by RANDY GREGORY
The Rockford softball team waited for a little relief from the unseasonably harsh weather to kick off the 2013 season. The break finally came last week and the Rams showed that the bats stayed warm despite the forced climatic inactivity. The Rams sprinted out of the gate with a 6-3 record despite taking on a series of traditional powers.
Rockford opened with a pair of contests on Monday, April 22nd against Wyoming and split with the newly combined high school that brought together Rogers and Wyoming Park. The Rams took the opener 7-0 before falling 10-7 in the second game. Rockford then trounced East Kentwood in convincing fashion twice to kick off the OK Red schedule on Wednesday, April 24th by margins of 14-5 and 11-5.
Next up for Rockford was a showdown on Thursday, April 25th with defending state champion Hudsonville. The game began in stunning fashion for the Rams as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead headed into the fifth-inning. But the Eagles mounted an even more impressive retort that gave them an improbable 8-7 win over Rockford.
But the week was just a hair over half done as the Rams toppled Forest Hills Central on Friday, April 26th 4-0 before heading north to participate in a tournament in Mount Pleasant on Saturday, April 27th. Rockford ended the event with a 2-1 record and tied for the top spot with the host team. Rockford began by pounding West Ottawa 15-4 and followed that up by beating West Branch Ogemaw Heights 7-1. They then suffered their only loss of the weekend in suffering a 4-1 defeat to Mount Pleasant.
“It was great to get back on the field,” said Rockford coach Troy Brown. “We have been really clicking offensively and are averaging nearly eight runs a game while hitting .371 as a team. When that happens you will win a lot of games. There were just so many positives that came out of this week. It was disappointing to lose to Hudsonville after having the big lead, but the girls showed they definitely belong on the field with them.”
Swinging the hottest bat for Rockford has been Jessi Ramos, who is hitting a torrid .481. Isabelle Mudgett isn’t far behind at .417 and Karlee Tykosky has already knocked in twelve runs in the week-old season. Not to be outdone, Lexi Brown and Rachel Feinauer have both clubbed four doubles in the early going.
The pitching has been a tag team effort from Ashley Mengyan and freshman Chelsea Chesebro. Mengyan won both league games against East Kentwood before suffering the tough luck loss to Hudsonville. Chesebro took to the mound twice and allowed only one run total against Ogemaw Heights and Forest Hills Central.
“Ashley threw a couple of great games against East Kentwood and then tried to come back the next day against Hudsonville,” said Brown. “She gave it every thing she had but just kind of ran out of gas there at the end. She is an absolute workhorse for us.”
Rockford will have another ambitious schedule this week when they start out by taking on Grand Haven in another OK Red doubleheader on Tuesday, April 30th (too late for press). They then square off with Jenison on Wednesday and hope to reprise their earlier showing against West Ottawa on Thursday. They will close out the week with a trip to Northview for the Northview Invitational on Saturday.