by RANDY GREGORY
The Rockford varsity softball team now stands at 4-0 in OK Red play after thumping Grand Haven twice last week by scores of 13-1 and 13-5. That sets the stage for a pivotal week for the Rams as they travel to Grandville on Tuesday, May 1, and Hudsonville on Thursday, May 3, for a pair of doubleheaders that will go a long way toward deciding the eventual conference champion.
Rockford also pounded Greenville twice on Monday, April 23, by scores of 12-6 and 10-0. They closed out the week by making the trek to Mount Pleasant on Saturday, April 28, where they went 1-2. All four Ram losses this year have been in tournament settings and by only one run. The Rams lost to West Branch Ogemaw Heights 4-3 and Mount Pleasant 3-2 before regrouping to pummel Beal City 13-3.
“We saw some tougher pitching in Mount Pleasant than we have seen so far this year,” said Rockford Coach Troy Brown. “That will serve us well going forward and prepare us for the type of pitching we will see this week. Grandville and Hudsonville are both excellent teams, and we will need to play our best to come out on top of them.”
Ashley Mengyan was the winning pitcher in the first game against Grand Haven and got the save in relief of Carmen Zeboor in the second game. Zeboor had two hits and four RBIs in the opener and Hannah Pattok added two hits as well. Jessi Ramos also chipped in with a two-bagger. Megan Port had three hits in the nightcap and Isabelle Mudgett, Lexie Brown, Rachel Feinauer and Ramos all had a pair of hits.
Mengyen and Zeboor pulled off the back-to-back wins against Greenville on Monday also. Lyndsey Bettig tossed the final inning in relief in the opener. Mudgett had four hits in the opener and was aided by Mackenzie Vallad, Zeboor and Brown (three RBIs) with a pair of hits each. Ramos and Brown both had two hits and three RBIs in the second contest, while Port and Vallad added two apiece also.
Mengyen was the tough luck loser in both of the losses on Saturday, despite pitching some solid softball. The Rams fell in extra innings to Mount Pleasant and in the bottom of the sixth to Ogemaw Heights. Pattok was the only Ram with multiple hits in the opener of the tourney on Saturday against Ogemaw Heights. Feinauer and Vallad both ripped a pair of hits to pace the Rams against Mount Pleasant.
Zeboor got the lone win against Beal City on Saturday while fanning six and walking only two. Karlee Tykosky had a trio of hits to lead a potent Ram offensive onslaught. Port, Vallad and Ramos all added a pair of hits in the easy win.
One of Ramos’ hits was a home run that saw the sophomore catcher circle the bases in record time.
“I think I timed Jessi [Ramos] in about 10.5 seconds,” said Coach Brown. “She circled the bases so fast I don’t think any of her teammates made it to the plate in time to greet her.”
Rockford is now 13-4 overall on the season as they await the key games this week. They will close out the week with a short trip to Northview on Saturday, May 5, to participate in the Wildcats’ annual tournament that brings together several of the top teams in the greater Grand Rapids area.
“We need someone to step up and make plays to help us win games,” said Coach Brown. “Not make plays that ultimately come back to bite us and cause us to come up short. If we can stay away from key mistakes, we have a solid chance to come out ahead this week.”