BATTLE CREEK, Mich -- Summerfield fell to Dansville 3-2 in the Division 4 state championship game, ending its quest at three consecutive Michigan titles in softball.
The Aggies scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead before sophomore pitcher Meagan Kelly retired the Bulldogs 1-2-3 in the seventh to end the game.
"We played all this time, and we knew we could beat them," said Summerfield left fielder Hayley Wahl. "It hurts."
Wahl was nearly the hero of the game, laying down a bunt in the fifth inning and scoring when the throw sailed over first and into the right-field corner.
"I just bunted it and then I saw the girl threw it over first, and I just kept running," she said. "When I crossed home I was really excited. I haven't gotten a bunt down in a while."
But Dansville answered in the sixth. Paige Galbreath hit a two-out single to left to score Hailey Mays with the tying run. Taylor Hoeffling followed with a double to score Galbreath.
For Summerfield, the loss is especially bitter in a game where eight Bulldog runners were stranded on base. That followed a semifinal game in which the Bulldogs didn't score until the sixth inning in a win overMt. Pleasant Sacred Heart.
"We had trouble with defense this weekend," said Summerfield coach Robert Taylor. "We had trouble running the bases this weekend. We left way too many runners on base this weekend. This just wasn't Summerfield softball that we're familiar with."
The Bulldogs had a chance to score in the third when Olivia Ostroskey stole second base and the throw went into center field, but after another overthrow at third, she attempted to score and was thrown out at the plate.
Summerfield threatened again, loading the bases in the fourth before Dansville got out of the jam.
After Wahl's run in the fifth, the Bulldogs had two on with no one out, but could not push across a second run.
The teams traded runs in the first inning. Brittni Collins doubled to the wall with two-out in the top of the first, and Taylor Goodin followed with a double of her own to make it 1-0.
Dansville answered when Rebekah Guy tripled with two out and scored on a single by Evy Lobdell.
Making things more difficult in the final was the schedule for the day.
Summerfield had to leave the team hotel in Battle Creek early in the day and arrive at Bailey Park not knowing exactly when it would play. The Division 1 final went to extra innings, pushing the start of the Summerfield game back over an hour.
"It's not good for the other team either," Taylor said. "But I think it had more of an adverse effect on us than it did them."
In her final game in a Summerfield uniform, Emily Puterbaugh struck out six, including back-to-back strikeouts in the fifth inning with a runner on third to get out of the inning.
"Emily in my opinion is probably the best pitcher in this state," Taylor said. "I don't know that her breaking ball was breaking as good as it should have today. She's a wonderful kid. She's had a great career."
In her career, Puterbaugh struck out more than 1,100 batters while rarely walking any.
Summerfield finishes the season 34-4 after a third consecutive trip to Battle Creek.
"They have nothing to be ashamed of," Taylor said.
"Even as state runners-up, there's a whole lot of people who would give anything to be where you are. I'm proud of [Dansville]. They worked hard. They were on a mission. I give them a lot of credit."