Driesenga, Graham lock horns in classic pitcher’s duel in game two The Rockford Rams traveled to Hudsonville on Tuesday, May 18 to take on the top-ranked team in the state. They came 60 feet away from a split in the doubleheader, but eventually lost 1-0 in the nightcap after falling by a 6-1 count in the opener. In a match-up of two of the best pitchers in the state, Hudsonville’s Sara Driesenga dueled Rockford’s Tricia Graham as they blanked the offenses for the first seven innings, as both teams only managed to get one runner as far as second base in regulation. The Rams posted the first scoring threat in the bottom of the eighth when junior shortstop Alli Hickox cracked a one-out double to the gap in left-center. She got to third base on a passed ball, but the Rams couldn’t drive her in and the game moved to the ninth inning. Hudsonville responded in kind, getting a one-out double by All-Stater Kenzie Ritzema, who advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs and then scored on a clutch single up the middle by Brittany Frye to score the game’s only run. In game one, the Eagles had a pair of three-run rallies as the top of their order did most of the damage. Graham struck out 10 batters in the game, and she tripled and scored the Rams’ only run on Kayla Tykosky’s grounder to first base in the fourth inning. Rockford got runners on first and third with one out in the sixth, but failed to score as the Eagles secured the 6-1 win. The victories kept Hudsonville perfect in league play and all but sewed up the OK Red conference championship for the defending state champs. Rockford is now 7-5 in the conference, and is battling Grandville for third place.
Rockford Rams Softball
Graham strikes out 17 in loss A lot of great softball was played last Thursday at Grandville High School as two of the OK Red’s best teams battled to a split of a doubleheader as conference play got under way. The Rams of Rockford scored three runs in a decisive fifth-inning rally in game two. They then held on to win the nightcap 5-3 to earn the split after Grandville scored the only run of game one in the first extra inning to win an epic pitcher’s duel 1-0 despite 17 strikeouts at the hands of Ram pitcher Tricia Graham. Grandville pitcher Becca Smith—who will go to Grand Rapids Community College next year and play softball alongside Rockford catcher Karli Showers—was outstanding in game one. She allowed just two Rockford hits in eight innings, while walking two and hitting one batter with a pitch. Only one Ram runner reached third base in game one. Lauren Pasciak doubled to the gap in left-center to lead off the game and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then with one out, Peyton Wells was hit by a pitch and promptly stole second without a throw, as the Bulldogs elected to let her have the base rather than risk the speedy Pasciak sneaking home on the play. The strategy paid off, as Smith proceeded to get her team out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning, stranding runners at second and third for the Rams. That was the best scoring chance the Rams would see in game one. Meanwhile, Graham was baffling Grandville hitters with her wide assortment of pitches, featuring her lethal rise ball, and racked up an incredible 14 strikeouts in the first five innings. The only Bulldog out that was not a strikeout in the first five innings was on a bunt attempt that Graham fielded cleanly and threw to second baseman Katie Chapin, who was covering the bag at first for the out. Grandville’s winning rally started with a one-out single by Kristi Jo Streeter that was perfectly placed just over the pitcher, but out of reach of the shortstop and second baseman. Liz Nelson sacrifice bunted to advance the runner, but found herself safe at first also after […]