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Softball district preview

Tribune Staff • May 29, 2018 at 12:19 AM

The local softball scene has been as competitive as ever this spring, with Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Fruitport all vying for conference championships. The Lakers have relied on their loaded roster full of veterans to roll to a 35-0 regular season record and their fourth straight conference championship.

The Buccaneers have had a topsy-turvy season, with quality wins over Rockford and Hudsonville, but some heartbreaking defeats to Caledonia and Grandville. Fruitport has also had its fair share of ups and downs over the course of the season, but a strong core of veterans has helped the team compete against some of the area's best and build themselves into a playoff contender.

Here's a look at the road ahead for the Buccaneers, Lakers, Trojans and Warriors.

DIVISION 1 AT MONA SHORES

TUESDAY

District opener: Reeths-Puffer vs. Holland, 2 p.m.; Mona Shores vs. Muskegon, 3 p.m.

SATURDAY

District semifinals: West Ottawa vs. Mona Shores-Muskegon winner, 10 a.m.; Grand Haven vs. Reeths-Puffer-Holland winner, noon.

District finals: semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

NOTES: Last season, the Buccaneers were stunned by the Holland Dutch in the district opener. That young squad is now a year older and revenge will be fresh on their minds as they await the winner between Holland and Reeths-Puffer. If the Buccaneers can stay aggressive at the plate and focused in the field, they could win a district title. The biggest roadblock for Grand Haven will be getting past Taylor Dew and the Sailors, who have enough power bats in their lineup to overtake any pitching staff.

PREDICTION: Mona Shores over Grand Haven

DIVISION 2 AT SPRING LAKE

TUESDAY

District opener: Spring Lake vs. Coopersville, 4 p.m.

SATURDAY

District semifinals: Fruitport vs. Spring Lake-Coopersville winner, 10 a.m.; Allendale vs. Kenowa Hills, noon.

District finals: semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

NOTES: After an undefeated regular season that saw the Lakers outscore their opponents 395 to 51, it's no doubt that the No. 2-ranked team in Division 2 is the team to beat. However, last year saw the Lakers have to play extra innings to defeat Allendale in the district semifinals, so this year's squad knows nothing can be taken for granted. That being said, it would take a herculean effort for any team in their district field to upset this juggernaut of a lineup.

If the Lakers get past Coopersville today at 4 p.m., a familiar foe awaits in the Fruitport Trojans. The Lakers got the best of their rivals in their non-conference doubleheader earlier this season with wins of 10-3 and 13-3. Despite the score, the Trojans hang with the Lakers for most of their contests, however, a few miscues late in the games turned narrow contests into convincing wins. If the Trojans can limit the miscues, put the ball in play and put pressure on the Lakers, Saturday's district opener could be another extra-inning nail biter.

PREDICTION: Spring Lake over Allendale

DIVISION 3 AT RAVENNA

TUESDAY

District opener: Montague vs. North Muskegon, 4 p.m.

SATURDAY

District semifinals: Ravenna vs. Shelby, 10 a.m.; WMCC vs. Montague-North Muskegon winner, noon.

District final: semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

NOTES: The Western Michigan Christian-Muskegon Catholic Central co-op softball team finished the regular season with a 9-17 overall record and a 3-9 mark in the Lakes Eight Conference. A challenging schedule and a loaded conference have helped the Warriors enter the postseason with plenty of battle experience against quality teams. The Warriors will have a challenging matchup in the district semifinals, as district favorite Montague presents plenty of problems for any ballclub.

PREDICTION: Montague over Ravenna

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