Rockford softball begins OK Red play with 3 shutout wins

Rockford sophomore pitcher Tricia Graham delivers against Muskegon.

Rockford sophomore pitcher Tricia Graham delivers against Muskegon.

 

 

Senior Sadie Jensen rips a double versus Grand Haven.

Senior Sadie Jensen rips a double versus Grand Haven.

Rockford’s Lady Rams began the OK Red portion of their season in impressive fashion last week, starting with an 11-0 victory in Grand Haven on April 22. Tricia Graham completely shut down the Buc offense by allowing 0 hits, striking out 14 batters, and allowing just one walk on the day. Offensively, Graham and junior centerfielder Lauren Pasciak led the way with two hits and three runs batted in apiece.

 

 

Ram senior Carly Shutich is up against the Big Reds.

Ram senior Carly Shutich is up against the Big Reds.

On Friday, April 24, the Rams hosted the Muskegon Big Reds in a doubleheader. Both games ended with identical 15-0 scores in favor of the Rams. Game one featured strong hitting from junior second baseman Nicole Beemer, who went two-for-two and scored three runs, and senior shortstop Carly Shutich, who had two hits while scoring two and knocking in two more. On the mound, Graham won game one, allowing just one hit, and sophomore Peyton Wells won game two, allowing just one hit and one walk. In game two, senior outfielder Sadie Jensen homered and drove in three runs, while Graham had a pair of doubles and scored twice. Senior Taylor Sargent and junior Kristin Phillips also scored two runs in the win.

 

On Saturday, April 25, the Rams traveled to Frankenmuth to compete in the Swing Into Spring Tournament. The Rams won their first game of the day against Hartland 10-0 behind yet another gem by Graham, as she and her battery-mate Karli Showers combined for their fourth no-hitter of the young season, striking out 17. Offensively, senior third baseman Alex Fulbright scored three times and Pasciak belted a home run and drove in three runs.

In game two on Saturday, Rockford defeated Holly 12-4 behind a balanced offensive attack which featured home runs by Graham and Wells, who drove in three more runs to run her season RBI total to 20. Scoring two runs apiece were juniors Halley Pattok, who is batting 0.429 on the season, and speedy right fielder Morgan Ruchty, who already has 11 stolen bases in as many attempts.

In the final game of the day, the Rams were defeated for the first time this season, falling to host Frankenmuth in a rain-shortened five-inning game by a score of 7-0. The Eagles’ senior pitcher Heather Schultz shut down the potent Rockford bats and the home team took advantage of sloppy Ram defense, turning three errors into four unearned runs off Graham.

            The Rams (10-1 overall) continue OK Red play this week, traveling to rival Jenison on Tuesday, April 28, and then to Grandville on Thursday, April 30, for a twin bill against the Bulldogs. Playing alongside the varsity squad each of those days will be the Rockford junior varsity team, which as of last Thursday had outscored the opposition 70-21 on the season.

Rockford Women’s Rugby Club claims first victory

Rockford Women’s Rugby Club is victorious over Grandville.

Rockford Women’s Rugby Club is victorious over Grandville.

 

After being soundly beaten by Grandville High School’s women’s rugby team in their first-ever scrimmage a few weeks ago, the Rockford Women’s Rugby Club (RWRC) took their revenge in a match on Tuesday afternoon, April 21. The match was on Grandville’s home turf and took place in a freezing mixture of snow and rain. Led by two scores from Mallorie Webber and a two-point conversion kick from Jill Nelson, the final score was Rockford 12, Grandville 0.

“It was a total team effort and we’re very proud of our young women” said Head Coach Kaileigh Russo.

Rockford was solid in all phases of the match, displaying tenacious tackling, aggressive running, superb scrummaging, well-executed line-outs, and overall intensity. This all resulted in Rockford usually having the better field position of the two teams, which contributed greatly to the win.

The outcome of the game is especially sweet for the Rockford players, being that this is the first year for RWRC and only the club’s third game played ever.

