Grandville exposed the Bucs’ shakiness in the field and their inability to produce at the plate. Bulldogs’ pitchers Lauren Weldy and Kaley Waalkes each threw a no-hitter against the Bucs and combined to allow only three base runners during the doubleheader.
Grand Haven coach J.R. Serna was more discouraged with his team’s mistake-filled afternoon in the field, which included a total of 10 errors during the twin bill. As a result, Grandville sent 56 batters to the plate, compared to Grand Haven’s 21.
“We played our hearts out, but we’ve got to find a way to cut down on the errors. You can’t make that many mistakes against a caliber of team like that,” Serna said.
Serna tried to send a point to his team about improving their focus defensively by making them run laps on the outfield warning track following the doubleheader.
“If you can’t play fundamental ball, you’re not going to be able to compete with teams like (Grandville),” he added.
But Serna had no answer for Grandville’s dangerous lineup, which contributed 1 through 9 and finished with 12 hits in the opener.
“When they hit like that, what can you do?” he wondered aloud.
The Bulldogs chased Bucs’ starter Chelsea Meloche after just 1 1/3 innings of work, although the senior hurler didn’t get much help behind her. Grand Haven committed four errors during the Bulldogs’ nine-run second inning, and forced reliever Brittany Brown into action.
Grand Haven’s lone baserunner in Game 1 was Morgan Reister, who drew a third-inning walk. Weldy didn’t have an overpowering fastball, but did a good job locating her pitches and struck out seven.
Jazmine Garza had three hits and two RBIs, while Brooke McNamara had three hits including a inside-the-park home run for Grandville.
With Bucs’ pitcher Kari Bareham missing the doubleheader due to illness, Meloche again took the starting pitching duty in Game 2 and faced similar results. Grandville sent 15 batters to the dish in the first inning, jumping ahead, 10-0.
The Bucs’ only real offensive threat came in the third inning, when Reister reached on an error and was sacrificed to third on a pair of bunts, but the Bucs couldn’t drive her into home.
“That’s going to be our identity,” Serna said. “If we have to generate some scoring opportunities by playing small ball, then we’ll do it.”
The ‘Dawgs closed with a fury, scoring five runs in the bottom of the third to ensure the mercy, including an RBI double from Jessica Wood that hit the top of Grand Haven’s left field fence 230 feet away.
Christie VanderMeer added three hits and three RBIs for the ‘Dawgs in the victory.
Grand Haven will hope for improved play tonight, as they travel to winless East Grand Rapids for a single game beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Junior Varsity: Grand Haven suffered a pair of losses on Thursday, falling 15-0 and 21-1. Abby Styck and Louisa Johnson played well defensively for the Bucs.