The last time Nick Reed won a district title, he was a junior and playing for Fruitport against Spring Lake in the championship game after losing to the Lakers twice in the regular season.
Fast forward more than a decade and Reed is now the head coach of his alma mater and in the same situation.
In a game filled with excellent pitching, timely hitting and enthusiasm fueled by a classic rivalry from both teams, Fruitport’s hot bats blazed the way to an impressive win for the program, 9-4 over the Lakers.
Spring Lake, which played back-to-back games after defeating Sparta to advance to the championship game, was coming into the contest with hot bats and confidence looking to claim their second district championship in three years.
The game was dominated by pitching until the fifth inning, when Fruitport’s bats woke up. The inning started with a walk to Jarod Wierengo before a perfectly executed hit-and-run double by Trojans’ second basemen Andrew Slocum, scoring the runner from first and making it 2-0 in favor of the Trojans.
The Lakers then switched pitchers, but the next two Trojan batters, Mitchell Reyes and Kolin Lakatos, would double in the same spot down the left field line. Both batters picked up RBIs, pushing the score to 4-0.
The Trojans added two more runs in the inning, the first off a wild pitch scoring Lakatos from third, and the second coming off a Kyle Fialek single up the middle with the infield drawn in.
Fruitport held a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
“The kids did a great job — clutch hits, aggressive baserunning, they did a heck of a job,” Reed said after his team dumped the remains of the melted ice over his head. “We had some kids who were struggling the whole year that came up big for us today.
“It was a team effort and everyone just played well. We were 7-10 at one point, had a team meeting, and since then we finished 13-3.”
Lakers’ coach Jeff Lindsey said his team couldn’t overcome the Trojans’ fast start.
“Fruitport did a heck of a job,” he said. “They came out early and did their job. We just started a little too late.
“Tip your hat to them.”
Fruitport advances to the Division 2 regional competition against East Grand Rapids (26-11). That game will take place next Saturday at 10 a.m. at Hope College.
- By Logan Pellegrom
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