By Kaia Zimmerman
The Grand Rapids Community College softball team secured their first win of the season on March 23, in a double-header against Glen Oaks Community College, 4-0, and lost the other, 6-4.
The team saw a huge improvement on both sides of the ball to get the win. Head Coach Brian Skudre felt the defense was the biggest improvement overall and helped the team get their first win.
“Overall we showed a lot of improvement,” said Skudre. “Defense was a big improvement. Our infield and outfield played really well together and communicated well together. I think that was our biggest improvement from last weekend’s games.”
In the first game, the Raiders were led by sophomore Alexa Abrahamson on the mound who pitched her first shutout of the season with three strikeouts and while only giving up eight hits.
“(Our catcher) was calling great pitches,” Abrahamson said. “When she works hard, it makes me want to work hard for her and for all the other girls.”
The Raiders got off to a quick start with a single by freshman Krin Beach and a bunt single by sophomore Kate Stearns. Shortly after, redshirt freshman Alexis Ngyuen hit a double to score Beach and Stearns taking an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nguyen scored after a well executed first and third situation play to extend the lead 3-0. With the support of the Raiders defense, Abrahmson continued her dominance on the mound to hold the Vikings to zero runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Nguyen reached on an error and stole a base to get into scoring position, which led to a RBI single for redshirt freshman Brooklynne Siewertsen to extend the Raiders lead 4-0. The Vikings tried to mount a comeback in the top of the seventh when they got a few runners on, but fell short after a few great defensive plays by the Raiders.
The team was excited to get the first win of the season, and Skudre hoped this win would give them momentum for the upcoming games.
“It’s nice to get that first win in over a year,” said Skudre. “It’s good for the girls, and good for the program. Hopefully it starts to propel us to more.”
Redshirt freshman Mariah Redding would get the start for the Raiders in the second game.
The Raiders would have another good start after a single by Beach and a double by Stearns to put two runners in scoring position. Nguyen reached on a bunt single and two runs scored after an overthrow to first base giving the Raiders a 2-0 lead. After another error, Nguyen scored extending the lead for the Raiders, 3-0.
In the bottom of the second, Redding would get her second home run of the season to give the Raiders a 4-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Vikings would score off a fielder’s choice ground out and sacrifice fly to decrease the Raiders lead, 4-2.
In the top of the sixth, the Vikings hit a three-run double to take the lead over the Raiders, 5-4, leading to a pitching change, and Abrahamson would go back on the mound. The Vikings would score one more after an RBI single going up, 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, a controversial call by the umpire infuriated the Raiders. Freshman Kaylie Andres’ went to slap the ball, a technique where left-handed batters start a running motion while hitting the ball, and dropped her bat near where the ball landed. The umpire said the ball hit the bat twice when she dropped it on the ground leading to her being out. The Raiders along with most of the spectators felt the ball wasn’t touched by the bat, and were not happy with the call. GRCC would end up going three and out in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.
The Raiders will look to continue the success of the first game when they travel to Shepard to face Mid-Michigan College on Friday, March 26 at 1 p.m.