“They made it to Battle Creek last year, and they return eight starters,” said Lakers’ coach Bill Core. “The only one they graduated was Taylor Johnson, who set the state record for home runs. She’s playing basketball at Central Michigan.”
The Redskins’ pitcher is Kyleigh Linebaugh, who Core compared to Orchard View’s star hurler Megan VanderWal.
Core noted that Belding finished runner-up to Coopersville in the O-K Blue Conference. The Broncos lost to Orchard View in last weekend’s district tournament. Spring Lake then beat Orchard View to capture the district title.
“It’s still going to come down to one game,” Core said. “(Lakers’ pitcher) Sam (Weerstra) isn’t a strikeout pitcher, she’s a control pitcher, so she’s going to have to keep the walks to a minimum and hit the corners, and we’re going to have to play good defense behind her.
“Our top five batters, I’d put them up against anybody. Hopefully we can get (leadoff hitter Evie) Lorimer on base and move her around, put the ball in play. But it’s all going to start with Sam and the defense.”
Hudsonville Unity Christian and Wyoming Rogers play in Saturday’s first regional semifinal contest at 11 a.m. Semifinal winners will meet for the regional title at 4 p.m.