by RANDY GREGORY
The Rockford varsity softball team struggled to a 0-4 record on the week against a pair of solid opponents. The Rams first dropped a pair of games to West Ottawa on Tuesday, May 8, by scores of 7-2 and 5-3. They then fell twice on Thursday, May 10, to the two-time defending Division II state champions from Stevensville Lakeshore by scores of 10-4 and 4-2. The losses dropped Rockford’s record to 17-12 on the season, but it was a learning experience for a young Ram squad, according to Rockford Coach Troy Brown.
“West Ottawa threw a four-year starter on the mound against us in both games, and Stevensville Lakeshore is a powerhouse program year after year that is ranked first in the state again this year,” said Brown. “Except for some uncharacteristic defensive lapses during the week, we were right there and just couldn’t come up with a key hit to put us over the top. The growth of this team from the beginning of the year up till now is amazing. We will benefit from this and move forward.”
The Panthers of West Ottawa and Rockford both totaled 18 hits in the two contests. The Panthers strung theirs together and the Rams didn’t; it was as simple as that. Ashley Mengyen suffered the loss in the opener in a route-going performance. Mengyen allowed 10 hits and walked three while striking out six. Carmen Zeboor had a double and Hannah Pattok had both runs batted in (RBIs) for Rockford. Zeboor took the loss in the nightcap while allowing eight hits, walking three and fanning two. Megan Port, Isabelle Mudgett and Lexie Brown all had a pair of hits for Rockford. Lexie Brown’s hits were both doubles and she had all three RBIs.
The Rams committed four errors in the first inning of the opening contest against Stevensville Lakeshore to fall into a quick 4-0 hole they couldn’t crawl out of. Mengyen took the loss and gave up 11 hits while walking three and striking out three. Kayla Tykosky had a triple and Mackanzie Vallad and Rachel Feinauer added doubles. Zeboor had six strike-outs while walking three and allowing only seven hits in the back end of Thursday’s twin bill. Mudgett had a perfect three-for-three showing at the plate and Karlee Tykosky chipped in with a pair of base knocks.
This week the Rams will host Jenison on Tuesday, May 15 (too late for press) in an OK Red doubleheader before venturing to Ionia for a tournament on Saturday, May 19.
“I really feel that this team is ready to go on a roll now,” said Coach Brown. “We have played some of the absolute best teams in the state over the last few weeks and seen some of the best pitching in the state over that same time frame. We prep all year for the OK Red season and the playoffs. The players and the coaches have learned a lot about each other and it is time for us to take advantage of all that we have learned.”