On Tuesday, June 2, the Lady Rams varsity softball concluded their regular season with a doubleheader sweep of the Fighting Scots from Caledonia by scores of 6-0 and 11-1. It was Senior Night, and the Rams’ senior athletes celebrated their final games on the Rockford High School varsity field in fine style. Senior centerfielder Lauren Pasciak, who will play collegiate softball at Cornerstone University, wasted no time getting things started for Rockford as she smacked a triple over the head of the centerfielder and scored on a sacrifice fly by Peyton Wells to stake the Rams to an early lead. Pasciak’s run would have been enough for junior pitcher Tricia Graham, who blanked Caledonia, allowing just three hits while striking out 16. In doing so, Graham reached a milestone by notching the 1,000th strikeout of her brilliant career. No other Rockford pitcher has ever reached this total, and she still has more than a full season left to add to her record. Pasciak added some insurance later in the game with a two-run single. Junior Katie Chapin had a big game with two sharp singles, which led to two more runs in the 6-0 win. In game two, the Rams jumped all over the Scots, racking up 13 hits in a mercy-rule-shortened five-inning game. Junior shortstop Alli Hickox led the onslaught with three hits, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. Fellow junior infielder Kayla Tykosky drove in two more with two hits, including a triple. The seniors had another strong game in their home finale. Morgan Ruchty had another nice game with two hits, and Haley Pattok ripped a double down the left field line in the last home high school at-bat. Pattok will be playing her college ball at Davenport University. Senior catcher Karli Showers, bound for Grand Rapids Community College’s softball program in the fall, provided stellar defense once again, gunning down the only runner who attempted to steal a base against her. Pasciak patrolled center field with her normal authority. It was a great day for the Rams,who finished the regular season with a 29-8 record.
On Thursday, May 27, the Rockford varsity softball team traveled to Lowell to compete in the 15th Annual Mindy Tichelaar Memorial Softball Tournament. The tournament is in memory of a Lowell softball player who was killed in an automobile accident shortly after her sophomore season in 1995. For the sixth time overall, and for the third consecutive year, the Rams walked away with the trophy after defeating Grandville 2-0 in the opening game and the blanking Lowell 4-0 in the championship game. Tricia Graham again was amazing, allowing just one hit while striking out 10 against Grandville, and then striking out 13 Red Arrows and again allowing just one hit in the finale. Just three opposing base runners made it as far as second base throughout the two games, and nobody reached third against her. Offensively, the Rams scored their only runs against Grandville in the third inning, when senior outfielders Morgan Ruchty and Lauren Pasciak led off with singles, and then with two outs, Graham drew a walk to load the bases. Shortstop Alli Hickox came through with a clutch single to break the scoreless duel, and Kayla Tykosky followed with a walk that forced in the second run of the inning and the final run of the game. Against Lowell, the top of the order did the damage. Leadoff hitter Pasciak singled and scored twice, and Karli Showers, the number two hitter, singled and had a key sacrifice bunt to set up the first run. Peyton Wells, the number three hitter in the lineup, had two hits and drove in two for the Rams. Tykosky drove in Wells with the final run of a three-run sixth inning that was more than enough insurance for Graham and her defense.< br clear=left>
The most recent chapter in the well-documented rivalry between two of the area’s powerhouse softball programs-Rockford and Jenison-was an epic battle of will and grit. The battle was eventually won by the visiting Rams in 13 innings by the score of 2-0 behind the dominant pitching of Tricia Graham, great defensive plays, and the clutch hitting of Lauren Pasciak. The Rams had threatened a few times in the game, but were not able to come up with the big hit until the top of the 13th inning. The inning began quietly as Jenison’s pitcher, junior Kendra Thomas, retired the first two batters she faced. But then junior right-fielder Morgan Ruchty got things going with a perfectly executed slap hit past the pitcher. When she beat the throw from shortstop, the rally had begun. Ruchty then stole second base to get into scoring position for senior shortstop and co-captain Carly Shutich. Shutich worked the count and held off on a tough three-two pitch that was just off the plate for a hard-earned walk to set the stage for Pasciak, who had already doubled to deep centerfield earlier in the game. Pasciak, the left-handed hitting junior, went with the pitch and laced a bullet to deep left-center to bring home the eventual game-winning runs for the Rams as pandemonium broke out in “Ram nation.” Armed with the lead, Graham retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 13th before allowing a bloop single. But in the very next at-bat, when senior co-captain Alex Fulbright raced over into foul territory and snagged a pop fly near the third base dugout, the huge victory was secured for the Rams. Coach Casey Munger-Dunham was thrilled with the effort of her team, saying, “What a game! I’m so proud of our Lady Rams for their persistence. They have demonstrated their willingness to go the distance a couple of times now during this start of the season. It’s one of the qualities that make this year’s group so special. They are willing to continue fighting and to keep a positive attitude no matter the circumstance. Offensively, we had some nice hits. However, in the top of the 13th, we strung a couple together, which were key […]