The Rockford varsity softball team won the Division I district championship at Northview on Saturday, June 5. The Rams edged the host Wildcats in the semifinals as junior Lexi Bettig’s hard grounder to second drove home sophomore Kayla Tykosky with the only run of the game with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tykosky had led off the inning with a double to the gap in left center. Then freshman Isabelle Mudgett’s hard grounder up the middle, which was fielded nicely by the shortstop, allowed Tykosky to scamper to third base as the throw went to first. Bettig then came through in the clutch with the winning ground ball on a 1-0 count, setting off a celebration for the Rams. The win over Northview was extra special since the Wildcats had knocked the Rams out of the tournament in 2009 and had also defeated Rockford in the Northview Tournament earlier this year. As they normally do, Northview played incredible defense in this game, with two stellar catches in the outfield on hits that looked destined for extra bases. Tricia Graham was as strong as ever on the mound for Rockford, limiting Northview to just three singles, of which only one left the infield. Graham retired the last 13 batters she faced in order, striking out 14 and walking none in the contest. The Rams then were pitted against Greenville in the finals, who had beaten Kenowa Hills earlier on Saturday to reach the championship game. In the finals, Graham again allowed just three hits, and this time she struck out 17 batters in a mercy-rule-shortened six-inning game, as she shut out the Yellow Jackets 14-0. Offensively for the Rams, contributions came from everywhere. Graham led the charge herself with a four-for-four performance. Lauren Pasciak and Morgan Ruchty each scored twice for Rockford, as did Alli Hickox, who added three RBIs as well. Peyton Wells scored three times and drove in one run, and Molly O’Rourke had a big two-run double to the gap in right-center to cap off a big six-run rally for the Rams in the sixth inning. Leah Oliver scored the final run of the contest on O’Rourke’s hit, and Graham and her defense took care of business from there […]
by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER As the announcer counted down the final seconds of the district final Saturday afternoon at Grand Haven High School, the Rockford girls soccer team watched the championship slip between their fingers. The Rams had outshot Reeths-Puffer 15-7 in the title game, but their fiery opponents outscored them 3-2 to capture the win. The Rockets have now advanced to the regional opener against Okemos Tuesday night at Holt. “This is a disappointing loss,” admitted Coach Amira Ponne, whose team ends the season with a 10-9-1 record. “It has happened to us all season, but it’s too bad it had to happen today. We played possession so beautifully. We controlled the field. We were better, and they know it. We just played so great, but their keeper did a good job. She wasn’t fumbling anything we put to her.” The Rockets’ overly aggressive play earned them many fouls, a yellow card, and plenty of jeers from the Rockford crowd, but that aggressiveness and opportunistic thinking surely paved the way for their victory. Senior Emily Lindebaum, who sat out for 10 minutes after earning the yellow card, scored their final two goals by muscling her way into key scoring positions. The Rams, who tied the Rockets earlier in the season, lit up the scoreboard first when senior Al Huyser’s precision passing found freshman Erika Bradfield open in the midfield. Bradfield’s shot floated up over the outstretched fingers of the Rockets’ goalkeeper Erin Caughey with 15:53 left in the first half. Back-to-back goals 10 minutes later gave the Rockets a 2-1 advantage going into the half. Senior Emily Swain tied the game when she broke away from the Rockford defense, charged up the middle, and shot the ball past Rockford goalkeeper Karlee Fluegel with 5:06 left in the half. Just 24 seconds later, Lindebaum muscled her way into position and made an unobstructed shot from close range. The Rams tied it up with 15 minutes left in the game by a beautifully placed corner shot from junior Emily Cowan. Although Huyser had stepped up to take the shot and already had the ball in the corner, Ponne called for Cowan to take the shot with the hopes that Huyser or her twin sister Kate might get […]
The Women’s Track and Field Team continued their undefeated season along with their string of Regional Championship when they outdistanced the 15 team field at Houseman Field. The #1 state ranked Lady Rams tallied 178.5 points to outdistance second place East Kentwood with 153.5 and the rest of the field. “This makes it 12 in a row with this one being against some of the toughest competition,” said Head Coach Randy VanderVeen. The Lady Rams claimed three individual first place performances by seniors Samantha Mette and Sarah Birkemeier. Mette won the 100 Hurdles in a time of 15.1 in addition to the 300 Hurdles in a time of 47.2. Birkemeier won the Pole Vault with a height of 11’ 8”. Three relay teams claimed first place finishes. The Rams 400 Meter Relay of Courtney Klawieter, Margaret Smiley, Elise Schierbeek and Abby Blanchard had a winning time of 49.7. The 800 Meter Relay which won in a time of 1:42.7 was made up of Rachel Jerrils, Klawieter, Smiley and Blanchard. The 1600 Meter Relay of Smiley, Katie DeHaan, Jerrils, and Katie Carlson won in a time of 4:01.4. This Regional Championship set the Rockford Rams up to compete for the MITCA Team State Championship at Jenison on May 29 as well as having participants in 16 of the 17 events in the MHSAA State Championship hosted by Rockford on June 5.
Graham blanks Oilers twice The Rockford varsity softball team seems to be peaking just in time for a post-season run as illustrated by a doubleheader sweep of the Mount Pleasant Oilers on Saturday, May 22. The Oilers traveled to Rockford gushing about their 26-1 record, but had to trickle back home after being shut out twice by Tricia Graham and the Rams by scores of 2-0 and 3-0. In the opening game of the twin bill, Graham dazzled the Oilers and allowed just one hit, a sixth-inning single, while striking out 18 to match her career high for a seven-inning game set just 10 days earlier. For the first four innings, the Rams were unable to get anything going offensively, but in the fifth inning, junior shortstop Alli Hickox drew a one-out walk and scored on a key two-out single by freshman leftfielder Hannah Pattok to break the scoreless tie. The Rams added an insurance run in the sixth, as Lauren Pasciak raced all the way around from first base after Peyton Wells’ single to left was booted, allowing Pasciak to score. In game two, the Rams jumped out to a quick lead as Pasciak reached on a dropped third strike and scored on Wells’ one-out triple to center. Rockford had a golden opportunity pass them by in the third inning, when three consecutive hits failed to produce a run, and it looked like it may prove costly, as the Oilers mounted their first serious threat of the day when they had back-to-back hits leading off the fourth and got runners to second and third base with nobody out. Senior catcher Karli Showers then made the defensive play of the year so far as she raced back toward the screen and made a spectacular diving catch of a pop foul right against the fence for the first out of the inning. Graham took advantage of the situation by striking out the next two batters to escape the inning with no damage. Rockford then added two runs in the sixth to give Graham some breathing room. An error started the inning, and then Graham laced a sharp single to right. With one out and the bases loaded, Hickox came through with a single to the opposite […]