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Ravenna sweeps Holton in battle of state-ranked softball teams

Pitching buoys Division 3 No. 8 Bulldogs before bats erupt in 6-2, 18-3 wins over Division 4 No. 2 Red Devils

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

HOLTON — Both coaches learned something about their teams in Tuesday’s softball showdown between state-ranked Ravenna and host Holton.

In their words, Bulldogs coach Dave Sherman learned about his team’s young arms and depth throughout the lineup, while Red Devils coach Kirk Younts discovered that his squad has some work to do.

Division 3 eighth-ranked Ravenna swept Division 4 second-ranked Holton, buoyed by pitching in a 6-2 win in Game 1 before the bats came alive in an 18-3, four-inning victory in Game 2.

Ravenna improves to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the West Michigan Conference Rivers Division. Holton is now 3-3 and 0-2, respectively.

“I’m learning something new every day,” Sherman said. “I knew coming (into the season) we were going to come in and we were going to hit. Even with the new additions, I knew they were going to hit as well. Our lineup is going to hit.

“Our young pitchers are doing really well. We knew Addi (Gillard) was going to pitch well, but I’m learning something new about the new pitchers. It’s kind of nice to have a lefty on the mound every once in a while.”

The “lefty” to which Sherman is referring is freshman Natalie Rosel. The right-handed Gillard, a junior, picked up pitching wins in both games, but Rosel presented a different look with her southpaw delivery.

In the first game, Gillard allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Rosel came on in relief during the fifth inning and she struck out seven with one walk.

In the second game, Gillard surrendered three runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Rosel entered in the third inning and she allowed two hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

According to Holton stats, the Red Devils committed nine errors on the day while managing the same number of hits in the two games combined.

“I think we played about as bad as I’ve seen from this group of kids and we have a lot of work to do,” Holton coach Kirk Younts said. “We missed routine plays and continued to give Ravenna extra outs and you can’t do that and expect to win.

“We will get back to work tomorrow and get ready for the next game. I hope we learn from our mistakes and grow from here. Ravenna has a solid lineup with good pitchers that keep the hitters guessing. I wish them the best of luck.”

In Game 1, Ravenna scored three runs in the top of the first and the Bulldogs made them stand. Holton rallied for two runs in the bottom of the first, but the Red Devils could not generate much else.

Game 2 was a different story as Ravenna’s lineup went into “attack mode” from the start. According to Ravenna’s stats, the Bulldogs totaled 15 hits with six for extra bases.

The ‘Dogs scored two runs in the first, five in the second, two in the third, and nine in the fourth.

“Right before Game 2, coach Scott (Herremans) said that our mentality has to be attack right away and we decided we were going to attack first pitch and go for it,” said Gillard, the cleanup hitter who went 3-for-3 in the second game with a home run, triple, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Junior two-time all-stater Emma Herremans was 3-for-3 in the second game with four RBIs and three runs scored, while sophomore Riley Homoly went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Younger sister Reese Herremans, a freshman, went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs, and two runs scored.

In Game 1, Homoly, Emma Herremans, sophomore Emily Postema, and freshman Sydney Morrissey had two hits apiece to pace Ravenna. Reese Herremans hit her first career home run on a liner to straightaway center field that hit off the top of the fence and went over.

“I was personally looking forward to (the doubleheader) a lot because we’ve only had two games and then we had spring break,” Sherman said. “(Holton is a) good team, good measuring stick right off the bat.”

Senior Abbie Fowler had two hits in the second game and one in the first to pace Holton offensively, as did junior Kenzie Greene. Emma Monette doubled in Game 2 for the Red Devils.

Ravenna and Holton are not scheduled to see each other again this season. They could potentially square off in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament on May 4 depending on the draws.

Regardless of the outcome, an early season barometer was a good thing for the Bulldogs and Red Devils.

“I definitely think rankings don’t matter that much,” Ravenna’s Emma Herremans said. “This is kind of a star point on our journey this season. It meant a lot to play them and for them to be in our conference and it felt good to win against them.”

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

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