By John Raffel The Sparks fast-pitch softball team from Racine, Wis., showed that it’s usually more important on how you finish a tournament than how you start it. The Sparks were 2-2 in pool play but went on in bracket action to take first place in the 18U portion of the Rockford Rumble Blue Chip Classic over the weekend at Art Van Sports Complex. Batbusters had a 4-0 record in pool play to lead the 18-team division. Sparks was only 2-2 in pool play but 4-0 in the championship round. The Sparks blanked the Starz 16-0, shut out Elite 2-0 and won 5-2 over Morgans in the semifinals. The Sparks won 3-0 over AA Gold in Sunday’s title game. The top pitcher for the Sparks was Brittany Moore Sparks coaches said the entire team hit well throughout the tournament. Moore had 19 strikeouts in one game. Sparks had lost to AA Gold during pool play. It’s the first time the Wisconsin team played at the Art Van Facility. “It’s beautiful, we had been at Byron Center about two years ago and that was nice, but this is incredible,” one of the Sparks coaches said. “This is great for the community.” Tournament manager Brad Koch said there were 57 teams at the weekend event, which started Thursday. “It was mostly Michigan teams,” he said. “We had a couple of Wisconsin teams, a couple from Indiana and a couple from Illinois. There’s a lot of good players from a variety of places in Michigan.” Blue Chip is based out of Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
Linnay (Couturier) Mallory and Ana Moreno of Rockford have both earned their spot in the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) competition in July. They secured their spots after competing at the Michigan State Finals Rodeo in Ovid, MI last weekend in Barrel Racing, Pole Bending and Goat Tying. Linnay (Couturier) Mallory 17, a Senior has been involved with MiHSRA for four years. Two years ago when she was preparing to leave for Nationals, Linnay suffered a severe injury to her foot and had to withdraw one week before competition leaving her devastated. Now after three years of qualifying, Linnay and her Quarter Horse, Double Vision Time (aka.Blaze) are finally heading out West to compete. “When I had my injury, I felt as if my rodeo career was coming to an end.” said Linnay. “But when I qualified for Nationals again this year…it was a true blessing, and I’m excited for the opportunity to go out to Wyoming and represent Michigan in Barrel Racing. I’m ecstatic about this trip and plan to go out with a bang for my Senior year at Nationals”. Linnay has been a member of the Rockford Equestrian Team, Kent County 4H and is the reigning Barrel Champion of the Double JJ 2014 Rodeo Season. Ana Moreno 17, will be a Senior next fall. Ana has been an active member of MiHSRA for three years and will be competing in Pole Bending. “The opportunity to compete at nationals with my amazing horse is an honor.” says Ana,”It will be memorable and is even more special to me because I qualified last year but due to family commitments I was unable to go”. Ana is also on the Rockford High School Equestrian Team and assisted in taking her Team to the 2014-15 State Finals in Midland. She has been training and honing the skills of her young Quarter Horse, Playboy’s Jeweled Doc, for the last 2 1/2 years and they are consistently improving each season. She credits her trainer, Michelle Wolf, with encouragement and direction. Ana is also involved in 4H, and plays on the Rockford High School Basketball and Track teams. Both girls are members of the Michigan High School Rodeo Association (MiHSRA), whose intent is to promote high school rodeo at the […]
The HAWK PeeWee B #1 team recently competed in the Adray Hockey State Finals in Byron Center. The HAWK team is comprised of eleven kids, ages 11 and 12 from West Michigan, and play their home games at Walker Ice and Fitness Center. Four of the players attend Rockford Public Schools, Brooke Thompson is a 5th grader at Valley View Elementary, Jared Switzer is a 5th grader at Parkside Elementary, David Ensley is a 6th grader at North Middle, and Hannah Burmania is a 6th grader at East Middle. The team competed in the Adray West league with 19 other PeeWee teams. They won their division and then qualified for the State playoffs by winning the Adray West Gold tournament. The team played in the State Finals tournament at Southside Ice Arena on March 20-22nd. They played a very good Summit Plastics team from Detroit in the finals that had only 1 loss all year. Despite losing to the Summit team earlier in the tournament, the HAWK team played an outstanding game and won by the final score of 8-2. It was a great end to an outstanding season.
