by RANDY GREGORY The preliminaries had been taken care of and the headliners were all set for the highly anticipated showdown between two of the state’s top baseball teams on Saturday, June 9 at Jenison in the Division I regional finals. The 30-4 Rockford Rams had topped a stubborn Grand Haven squad 5-2 and the 27-5 Hudsonville Eagles had beaten back a challenge from a solid Lowell team by a score of 7-3. This would be the rubber match between the two titans, who had split mercy-rule wins on their home fields against each other earlier in the regular season. Things began promisingly for Rockford as they pushed across three runs in the top of the second inning to jump out to an early lead. But that would be the high-water mark for Rockford, as their usually reliable defense collapsed with stunning regularity over the next two innings. The Eagles scored six runs of their own in the bottom of the second and added five more in the third to assume an 11-3 lead and basically seal the deal and a trip to the Division I quarterfinals. The contest concluded with a 12-4 Hudsonville victory. “Hudsonville has a very good hitting team and we just made too many errors that gave them extra chances and resulted in runs for them,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We had been a very resilient team this year and just battled our way through mistakes. But there were just too many of them today against a team as good as Hudsonville is. The kids fought all the way through till the end, and the team and individual players had outstanding seasons. We need to celebrate this team’s camaraderie and accomplishments and not dwell on a difficult day.” In Saturday’s opening game against Grand Haven, Rockford showed the resiliency they had exhibited on multiple occasions over the last few years. Grand Haven scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. A pair of Ram errors in that frame accounted for both runs, but Rockford answered back immediately with one run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Brent Showers drilled a double to left-center that scored Ian Stankus, who had […]
June 14 2012
by RANDY GREGORY Things appeared oh so promising for Rockford as the fifth inning wound to a close against Muskegon Mona Shores in regional action at Jenison on Saturday, June 9. The Rams had just pushed across a run to increase their lead to 3-1, and Ashley Mengyen had allowed only two hits while completely baffling the Sailor batters. Then, the roof seemingly caved in on Rockford. A cavalcade of hits by Mona Shores and errors (both physical and mental) by the Rams led to a four-run outburst that turned a two-run lead into a two-run deficit. Things got even worse for the Rams in the top of the seventh as the same combination of hits and errors led to six more runs crossing the plate for the Sailors. The 11-3 score stood up through the end of the contest and the Sailors advanced to the regional finals against Hudsonville. Hudsonville scored two runs in the seventh inning of the title tilt to edge Mona Shores 2-1 and advance to quarterfinal play. “That was kind of a microcosm of our season today,” said Rockford Coach Troy Brown. “Our theme in most of our losses this year has been to outplay teams for the vast majority of the game, but then have one inning where we kind of lose our focus. We had a lot of chances to build a bigger lead today, but we just couldn’t quite come up with the decisive hit. Give Mona Shores some credit, because they had several well-placed hits, but we played a part in it as well.” Mona Shores got on the board first with an opening inning homer, but Rockford had an immediate retort. Rachel Feinauer doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first to make it a 2-1 Rockford lead. Mackenzie Vallad singled in another run in the bottom of the fifth to set the stage for the fateful final two innings. Rockford pounded out 12 hits in the contest en route to leaving 10 runners on base. Mona Shores, as a point of contrast, left only four runners on while scoring 11. The Ram hit parade was led by Vallad with a perfect three-for-three showing. Both of Feinauer’s hits were doubles, […]
by RANDY GREGORY Ian Hearn hosted the first Ram Baseball Camp in 2008 with fewer than 60 participants. As the success of the program has multiplied exponentially over the last four years, attendance has multiplied correspondingly. This year, over 200 kids—from districts as wide ranging as Greenville, Sparta, Comstock Park and Big Rapids—have signed up so far. “When we started offering the camps we were a little disappointed in the turnout,” said head varsity coach Hearn. “We wanted to get it up to at least over a hundred. So we are very pleased with the growth we have experienced over the last few years. We think it is a good experience not only for the participants, but our baseball players as well.” This year will see two separate sessions offered. The first will be the pitching and catching portion to be held this Wednesday and Thursday, June 13 and 14. It will be broken down into three different age groups. Eighth- through tenth-graders will go from 8 to 9:30 a.m., fifth- though seventh-graders will run from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m., and first- through fourth-graders will have their turn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The other option available to participants is the Total Offense and Total Defense Clinic to be held from Monday through Wednesday, June 18-20. The eighth- through tenth-graders will meet from 8 to 10 a.m., second- through fourth-graders take part from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and fifth- through seventh-graders go at it from 1 to 3 p.m. for those three days. All of the coaches that comprise Rockford baseball at the high school level will be participating in the clinics. But it doesn’t stop there. Rockford’s varsity baseball team and several previous alumni will also play a pivotal role in teaching the finer points of “Ram Baseball.” This year’s graduating seniors are definitively main cogs in reaching heights that Rockford baseball had only dared dream of previously. The Rams have won three of the last four OK Red titles after not having won one in over 20 years. They have also captured various regular season tournament crowns, district and regional titles, and the school’s first-ever state championship with the Division I top spot in 2011. Individually the Rams have sent multiple […]
Have you wondered where the Rockford Rocket Cheerleaders have gone? Most of the surrounding schools have a Rocket cheer program, but the Rockford Rocket cheer program has become much smaller over the years as the cheerleaders get older and move on to the middle schools and high school cheer teams. The team moms, coaches and directors have gone with their cheerleaders as well. However, the Rockford Rocket Cheer program is coming back! The 2011 season the Rocket cheer program had three teams. The three teams were the second- and third-grade team from Valley View Elementary School (pictured), the fourth-grade team from Crestwood Elementary School, and a fifth-grade team from Crestwood Elementary School. The Rockford Rocket cheer program has a new director, Jenn Hephner, who stated she would like to see the cheer program soar to new heights for the 2012 season. The Rockford Rocket Cheerleading signups will take place on June 7 and 28 and July 12 and 26 at the Rockford High School cafeteria from 6 to 8 p.m. on each date. Registration will be $50 per cheerleader, which will include the 2012 cheerleader uniform and pom-poms. Also needed are team moms and eighth-grade to varsity cheerleaders to help coach the Rocket cheerleaders. For more information, please visit rockfordrocketfootball.com.
Even though the track and field season has ended, there was one Rockford athlete who was invited to run for “Team Michigan” at the Midwest Meet of Champions track meet in Indiana on Saturday, June 9. After the state meet (all divisions) last week, the officials look at the results and invite certain top senior finishers from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, form state teams, and then compete in this Midwest Meet of Champions. Rockford senior standout Taylor Manett, after earning All-State awards in all three of her events at the track and field state meet, was invited to race in the 1,600-meter run at this meet. Each athlete runs one event. Manett won the 1,600-meter run with a school record-breaking time of 4:49. Manett plans to continue her running with a full scholarship to the University of Michigan, where she was recruited for both cross country and track.