The Grand Rapids Community College women’s softball team dropped both games against Kalamazoo Community College Saturday afternoon at Belknap Park, and bringing their record 3-24.
In the first of the two games, Raiders starting pitcher Casey Evans would pitch back to back scoreless innings, but the floodgates would bust open in the top of the third inning.
Doubles by three Cougar hitters would see them ahead 3-0 after the third inning, and a couple deep shots to center field over the head of center fielder Aaron Keitzman in the fifth would score three more points, putting Kalamazoo ahead by six.
The Raiders’ best chance to close the gap came from the bottom of the third with singles from Evans and Keitzman, and an infield rip by third baseman Stephanie Krutzke would load the bases.
However, a shallow pop-out off the bat of short stop Cierra Stoepker would end the only true threat of the game for the Raiders.
Third baseman Stephanie Kruskie would take over the mound and pitch the final two innings for the Raiders.
After giving up a lead-off single in the sixth inning, back to back RBI’s would score three more for the Cougars and ultimately seal the game with a final score of 9-0.
“I thought our pitching wasn’t too bad today, Casey and Josie (Manion) hung in there, but I thought it was Kalamazoo that were just really good at picking their spots and finding the gaps,” said Head Coach Briain Skudre after the game. “I told the team our defense needs to help our pitching out more and when there’s a play to be made, they need to step up and make it.”
In the second game, the Cougars’ bats once again came alive early on in the game, scoring three in the top half of the second inning.
The offensive onslaught would continue with two RBI doubles coming from Cougars catcher Dylan King who finished 3 for 3 and right fielder Amber Mazahem who tallied three RBI’s for her team.
The Raiders would get one back in the bottom of the second, with an RBI single from right fielder Mercedes Martinez, scoring Evans. In an exciting fifth inning, a lead-off single from Evans followed up by two big RBI doubles from Stoepker and outfielder Mikayla Beld would tighten the score.
“I really liked the way we battled back therein the second game and just kept fighting,” Skudre said. “I thought we were much more aggressive at the plate and did a better job of waiting for the right pitch to hit.”
Unfortunately for the Raiders though, the Cougars offense wasn’t finished as they would score four more big runs in the top of the seventh inning, pushing their lead to seven with a score of 14-6 cementing the victory for the Cougars.
Kalamazoo’s starting pitcher Megan Roberts pitched a solid game, giving up just seven hits, compared to Josie Manion and Evans who entered the game in the third, surrendering 16 hits to the Cougars.
With only a few weeks left in the Raiders’ season, Skudre had this to say about his team’s approach to finishing strong:
“Our team has great chemistry, and they’re just a really tight group. I’ll remind them don’t worry about records, just stay positive, keep playing hard and remember you’re playing for each other.”
The Raiders return home for a double header vs. Lansing Community College at 3 p.m. on Fri. April 27.