MONTICELLO – Woodlan’s softball team knows all about the frustration that a good, overpowering pitcher can provide.
The Warriors, after all, have Hannah Robbins.
So they couldn’t grimace too much after their 7-1 loss Saturday night to Andrean at the Class 3A Twin Lakes Semistate. Woodlan was stymied in the semistate title game by senior pitcher Nicole Steinbach, a Ball State recruit.
Steinbach gave up four hits, struck out nine and walked two in seven innings.
The only run she gave up came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when junior Logan Smead hit an RBI groundout that scored sophomore Haley Hostetler.
“She’s definitely a good pitcher, one of the best that we’ve seen so far,” said Woodlan senior Madelynne Hostetler, who hit a double in the sixth inning for her team’s only extra-base hit.
“If you talk to anybody who was in a game like that, they’ll tell you they left plenty of opportunities out there. But that’s not to take anything away from (the 59ers); they hit the ball well, pitched well and fielded well. They’re a good team.”
Eighth-ranked Andrean (27-4) advanced to the state finals for the fifth time in seven years and will face Edgewood (21-11) on Saturday.
Junior Savannah Kinsella paced the 59ers’ offense. The leadoff hitter scored four runs, had one hit, walked once and reach base twice on errors.
Andrean junior Morghyn Neal was 2 for 4 with a first-inning home run, a double and two RBI. Senior Kaitlin Barajas was 2 for 4 with a sixth-inning home run, a double and three RBI.
The 59ers got eight hits off Robbins (31-2), a junior, who struck out 11 and walked three.
In the semifinals, the second-ranked Warriors (33-2) also got 11 strikeouts from Robbins in an 11-4 victory over South Bend St. Joseph’s (17-11). In that game, Woodlan outhit the Indians 15-11, and Andrean got to the finals with a 3-2 victory over Yorktown (24-7).
Then, it was time for Steinbach to shine against Woodlan, which was the Class 2A runner-up last year. She’s given up only nine earned runs this year and walked 23 batters.
“We ran into a really good softball team today,” Woodlan coach Barry Ehle said. “They hit the ball really well and have a great pitcher. They always say that good pitching will always beat good hitting, and that was evident tonight.
“But it was a good year. This (Andrean) team that we played is the 3A runner-up from last year, and we knew it was going to be tough. This was our game that we had to get through to have a chance for us to get a state title.”
Woodlan sophomore Burgundy Price was 2 for 3. And junior Lauren Braaten had the other Warriors hit.
“We definitely respect Andrean. They played a really good game, even though it didn’t turn out like we wanted,” said Madelynne Hostetler, an Eastern Michigan recruit. “But we respect everything they did and wish them the best of luck next weekend.”