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Pitching, defense rule in Next Level Players all-star softball game at Oakridge

Many of the top Class of 2022 players from lakeshore and Muskegon areas on display.

Photos by Bethany McCullough | CatchMark

MUSKEGON — An impressive crowd at Oakridge’s softball field watched the Blue team prevail over the Red squad in the final at-bat, 4-3, in the Next Level Players high school softball all-star game Tuesday night.

It was pre-determined that the showcase of graduating seniors from the lakeshore and Muskegon areas would go 10 innings to allow for quality playing time for all participants.

In the bottom of the 10th, Shelby’s Kaylynn Clark walked to lead off the inning. She worked her way to third base on some fielding miscues, then scored on a wild pitch to win it for the Blue team.

The Red team had tied it at 3 in the top of the seventh when Ludington’s Lilli Goodrich led off with a walk and raced to third on a failed pick-off attempt. She scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Grand Haven’s Emily Walcott.

The Red team, coached by Grand Haven’s John Hall, Ravenna’s Dave Sherman and Shelby’s Harmony Bailey, scored in the top of the first inning. Montague’s Presley Davis led off with a sharp single, Walcott reached on an error that advanced Davis to third, and Davis scored on a single by Reeths-Puffer’s Caitlyn Duffey.

Pitching and defense would rule the next three innings as both teams flashed some leather while the hurlers dominated with timely strikeouts.

Ironically, an error in the top of the fifth put the Red team up 2-0. Walcott reached on an error and she sprinted home on a double by Grand Haven teammate Mercedes Ybbarra.

The Blue squad, coached by Spring Lake’s Brian Glover, Whitehall’s Denis Koegel and Hart’s Rocky Smith, answered with three runs in the bottom half of the fifth to take the lead. Grant’s Jaycee Ryder led off with a walk, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and took third after a wild pitch. Ryder scored on a delayed double steal as White Cloud’s Ceara Bode, who walked, slid into second to complete the double theft. Bode went on to score, as did Clark, who also drew a walk.

RED TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Grand Haven’s Mercedes Ybbarra had an RBI double and pitched three scoreless innings.
  • Ludington’s Lilli Goodrich walked, scored a run and struck out five over two innings.
  • Reeth-Puffer’s Caitlynn Duffey had an RBI single and pitched struck out five in four innings pitched.
  • Montague’s Presley Davis singled and scored a run.
  • Holton’s Gianna Reed singled, walked and stole a base.
  • Grand Haven’s Emily Walcott singled, had a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and scored a run.

BLUE TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pentwater’s Mikaylyn Kenney singled and struck out nine in four innings pitched. She earned the pitching win.
  • Spring Lake’s Avery Flynn doubled and struck out three in three innings pitched.
  • Oakridge’s Brooklyn Galdeen walked and pitched three innings.
  • Shelby’s Kaylynn Clark had two walks and scored twice, including the winning run.
  • Grant’s Jaycee Ryder walked and scored a run.
  • White Cloud’s Ceara Bode scored a run.
  • Hart’s Skylar Smith singled and walked.
  • Mona Shores’ Liz Savacool doubled.
  • North Muskegon’s Megan Houseman singled.
  • Oakridge’s Jasmine Pastor singled.
  • Newaygo’s Emmerson Goodin singled.

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