Spring Lake coach Bill Core joked with his team on Thursday that the reason he had so many gray hairs was due to games like the Lakers played against visiting Ludington — down-to-the-wire contests where no lead is safe.
Thankfully, Core and the Lakers thrived quite nicely in those pressure-packed situations at Wanrooy Field.
The Lakers held off a seventh-inning rally by Ludington to hold on for an 8-6 win in the opener of the Lakes Eight Conference doubleheader, then completed the sweep of the Orioles in the nightcap with a thrilling walk-off RBI by sophomore Kelsee Zuidema in a 6-5 final.
The victories improve Spring Lake’s record to 9-4 overall and 5-1 in the Lakes Eight Conference, good for first place.
“It’s been a great week for us,” Core said. “Starting with winning at the OV tournament, splitting with Mona Shores, taking two from Fruitport and then (Thursday), we’ve won eight of our nine games.”
Spring Lake took an 8-3 lead into the seventh inning in the opener, yet Ludington chipped away thanks to two errors and two hit batters. The Orioles were still threatening with a runner on third, but the Lakers and starting pitcher Ashley Keena settled down to preserve the victory.
Keena allowed seven hits, but struck out seven and walked just two.
Senior Emily Blahnik had a big offensive game for the Lakers with two hits — including a triple — and also scored two runs.
Spring Lake saw another late-inning lead disappear in Game 2, as Ludington scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the Lakers at 5-5. It only set up more dramatics for the Lakers.
With two outs, freshman Desi Parker drew a walk, and then was knocked home on a sharp hit to left by Zuidema. The ball was misplayed by the Ludington outfielder, allowing Parker to race home for the game-winning run.
Parker’s score helped herself earn the pitching victory. Ludington tallied nine hits against her, but the freshman struck out four and walked just one batter. Parker’s personal season record is now 5-1.
Spring Lake had six hits from six different batters, with Blahnik having the lone extra-base hit with a double.
Junior Varsity: Spring Lake (9-2) swept Ludington on Thurday, 15-1 and 14-6. Alex Gajdos and Randi Rice led the Lakers offensively by scoring three runs each and combining for five hits. Gabi Appel and Sadie Johnson starred in Game 2 with two hits apiece. Laura Park picked up both pitching wins for the Lakers.
BUCS FALL TO DEFENDING CHAMPS
Defending state champion Hudsonville scored a convincing 13-1 win over Grand Haven on Thursday.
Katelyn Messer had an RBI for the Bucs, and was also a part of a tremendous double play started by a nice catch at second base by freshman Jordan Buckingham. Buckingham fired to Messer to double off the base runner on second.
Kaylee Hartwell and Audrey Boersen split the pitching duties for Grand Haven. Sophomore Cheyenne Ray and junior Madison Barshaw had two hits apiece for the Bucs, while Messer and Abby Styck each had a single.
Grand Haven plays in a make-up doubleheader against visiting Mona Shores today.