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Red-hot Holton hammers 7 homers in regional final, gets no-hitter from Ryann Robins

Red Devils ride 16-game winning streak into rematch with Beal City in Division 4 state quarterfinals at CMU.

Holton’s softball team poses for a group photo after defeating Frankfort, 13-0, in a Division 4 regional final Monday, June 10, 2024, in Frankfort, Mich. Holton beat Bellaire, 7-2, in the regional semifinals earlier in the day. (Courtesy of Jayson Robins)

This is not the same Holton softball team that Beal City beat in April and the Red Devils are out to prove it today (June 11).

Holton (27-12-1), winner of 16 straight games, gets a rematch with Beal City (31-10) in a Division 4 state quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. today (June 11) at Central Michigan University’s Margo Jonker Stadium.

It’s a short turnaround for Holton, which traveled to Frankfort Saturday for the regional but got rained out. The Red Devils traveled back up to Frankfort Monday for games scheduled at noon and 4 p.m.

Holton packed its hitting shoes Monday and also showed some pitching power en route to winning the regional title at Frankfort.

In a 13-0, five-inning victory over Frankfort in the championship game, Holton hit seven home runs coming from six different players. Meanwhile, Ryann Robins pitched a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts and three walks. Kenzie Greene had two homers in the rout, while Robins, Abbie Fowler, Aubrey Goyings, Gracie Thompsen, and Sydney McCormick also launched long balls.

“Our girls just come out hitting. They’re playing good. One through nine, everybody’s starting to contribute, which makes it nice,” Holton coach Kirk Younts said.

“The Frankfort game, we just hit the crap out of it. We had 16 hits. It was one thing after another there.”

Fowler also tripled in the game in the regional title game, while Goyings doubled. Greene finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Fowler and Thompsen also had three hits apiece.

In a 7-2 regional semifinal victory over Bellaire, Greene struck out 14, walked just one, and scattered four hits in the complete-game effort. She helped her cause, too, going 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Fowler also had a pair of hits against Bellaire ace Brooklyn Fischer, who was at CatchMark in Whitehall Sunday as part of the Sabercats 14U Morrissey travel softball team’s media day session.

“The Bellaire game, we knew they were going to be a pretty good game,” Younts said. “They have a good pitcher – she’s only a freshman. She’s pretty good.”

Holton is battle-tested and has put it all together during its current winning streak. The Red Devils’ last loss came in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier 1 tournament pool play against Division 1 Reeths-Puffer, falling 10-0 to a Rockets squad that finished 34-5-1 and made it to a regional final.

Two of Holton’s losses have come against Division 3 fifth-ranked Ravenna and two more to D-3 fourth-ranked Evart, which are both in the state quarterfinals today. Two more losses came in a regular-season doubleheader against Reeths-Puffer.

“We’ve been saying this all along, but we have faced good pitchers this year so we’re not really intimated by anybody at this point,” Younts said.

“They want to win. They know it. They lost last year in regionals and that hurt. They believe in each other right now, so that’s fun.”

Holton has won six regional titles in Younts’ 10 years at the helm.

The Red Devils have shown a lot of improvement over the course of the season — a far cry from where they were on April 13, when they had only three hits and committed seven errors in a 10-4 home loss to Beal City.

“We played Beal City earlier this season in our tournament. We did lose to them. We had a couple kids out – one was sick. Our lineup is not the same as what it was then. We had seven errors that game and lost 10-4. It was ugly. It’s taken us a while to figure our team out and I think we’re there,” Younts said.

“Beal City’s a good team. I mean, I’ve scouted them – I know what they are – but I think we can beat them. It should be a good game. Definitely, they’re nothing different than we’ve seen all season. We can play with anybody right now.”

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

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