Russo’s assistant coaches-namely Taru Nieminen, Jim Nelson, Mike (Kiwi) Taylor, Molly Schmidt and Rockford Rugby Football Club’s Tony Martinez and Zack Nelson-all contribute their time and knowledge about rugby to help the club.

            RWRC’s next game is Saturday, May 2, at the home pitch at Roguewood Elementary School against Redford. Come out to support Rockford’s newest full-contact sensation, Rockford Women’s Rugby Club.

Rams go 1-1 at Rogers’ annual Wooden Bat Tournament

Ryan Darby tosses to second base for an out.

Ryan Darby tosses to second base for an out.

 

Rams go 1-1 at Rogers’ annual Wooden Bat Tournament

 

 

The Rockford Rams varsity baseball team celebrates victory over Bay City Western and Grand Rapids Christian, winning the annual Sports Boosters tournament on Saturday, April 18.

The Rockford Rams varsity baseball team celebrates victory over Bay City Western and Grand Rapids Christian, winning the annual Sports Boosters tournament on Saturday, April 18.

Brian Baldwin pitches against Rogers High School.	Photo by KANDI JEZAK

Brian Baldwin pitches against Rogers High School. Photo by KANDI JEZAK

by JON STREET

 

Catholic Central (CC) beat Rockford High School 6-2 in the first game of the Rogers Ninth Annual Wooden Bat Tournament at Lamar Park on Saturday, April 25. Sophomore Brendan Penny went the distance and earned the victory. Rockford’s Taylor Masiewicz took the mound and the loss for Rockford while pitching five and two-thirds innings. Zach Martinek pitched the final one and one-third innings in relief.

 

Ethan Post pitches against Jenison. Photo by KANDI JEZAK

Ethan Post pitches against Jenison. Photo by KANDI JEZAK

Rockford helped CC early in the game by walking the bases loaded in the first inning. A two-run errant pick-off throw and a hit by Jordan Milanowski put CC up 3-0. CC returned the favor in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, the Rams’ Shane Street reached first on an error by the third baseman. John Vietengruber stroked a single, and a walk to Ryan Darby loaded the bases. A ground ball by Bryan Baldwin to the third baseman produced a two-run error. At the end of five innings, the score was 3-2.

 

CC was not done for the day however. In the top of the seventh inning, a pitch hit the leadoff batter. A bunt by Nathan Lowe, a walk to Michael Penny, followed by a balk put CC up 4-2. A sacrifice fly by Seth Holt put CC up 5-2. An error by the Rams allowed another run and produced the final score of 6-2.

Although Rockford’s bats were silent in the first game of the tournament, they came to life against Wyoming Rogers in the consolation game. Rockford defeated Rogers 13-3 and pounded out 13 hits. Kyle Lieckfelt took the loss for Rogers, while Baldwin pitched three and one-third innings for the victory. Keebs Erhart pitched the final one and two-thirds innings in a non-save situation.

Rogers had four hits on the day. Paul Thull drove Rogers’ first run in on a double in the first inning. Will Sheick drove a run in with a single in the second inning and Mason Fogler drove Rogers’ final run in the fourth inning with a single, too. All of the runs were unearned.

Rockford countered in the bottom of the first inning a leadoff walk to Erhart, a triple and an RBI by Christian Lienesch, a double and an RBI to Mike Parsell, a single and an RBI to Jon Lodden, and Masiewicz reached on an error. Street followed with a single and drove in two runs. After an out was recorded, Stuart Straw delivered a double and an RBI. After the dust settled, Rockford led 6-1.

In the second inning, Rogers recorded two quick outs. Lodden got the Rams going with a single, followed by consecutive walks to Masiewicz and Street. Ryan Jezak came to the plate and stroked a two-run single, and Straw delivered his second double of the afternoon. The final out of the inning was recorded and the Rams held a 10-2 lead.

