Walled Lake Northern fought tooth and nail with Hartland over seven scoreless innings before the Knights persevered in the eighth to defeat the Eagles, 3-0, and win its first Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) Lakes Conference title on Monday, May 23.
“I was walking to the third base coaching box in the top of the sixth inning and I said to (Hartland Head Coach) Carl Gabrielson, ‘What a great game, whoever wins this one will have to earn it.’ he agreed, and that’s what we did. We earned it,” said Northern Head Coach Mark Grattan.
Kristina Weltzin pitched a complete game for the Knights (20-7) and gave up only 3 hits in another stellar effort, as Northern avenged a 12-0 loss to Hartland on May 2.
“The battery of Kristina Weltzin and Kari Knight did a great job today. They listened to coach Rich Paul and myself and just went out and did our game plan,” Grattan said. “Now, we didn’t plan on 3 walks in the first inning, but Kristina was not ready to give into them, she fought hard and her defense stood behind her and we got out of it unharmed. Our whole infield were on our toes the whole game, and the outfielders moved with the ball in the 25 mph wind. It was a chore for all the girls to judge that ball today.”
Northern found itself in a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning when Hartland’s Caitlyn Collins singled, stole second base and advanced to third.
But, Weltzin struck out the next batter before Caitlyn Kelley recorded the second out at first, keeping Collins at third base in the process.
The Knights then walked Kayla Gustitus and then picked her off trying to steal second base, saving the game.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Knights’ bats came alive as Erin Lee led off with a double before Danielle Marzetti moved Lee to third with a sacrifice bunt.
After a Jaclyn Parvin single and steal of second base, Sam Kern drove in Lee with an RBI single.
Mackensy Lakian then singled before Kari Knight hit a double that drove home two more runs for the Knights.
Weltzin then finished the job in the bottom of the eighth to clinch the Lakes Conference championship.
Northern is scheduled to play at Northville today, Wednesday, June 1, in the KLAA Championship game after it was postponed on Wednesday, May 25 and Friday, May 27 because of rain.
The Knights began play in the state district tournament on Tuesday, May 31 in the South Lyon district, along with Walled Lake Central, Walled Lake Western, Brighton and host South Lyon.