Reed City, Big Rapids softball teams split twinbill

Reed City’s Jordyn Storch slides back safely into second base to avoid the tag from Big Rapids shortstop Kelsey Walch. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY — Reed City’s softball team is still in contention for the Central State Activities Association Gold Division title.

But Big Rapids made the challenge a little trickier for the Coyotes with an 11-8 Cardinal victory in the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The Coyotes won the first game 13-3. The Coyotes got two hits apiece, including one double apiece in the first game, from Kamryn Myers, Jordyn Storch and Sidni Rushford. Alyssa Olds had hit and a double while Cassie Enos and Kiera Barker had one hit apiece.

Sidni Rushford started and was relieved by Maddie Morgan.

Big Rapids stretched a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning of the second game to 11-4 with a seven-run frame. Three Reed City errors in that inning were critical.

Morgan, Rushford and Storch shared the pitching duties in the second game.

Storch had three hits, including a double, Olds had two hits while Enos, Barker, Morgan and Myers had one apiece. Barker and Myers also had doubles.

Reed City is 10-2 in the CSAA and 18-7 overall.

“The second game, we struggled on the mound and defensively, worse than we have all year,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. Big Rapids played some good ball tonight. It was a huge night for us, we’re in the fight with Central Montcalm for first place in our conference

“Next Wednesday it boils down to if we win two games at Central, we’re conference champs.”

In the first game for Big Rapids, Alissa Ruggles took the pitching loss in 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing 10 unearned runs. Kelsey Walch had a hit and two RBIs, Morgan Pippin had two hits Mackaela Klever had a hit and Anna Thompson added a hit and RBI.

The bats were very productive for Big Rapids in the second game and Kelby Strpko took the pitching win, going all seven innings and allowing eight runs and five earned run with eight hits and having three strikeouts and six walks.

“I walked a lot of girls in the beginning, but in the end, I got myself together and was throwing strikes,” Strpko said. “You just have to believe in your team and believe in your defense.”

“We played to the best of our ability,” Welch said. “The second game was way different team than what we’ve seen this season. You could see the hunger in our eyes. We came and competed.”

It was the first CSAA win in eight tries for the Cardinals, 7-10 overall.

“I was really proud of how our kids came out after the first game,’Big Rapids coach Dawn Thompson said. “It’s tough to lose that first one. But our kids battled and I’m extremely proud.

“All of our pitchers did a nice job today. Our defense played well behind them Any time you do that, you’ll give yourself an opportunity to win.”

Josie Prince had a hit and RBI, Annah Folkema had two hits while Walch, Ruggles and Klever had one apiece. Hamilton had two hits.

“Our hitters came to hit today,” Thompson said. “I thought they hit the ball well both games.

Reed City is home on Friday against White Cloud.

Big Rapids is at Shelby on Thursday and home with Grant on Friday.

“It’s no secret we’ve been struggling as of late,” Thompson said. “This was a big win for us. The kids can play. They just have to believe in themselves.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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