimely passed balls.
After starting pitcher Tayler Ickler walked Rhys Dunham, Grace Strahan came in relief and struck out the next three batters to close the frame.
Blissfield responded in the bottom of the first, with Icker drawing a walk, advancing around the basepaths on passed balls and eventually scoring on a botched pickoff attempt at third.
Bella Sivils led off the second with a single, priming Tecumseh to go up 7-1 off four walks and a brand of aggressive baserunning Grounds said was a key part of their game plan.
Nadeau ran into her first difficulties of the game in the bottom of the second, walking Sophia Loar and hitting Adison Robinson and Phoebe Meyer as Blissfield threatened to pull closer. Robinson scored on another passed ball to slim Blissfield’s deficit to five runs.
Tecumseh charged ahead for five runs in the third, batting through with four walks and three players hit by pitches. Nadeau highlighted the onslaught with a 2-run single up the middle to score Kayla Packard and Sivils before Tecumseh added three more runs off passed balls and wild pitches.
Nadeau subsequently tossed her first scoreless frame in the bottom of the third and added three more strikeouts as Blissfield struggled to get anything going at the plate.
In a pivotal fourth inning, Grace Nieman settled in after Sivil’s leadoff walk to get three quick outs and make way for a half-inning Grounds said Nadeau did not want to pitch.
“She was like, ‘I don’t know if I can go one more,’” he said. “I said, ‘Laura, you’re throwing gas right now. If you get in trouble, I’ll come get you. But I want you to close this out.’”
Nadeau answered with her strongest frame yet, putting together her first 1-2-3 inning of the game with two strikeouts and inducing a groundout from Sophia Loar to seal the 12-2 win and District 16 title for Tecumseh.
Now advancing to the state tournmanent in Grosse Pointe, Grounds said his team has accomplished their goal. Anything else? It’s house money.
“Anything beyond this is gravy,” he said. “We’re gonna go, we’re gonna have a good experience, have some fun.”
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Tecumseh 10-11-12 softball wins district 16 tournament