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GRCC softball wins outright series, defeating the Lakers three out of five games

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Courtesy of GRCC Athletics

Heading into the five game series against Mid Michigan, the Grand Rapids Community College softball team looked to finish games out. The Raiders won three out of the five games along with the series spanning from Thursday, March 30 to Sunday, April 2 in Shepherd. 

In the first game of the double header, both pitchers dominated the first five innings, as a combined one run was given up by both teams. The Raiders failed to get a single hit in this span while the Lakers only had three hits.. Freshman pitcher Izabella Regner kept the Raiders in the game with nine strikeouts heading into the top of the sixth inning. Another hitless inning allowed the Lakers to take advantage, as they scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-0 lead. In the final inning, freshman Lauren James singled to left field, allowing freshman Madison Lemke to score for the Raiders. However, GRCC’s effort was too late as the Lakers defeated the Raiders 5-1. 

The Raiders had a staggering three hits, but the team was more focused on improving at the plate in the second game of the double header. 

“Our offense was definitely a point of emphasis following our first game against Mid Michigan,” Regner said. “We felt we played well defensively the first game, but we just needed to improve our hitting heading into that second game.”

The second game provided a completely different atmosphere, as both teams struck gold at the plate. The Lakers started the game off with four runs in the first inning forcing the Raiders to answer. In the top of the second inning, a wild pitch allowed freshman Brynn McArthur to score. Freshman Macy Huver singled to right field allowing two other Raiders to score. Mid Michigan continued their momentum as they took a 9-3 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning. From this point on, the Raiders dominated at the plate as they combined for a total of 17 hits and 17 runs. The scoring began with sophomore Jaye Guichelaar hitting a double which scored one run. Later in the inning, freshman Lauren James hit a homerun to tie the game 9-9. The Raiders scored three more runs in the inning, increasing their lead to 12-9. Heading into the top of the sixth, GRCC led 12-10, but went on another run to increase the lead to 10 runs, Led by freshman Vanessa Hewitt’s home run and an error from the Lakers, GRCC took control of the game and would win 20-10. 

The Raiders combined for 21 hits and 17 RBI’s throughout the game which improved the team’s confidence heading into the final three games of the series. 

The first game of the double header on Sunday, April 2, saw GRCC jump to a 3-0 lead immediately in the first inning. A James single allowed Regner to score the first run, McArthur doubled bringing in James, and lastly, freshman Alyssa Wierenga reached first which led to McArthur scoring. However, the Lakers responded over two innings as they minimized the deficit to one run. The Raiders went on a cold-streak throughout the remainder of the game as they totaled nine hits while only scoring one more run. The one run came from freshman Samara Kolehouse’s homerun in the sixth inning which gave the lead 4-3. Mid Michigan seized the opportunity in the late part of the game as they scored the final four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Lakers held onto their 7-4 lead taking the first game of three. 

In the final two games, GRCC dominated both at the plate and on the mound winning by an average of 9.5 runs. The first game was a complete display of excellence by the Raiders. They jumped to a 5-1 lead after the first inning led by a Kolehouse double which scored two runs. In the next two innings, the Raiders were momentarily cold at the plate which resulted in the lead changing to 5-2. But in the final three innings, the Raiders shut out the Lakers while scoring eight runs. Regner dominated on the mound with 10 total strikeouts while James and Kolehouse continued scoring for the Raiders. GRCC finished the game in six innings which led to a 13-2 victory. 

The last game between the Raiders and Lakers proved to be the best performance by GRCC in the series. Similar to the previous game, the Raiders started the game off strong as Wierenga hit a home run in the second inning which gave GRCC a 3-0 lead. Regner followed that up with another home run in the third inning adding to the GRCC lead. Other than an error in the third inning, Regner did not give up any runs as she had 12 strikeouts throughout the game. The Raiders continued to impress at the plate, scoring four runs in the fifth inning as a McArthur double and Kolehouse home run increased the lead to seven runs. When the game ended, GRCC defeated Mid Michigan by the score of 9-1. 

Regner was impressed with the team’s ability to improve their hitting throughout the series and believes the team is getting more confident. 

“After having great team success at the plate against Mid Michigan, we learned what we need to do to continue hitting the ball,” Regner said. “Our defense was great against Mid Michigan and I saw many of my teammates wanting to make plays while being determined to get on base.” 

McArthur agreed with her fellow teammate on the defensive dominance while also having a few things to improve on heading into Thursday’s rematch with Delta College. 

“Our defense was extremely good in the Mid Michigan series and the hitting came along especially in the third game when we stayed back on the ball,” McArthur said. “A few things to work on are pushing for two games of clean defense against Delta, hitting our pitches in the box while ‘spitting’ on others.”

The Raiders improved to 11-9 on the season and 4-4 in conference play. They face Delta College in the make-up from last week’s cancellation of Friday, April 7, starting at 2 p.m at Belknap Park. 

Head coach Chuck White was content with the series win and believes defense is the key to beating Delta. 

“We’re getting better defensively every game, we’re finding more consistency on the mound and at the plate, and winning the Mid Michigan series was huge,” White said. “Delta has a great hitting team so we need to play solid defense to win.”

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