In the third inning, Erhart legged out a double and was followed by consecutive singles by Lienesch and Parsell. Rogers recorded an out and Masiewicz delivered a sacrifice fly to center. Street had the final hit in the inning, a deep double to left field. At the end of the third inning, the Rams led 13-2. Rogers tacked on one in the fourth inning for the final score of 13-3.

            Lienesch led the Rams with three hits, while Parsell, Lodden, Street and Straw each had two hits. Parsell, Street, Jezak and Straw each had two RBIs, while Lienesch, Lodden and Masiewicz each contributed one RBI.

Majerle named Coach of the Year

Steve Majerle, Rockford’s varsity boys basketball coach, was recently named Regional Coach of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. Majerle guided the Rockford Rams to an undefeated OK Red conference championship, district championship and regional championship. The Rams finished the season with a 22-3 record. Majerle completed his 12th year as the boys basketball coach at Rockford High School with an overall record of 211-76. He will receive his award in Lansing on October 2, 2009.

Rockford girls soccer shoots lights out

Junior Ram Jordan Diffenderfer makes a play for the goal. Photo by Bret Doud

Junior Ram Jordan Diffenderfer makes a play for the goal. Photo by Bret Doud

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER

The Rockford soccer team was on fire Friday night, April 24, taking 29 shots and a record nine corner kicks against visiting Jenison. Three of the shots went in and many more could have if not for the formidable goal-keeping skills of the Wildcats’ Kelly Hevelhurst, who made 15 saves.

The Rams beat Jenison 3-0 for their sixth shutout of the season. Rockford controlled the action for most of the game, including the last few minutes when Hevelhurst was heard pleading with her teammates to help her out.

“These girls are still hungry for goals,” junior keeper Hevelhurst told her

Senior outside mid Rachel Doud outmaneuvers her Rockets opponent.

Senior outside mid Rachel Doud outmaneuvers her Rockets opponent.

teammates. “Don’t give up.”

 

Junior Kate Huyser scored first for the Rams on her second corner kick of the night. Her first corner, just four-and-a-half minutes into the game, found its way to Kayla Knoll, whose header went just wide and was caught by Hevelhurst. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Huyser sent a perfect corner toward the same spot, but it arched at the right time and sailed into the far-side netting.

The Rams, who are 5-2-2,  utilized their depth throughout the game, and Jordan Diffenderfer was one of those who came off the bench and proved how strong Rockford really is. Twenty-two minutes into the game, she outran the Jenison defense on a through-ball from Britanni Pierce and let it go with her left, but Hevelhurst made a great save. Not to be denied, she took a big throw-in from Katie Purvis on the edge of the six-yard box, sent it over to Rebekah Hazel on the other side, took the return pass, and drove it home with 33 seconds left in the first half.

Senior Rachel Doud closed out the scoring with 10 minutes left in the game with a shot right in front of the net. The goal was set up by a pass from Pierce in lots of traffic. Doud kicked the ball, which bounced off a Jenison defender, and then kicked it again, sending it on the ground past Hevelhurst.

Also giving Hevelhurst a workout throughout the night were Pierce, Hazel, Matti Graves, Tessa Heeringa, Syd Benda, and Sam Decker.

“She was a great goalie,” said Rockford Coach Amira Ponne. “Otherwise, we would have had at least three more goals. We are playing like a team. When we sub our bench, we are still scoring goals. It’s not about the individual; it’s about the team. We are finding our consistency. We are connecting as a team. Our philosophy has been possession, and they have bought into it. They are making longer passes and more through-balls.”

The Rams controlled the ball the entire game, and the Rockford defense never allowed a single Jenison shot.

On Thursday, April 23, the Rams were disappointed with a 2-2 tie against the visitors from Reeths Puffer. The Rockets got on the scoreboard first when Emily Lindebaum finished a well-placed free kick from Emily Swain right in front of the net 10 minutes into the game. Less than a minute later, the Rams answered back when Benda served it up to Doud right in front of the net, who sent it in past Rockets’ keeper Kelley LeMieux. The Rams took the lead nine minutes later when Huyser broke away from the Rockets’ defense and scored from close range.


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