The Grand Rapids Community College softball team lost a pair of one-run games to the Jackson College Jets 6-5 and 3-2 Tuesday afternoon at Belknap Park in Grand Rapids.
In game one of the double-header, the Raiders jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the second inning thanks to a pair of Jets’ errors. The Jets recovered from their early stumble and chipped away at the lead until they took a 6-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning.
The Raiders tried to mount a comeback that fell just short. They added two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull within one run but couldn’t muster another one. All five Raiders’ runs were unearned runs while three of the six runs scored by Jackson were unearned.
Alexis Abrahamson (1-6) took the loss for the Raiders in game one. She struck out three batters over seven innings and gave up seven hits, three earned runs and three walks. Sierra Stoepker went 2-for-3 at the plate while Andi Chipman went 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored.
When game two got underway, the weather had made a drastic shift. From the start of game one to the start of game two, the temperature had dropped 17 degrees, the winds had picked up and rain began to fall.
With the colder weather, hits were hard to come by for both teams. The Jets jumped on the Raiders early scoring two runs in the first inning. They added another run in the third to take a 3-0 lead.
Aaron Kietzman broke the shutout in the bottom of the third when she singled to left field. Chipman went to second and then advanced home on a throwing error from the Jets. The game stayed 3-1 until the bottom of the seventh when the Raiders were down to their final chance.
With one out and Taylor Goorhouse on first base, Abrahamson popped a ball up into no man’s land that ended up falling. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Goorhouse was thrown out at second leaving the Raiders with two outs and still only a runner on first.
The next pitch got past the catcher allowing Abrahamson to advance to second. The next batter, Kate Stearns, hit a double scoring Abrahamson and pulling the Raiders within one. That was the last hit, however, and much like game one, the comeback fell just short and the Jets held on to win 3-2.
Raiders’ head coach Brian Skudre was pleased with how his team performed on Tuesday despite the loss. He said if they can tighten up on a few aspects of their game, then they’ll be in great shape.
“Overall, we’re showing that we can play with big teams in the league,” Skudre said. “We’re giving them the games right now. If we clean that up, we’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with… but until we get rid of the mental errors, it’s gonna be tough to not beat ourselves every time.”
Chipman mentioned the team has been trying to maintain their focus between and during games. She felt like they did a good job of that Tuesday, but couldn’t overcome a few mental errors.
“I felt like our focus was pretty steady for two games which is huge,” Chipman said. “It was just mental errors that we let spiral into bigger errors that should’ve just been not a big deal.”
Chipman was 2-for-3 with a run in the second game. Stearns was 1-for-3 and had the team’s only RBI. Brooke Klein (1-6) went all seven innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and a walk in the loss.
Skudre recognizes that his team isn’t quite where they want to be, but he thinks they’re just on the outskirts ready to take the next step.
“We just have more to build on,” Skudre said. “We’re so close, we’re so close. I think once we go over that hill, once we get on top of the hill and go over that thing, you’re gonna see a different team next time around.”
The two losses drop the Raiders to 2-4 in conference play. They’ll be in Donaldson, Indiana on Thursday, April 4 for a double-header against the Ancilla College Chargers starting at 3 p.m.