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GRCC infielder, Sam Adams, takes a ground ball during practice. Photo by John Rothwell

By Andy McDonald – Collegiate Staff

The Grand Rapids Community college softball team will not be in action this spring after its season was canceled due to a lack of players.

“We had to cancel the season because we did not have a large enough roster,” said GRCC Athletic Director Orletta Caldwell, explaining that turnout was low at tryouts. “We are going to field a team next season.”

Jalen Ventrone has been playing softball since grade school and is now in her first semester at GRCC.

“At the beginning of the first semester they had 14 players trying out,” Ventrone said. “When I came, five quit and one was injured, leaving us with only nine to practice.”

Last season the Raiders only had 10 players on the roster, with three being sophomores. Jennifer Bourbina was in just her first season as the head coach.

“We just did not have the required number of participants,” Caldwell said. “Therefore we had to cancel this season.”

Ventrone was disappointed to find out the news about the team being cancelled for the season.

“I was very disappointed to say the least,” Ventrone said. “I just moved from two hours away to play just to find out that I wouldn’t have a team.”

Ventrone and a few other players were on scholarship to play. There were 13 scholarships with an average of $412 per player. The range of the scholarships went from $200-$700 per player, while $9,700 in scholarship/grant funding was totaled for the 2015-16 academic year. Ventrone and her teammates did get to keep the scholarships.

At least nine players need to be on the field to play a game, but normally the lowest a team would have is 12 players. GRCC only had nine players able to play going into the season.

The players who were going to be on the team in the spring do not lose any years of eligibility to play a sport in college since the season is not happening.

The team had a golf fundraiser in September to raise money for equipment, spring training, and scholarship funds.

In the 2015 season, the softball team went 12-30, and 11-21 in conference. They finished the season on a four-game losing streak.

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