Line Drive Express continues to flourish
For most, summer time marks the break from the grind, the departure from the responsibilities of school and work. It’s a time to relax and rejoice in the dead days of summer. It’s time spent on the beach, or long road trips to place unknown, and adventures that will be untold for years to come. But for others, it’s war.
It’s not just war for the sake of war; it war for the sake of conquest. It’s about taking siege on the surrendering area’s best teams and battling it out on the diamond to claim supremacy. It’s about winning, so much so that assembling the war-horse trumpets inner-league rivalries and geographical distances in the hopes of taking home prestigious tournaments in the hopes of punching a ticket to the National Tournament.
Coach Chad Haberland’s Line Drive Express team is a perfect example of hardened savages opting out of the summer fun to satisfying their hunger for scorched Earth. Hand plucked from North Central Michigan, Haberland’s team boast some of the gnarled and grizzled ballers of the Jack Pine Conference, taking some of the best from the league’s two archaic rivals: The Meridian Mustangs and the Beaverton Beavers.
On the diamond, Meridian’s Blake Garner, Beth Stroup, Heather McNett and Morgan Cassiday have locked horns with Beaverton’s Tiffany Stewart, Nicole Soloman and Brandi Butler in some of the most raucous affairs during their careers. But none of that matters when they have the opportunity to put the mash-dance on the girls of summer.
The collective talent of the Beal City regime (Jordan Scheider, Kim Rowe, and Kelsey Flaugher) in addition to Clare’s Laura Walton has turned the Line Drive Express into an absolute freakish nightmare for the competition.
The Line Drive Express just ran the gambit at the Byron Center, going 4-2 against some stiff competition.
They started off against the MI Force battalion, taking a nip and tuck affair 5-4.
Force jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but the bruising Blake Garner answered back with a solo shot over the centerfield fence to send shivers across the opposition’s dugout. The Express knotted the game up in the bottom of the second when Morgan Cassiday laid patient in the box, watched the meatball slip out the strike zone and took her base on balls. Perched up on first, Cassiday quickly started spinning up dust around the bases when Laura Walton yoked on a fatty down the middle. With Cassiday in scoring position, Tiffani Stewart uncorked on the big ball and sent a steamer into centerfield to give Cassiday the green light to boogie romp home and make it a 2-2 ball game.
The lost a tight game 2-1 to the Sabercats of Dalton 2-1 in international tie-breaking rules, but followed up with a 6-1 throttling of the Lookouts of Johnston.
Haberland’s girls slopped up a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Blake Garner refused to eat garbage at the plate and moseyed onto to first plate. Sensing the pitching having a lack of control, Beth Stroup followed suite and put the onus on the pitcher and again took her freebie. Then Jordan Schneider walked and with the bases fully loaded to the brim, Brandi Butler put the flex on the moneyball and drove in a pair of runs to make it a 2-0 ball game.
Kim Rowe would keep the competition at bay and the nasty interior defense Butler, Stewart, and Garner would prove to be too much in the 6-1 victory.
Butler flipped a pair of RBI’s and stroked double singles to pace the offensive assault.
They then took one on the chin from MBS Jets, losing 5-0 as their sticks were unable to push the pinball through the initial wave of defense. But again, the girls rebounded in convincing fashion, gritting past the Browns to show the resiliency and resolve of an old beaudoin wandering the waste lands, baking under the hot sun in search of just a bit of water to brew his Lipton tea.
The Express were down early, 6-1 after two innings of play, but then Coach Haberland unleashed the devil-dogs in the top of the 4th to score 5 runs and tie it up. Kim Rowe dotted the ball, then Nicole Solomon spanked a single, and the mojo was pumping. Walton ripping past the 3rd baseman to send Rowe flashing home, and the runs started to pour in – and as they say in the pews on Sunday, their cups over flowed with mercy and goodness.
Flaugher, Garner, and Stroup all went into attack mode and drain RBI’s into the outfield to clear the paths.
In the tie-breaker, Butler started off on second, skirted to the corner off a Solomon rocket and then flashed home on a bad throw to take the 7-6 victory. Rowe snatched the win on the mound.
In the final game of the weekend, the Express bellied down on the Sabercats 9-3 off the strong pitching of Heather McNett and some timely hits by Kim Rowe, Brandi Butler, and Morgan Cassiday.