Rockford came out of the final week of OK Red softball action with a pair of resounding wins and a pair of tough losses. The losses came at Grand Haven on Monday, May 18th by score of 9-3 and 6-5. The wins came at home on Wednesday, May 20th against West Ottawa by scores of 16-3 and 11-0. The results left Rockford with an overall record of 22-12 and at 7-8 in the always difficult OK Red. There is one final warm up on the docket for the Rams as they will travel to South Christian for a doubleheader on Tuesday, May 26th to prepare for the MHSAA Division 1 state tournament. Rockford will take on Greenville in the opening game at Lowell on Saturday, May 30th at 10:00 P.M. Should the Rams prove victorious they will take on the winner of the other side of the bracket (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, Northview and Lowell) in a game that will begin sometime around 2:00 P.M. Rockford jumped out to the lead in both of the games against Grand Haven but lost the lead early in one of the games and in extra innings in the other. The Rams led 2-0 going into the third inning but the game turned at that point for the bad. The Bucs pushed across six in the third and added three more in the fourth to claim the 9-3 win. Chelsea Chesebro and Lexi McCarthy both had a pair of hits to pace the Ram offense. Game two was a heart-breaker for Rockford. After holding the lead for most of the contest, a four-run Grand Haven rally in the bottom of the sixth knotted things up at 5-5. Rockford couldn’t push a run across in either the seventh or eighth inning and the Buccaneers scored in the bottom of the 8th to claim the tough 6-5 decision. Whitney Card, Madison Mayle and Paige Creasey had a pair of hits each to pace the Rockford offensive attack. Jenna Davis added a triple while Mackenzie Vallad chipped in with a double of her own. The Rams left 12 runners on base in the disappointing defeat. Things went to a decidedly orange and black tint when the Rams returned home to host […]
Rockford closed out the 2015 OK Red baseball season with three victories over Grand Haven. Great pitching was again a common theme for the Rams as the triumvirate of Jack Weisenburger, Bryce Kelley and Landen Haney all proved difficult for the Buccaneers to produce even a modicum of consistency against at the plate. Rockford swept a twin bill from Grand Haven on the road on Monday, May 18th by scores of 3-2 and 3-0. That was followed up by Rockford posting a 5-3 decision at home on Wednesday, May 20th. The wins left Rockford with a final record of 10-5 in the OK Red and 22-10 on the season. Rockford will have one final tune up as they prepare for the MHSAA Division 1 districts at Lowell on Saturday, May 30th. That will be a contest with South Christian on Tuesday, May 26th. Rockford will take on Greenville in the second of two district semis in a game scheduled for 12:30 P.M. Should they prove successful in that contest, they will advance to take on whichever team of Lowell, Northview or Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern survives the other half of the bracket in a game immediately following the conclusion of the Rockford-Greenville contest. Weisenburger was brilliant for the first six innings of the opener of the doubleheader on Monday as he allowed no hits while fanning 12. The Bucs finally broke through in the final inning with a solid single and a couple of bleeders but the 3-0 lead the Rams took into the seventh proved to be just enough to hang on for the 3-2 win. Kelley again followed Weisenburger to the hill and again showed the prowess he brings to the southpaw side for the Rams. This time around it was a two-hitter for Kelley and a 3-0 win for Rockford. Once again the most disconcerting thing for Rockford was their inability to string together hits for a big inning. Fortunately they once again did just enough to claim the “W”. Haney wasn’t quite as dominant as Weisenburger or Kelley but he was definitely efficient enough to become the third Ram hurler to go the distance in hurling Rockford to the 5-3 victory on Wednesday. This time around it was again a […]