Rams’ Graham freezes Falcons The Rockford Rams varsity softball team won three battles last Thursday, March 25, but only two will show up on the won-lost record at the end of the season. Besides sweeping the Falcons of West Catholic in a season-opening doubleheader at Rockford’s home field, the Rams also had to withstand Mother Nature in a test of will and determination as temperatures plummeted to 40 degrees and the winds picked up to about 25 mph, making conditions nearly unbearable. But withstand they did, as the Rams won the games by scores of 4-0 and 14-0, and finally outlasted the elements, showing off great defense, timely hitting and aggressive base-running along the way. A standout performance by junior pitcher Tricia Graham highlighted the day. After West Catholic’s leadoff hitter reached base on and error and advanced to third base with nobody out, Graham worked her magic in the clutch by striking out the next three batters in succession to escape the scoring threat. Only one more Falcon player reached base in game one, when Graham hit a batter with a pitch with one out in the sixth inning. And in the seventh inning, third baseman Leah Oliver snagged a hard one-hop ground ball to her glove side that looked to be headed into left field for a base hit, and subsequently threw out the batter at first base, preserving the no-hitter for Graham. Offensively for the Rams in game one, Graham led the way with a pair of doubles, the first of which plated leadoff hitter and Cornerstone University-bound Lauren Pasciak all the way from first. The game was still tight until the fourth inning. With the Rams clinging to a 1-0 lead, catcher Karli Showers, who will play next year at Grand Rapids Community College, led off with a bunt single. Sophomore Kayla Tykosky followed with a walk, and the Rams played “small ball” to score three in the inning and supply some breathing room. A nice sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Katie Chapin and a throwing error on the play led to a run, and another came home on a single by right fielder Morgan Ruchty. It was more of the same in game two, as Graham again blanked the […]
April 1 2010
In a test of strength and endurance, the Rockford Rams crew team showed themselves to be the best in West Michigan by claiming first place at the Indoor Spring Sprints, held at Forest Hills Central High School on Saturday, March 27. This an annual event involves indoor rowing on ERG machines. Rowers are placed in heats according to their event (i.e. novice, lightweight, open weight, etc.). The competition was strong, as all rowing teams from West Michigan gathered to race and gain points for their team. With true team effort, the Rams pulled out another victory and placed rowers in the top five point positions in every event. Placing in the top five and earning points for the Rams were: • novice men: Alex Welch (first), Mitch Griffiths (second), Ben Pitts (fourth), Corey Fase (fifth) • novice women: Lindsey Marvin (first), Ali Prus (second) • lightweight men: Harrison Webb (fourth) • lightweight women: Andrea Galloway (second), Andrea Gleghorn (fourth), Raechel Wrona (fifth) • coxswain men: Jake Nemeth (third), Mark Nadeau (fifth) • coxswain women: Sam Tefft (third) • men’s openweight: Jake Madsen (first), TJ Jacobs (second), Austin Burris (third) • women’s openweight: Olivia Kacsits (second) The Rams will head to Columbus, Ohio on April 17, where they will compete against 37 teams in the Hoover Invitational. They are scheduled to race at the Grand Rapids Invitational on Saturday, April 24. There is no admission fee for this event and all fans are invited to attend.
The opening game for the men’s Rockford rugby team was a heartbreaking defeat on Wednesday, March 24. The Rams controlled play early on, placing pressure on a Traverse City (TC) defense which was willing to bend but not break. Rockford worked the ball within the TC 22-meter line on a number of occasions, but came up empty handed on each attempt to score. TC didn’t mount its first sustained attack until late into the first half. Unfortunately for the Rams, it ended in a try. To make matters worse, the TC kicker easily slotted the conversion kick, pushing the score to 7-0 TC. Although undersized in comparison to their competitors from the north, the Rockford forwards dominated the scrums, consistently driving the TC pack backwards in the scrums. The Rams looked to get their first points on the board in the final minute of the half, but could not maintain possession of the ball to the ground and ended the half trailing 12-0. Following the short intermission, the Rams started the second half in much the same fashion as the first, dominating at each breakdown and putting together a number of nice movements. Unfortunately, as the half wore on, so did the size of the TC team. Despite their best efforts, the Rams were unable to prevent TC from pushing a few more tries over the line. Rockford will look to use their experiences from this early season setback to improve for their upcoming game next week. On Tuesday, March 30, the men’s and women’s Rockford rugby teams took their home field against Grandville at Roguewood Elementary School. The Rams will be off for spring break, but the men’s rugby team will be back on home field April 16 against Catholic Central.
To determine who was the best National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II men’s basketball team in the nation, 32 select basketball teams from around the U.S. gathered in Point Lookout, Mo. from March 10 to 16. Michigan had three very good teams qualify for the national championship this year. Of these three teams, four Rockford graduates saw their first action at the college level in these national spotlight games. Cornerstone University’s Brian Pasciak, Davenport University’s Gabe Vanderjagt and Jon Prins, and Spring Arbor University’s Matt VanPelt, all Rockford graduates, helped their teams qualify for this year’s tournament. Pasciak played all 36 games for Cornerstone this year, and averaged over nine points per game to help them win the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular season championship. Cornerstone then won the WHAC tournament. Vanderjagt and Prins both helped Davenport finish the season with the team’s best finish in school history, winning 23 games under second-year coach Burt Paddock. Davenport finished second in the WHAC with an 11-3 record. Vanderjagt saw action in all 33 games and moved into the starting rotation. VanPelt helped Spring Arbor to a 10-6 conference record and 23-11 overall to qualify for the national tournament. Davenport University has other Rockford graduates’ help to compliment Vanderjagt and Prins’ efforts. Alex Briggs, a member of Rockford’s only state high school basketball championship team, is an assistant coach at the university. Aaron Sagraves, a 2000 Rockford graduate, is the sports information director for Davenport. Gene Halbert of Rockford is the lead play-by-play announcer for the Davenport Athletics Network’s worldwide Internet broadcasting system.
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