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Ravenna softball team gets on a roll vs. state-ranked competition

Pitching helps Division 3 fourth-ranked Bulldogs offset loss of injured all-state slugger Emma Herremans.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Losing Emma Herremans from the lineup was a kick in the gut for Ravenna’s state-ranked softball team.

When the two-time, first-team all-stater suffered a season-ending knee injury May 4 during the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier 1 tournament finals against Reeths-Puffer, some wondered how it may impact the Bulldogs’ trajectory.

Of course, Ravenna would be way better off with Herremans’ powerful, run-producing bat in the lineup. After all, the junior, who is committed to Ferris State University, was hitting .717 with a 1.174 slugging percentage and 1.971 OPS.

But the ‘Dogs have responded very well of late with their ace in the hole — make that, two aces.

This week in particular, junior right-hander Addison Gillard and freshman left-hander Natalie Rosel have been lights-out as a one-two pitching punch — make that 1 and 1a.

Fourth-ranked Ravenna dropped a pair of tough games to fifth-ranked Evart in a matchup of Division 3 powers last Saturday at Ferris State, 1-0 and 9-7 (nine innings). Since then, the Bulldogs (27-8) have gotten on a roll with six straight victories featuring that dominant pitching.

The ‘Dogs swept Division 4 sixth-ranked Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 6-0 and 3-0, on the road Monday. They followed that up Wednesday with 13-0 and 13-2 road victories over a solid Hart squad to finish off a perfect 12-0 run through the West Michigan Conference Rivers Division.

Perhaps the most impressive showing came Thursday at home against Division 2 third-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian, which entered with a 27-4 record. Gillard and Rosel spun shutouts against the Crusaders en route to 1-0 and 6-0 victories, respectively.

(Maybe it was the smelling salts. More on that in the TikTok at the bottom of this story.)

Against Unity Christian, Gillard scattered four hits, struck out 11, and walked just one. Rosel allowed only three hits to go with five strikeouts and two walks.

Herremans said she will undergo surgery to repair the ACL and menisci in her right knee on May 30. Two days later, her Ravenna softball team begins state tournament play with a Division 3 district semifinal matchup against North Muskegon at Montague, set for 12:30 p.m.

Ravenna advanced to the Division 3 state semifinals last season en route to a 36-6 record. This year, the Bulldogs feature only one senior, Kendra Denhof. Their roster has four freshmen, four sophomores, and two juniors.

Herremans was relieved to hear that the Ferris State softball program, led by former Oakridge coach Jake Schumann, is still honoring her commitment.o

While sidelined, Herremans has showed off her talents as a photography. She’s captured imagery for the Ravenna High School yearbook as well as for CatchMark SportsNet.

Check out a several of Herremans’ images from the Sacred Heart game:

Courtesy of Emma Herremans

As for the aforementioned TikTok, check it out here:


Ravenna softball players and assistant coaches try AHHH!!! World’s Strongest Smelling Salts as seen on the Joe Rogan Podcast. Maybe a delayed effect? State-ranked Bulldogs lost two to ranked Evart, then responded with three straight sweeps in the days that followed, including four shutouts of ranked opponents. #fyp #csn #catchmarksportsnet #ravenna #bulldogs #smellingsalts #ahhhsmellingsalts #joerogan #joeroganpodcast @Joe Rogan Podcast @Joe Rogan Experience

♬ Funny video “Carmen Prelude” Arranging weakness(836530) – yo suzuki(akisai)

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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