Cougars learning as they go

Crossroads drops pair of league games to Bear Lake

BIG RAPIDS — Amanda Brown sees the improvement in her young team, it’s just going to take some time.

CLOSE CALL: Crossroads catcher Megan Soller (left) looks to put a tag on Bear Lake’s Emileigh Ferguson (right) during Thursday’s softball action. (Pioneer photo/Martin Slagter)

Brown saw her team starting to make the routine plays on ground balls, while making contact during Crossroads Charter Academy’s softball doubleheader against Bear Lake on Thursday, despite falling to the Lakers 22-0 in the first game, followed by a 17-2 loss in game two.

“We had a 1-2-3 inning, which is a big improvement for us — the first one this year,” Brown said. “They’re playing the game more, which is the biggest thing right now.”

Bear Lake (3-1) pitcher Emileigh Ferguson held the Cougars (0-6, 0-2) hitless through three innings in the first game as the Lakers were able to hit CCA pitching with success.

Ferguson had seven strikeouts and two walks in the win. She also went 1-for-2 at the plate with a double and three RBIs. Alyson Fink went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs, Briann Bowling went 2-for-2 with two home runs and three RBIs.

Lakers coach Garret Waller was happy with how his team played despite having little game experience this season after a pair of doubleheaders were canceled due to inclement weather.

“Both pitchers were a little slower than what we’re used to, so we had to get them timed up,” he said. “I thought it took us a while to get adjusted, because we were ahead of a lot of pitches. I thought both pitchers did well and it was good to get outside again.”

CCA pitcher Sydney Balsitis had a strikeout in the circle in game one, taking the loss in the three-inning contest.

In the second game, the Cougars scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead before the Bear Lake offense was able to come through against CCA pitcher Cassie Cole.

Brown was encouraged by what she saw in the second game from her team, particularly defensively.

“Our defense came around and our pitcher (Cassie Cole) threw well, she didn’t walk many batters,” she said. “We didn’t have very many errors. We were just making the simple plays that will become routine to us the more we play.”

Waller said he was satisfied with the pitching efforts of both Ferguson and Katelynn Millard, who picked up the win in the second game. Millard had five strikeouts, while giving up seven hits and two walks.

“Emily Ferguson had a no-hitter — I thought she was throwing well and throwing a lot of strikes,” he said. “(Katelynn) Millard doesn’t throw quite as hard, but she throws strikes and she’s got a good changeup.”

Crossroads got hits from Balsitis, Katie Vandersloot, Emma McDonald and Megan Soller in game two.

Katelyn Adams went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs for the Lakers, while McKenna Fink went 3-for-3 with two doubles and five RBIs. Bowling went 2-for-3 with a homer and an RBI.

Crossroads is in action again on Saturday against Montabella, while Bear Lake will take on Lake Leelanau St. Mary today in a road contest.

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