The Lakers’ varsity softball team saw its season come to a stunning close on Wednesday, falling to visiting Coopersville, 5-0, in Division 2 pre-district action.
Broncos’ pitcher Monica Huesing didn’t overpower the Lakers’ batters, giving allowing base runners in every inning but one, but she buckled down in the clutch and kept Spring Lake from pushing a run across the plate.
Her biggest two outs came in the bottom of the first, when the Lakers put runners on second and third with one out. Huesing slammed the door, and the Lakers never seriously threatened again.
“Their pitcher wasn’t overpowering, but she kept us off balance,” said Lakers’ coach Bill Core, whose team managed five hits, all of which came off the bat of freshmen and sophomores. “They didn’t make any mistakes.”
For Core, it was a day when everything went OK but nothing went well enough.
“Our defense was pretty good, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Core, whose team finishes its season at 17-14. “Our pitching was good, but it wasn’t good enough. Our hitting was OK, but it wasn’t good enough.
“And the margin of error is so small in a one-and-done game.”
Tiffany Kline gave the Broncos all the run support they would need when she blasted a home run in the first inning.
Coopersville added a pair of unearned runs in the fifth thanks to a pair of walks, a hit batter and an error.
The Broncos scored twice more in the sixth, again taking advantages of walks and errors to push two runners across the plate.
With the win, Coopersville advances to Saturday’s Division 2 district tournament at Fruitport.
The Lakers, on the other hand, see their season come to a sudden end.
“It’s hard, because you’ve got plans for Saturday, then all of a sudden, it’s done,” Core said. “It’s that empty feeling that now you didn’t make it.”
Despite Wednesday’s loss, the season has been a clear success for the Lakers. They secured a share of the Lakes Eight Conference championship; won the Orchard View Invitational; and swept Grand Haven to retain the Battle of the Bridge traveling trophy.
“These girls can walk off the field with their heads held high,” Core said.
The Lakers will miss seniors Emily Blahnik, Mikkaela Ederer and Lizzie Goll, who were key contributors to this year’s success.
But Core can also rest easy know he’s got a talented cast of youngsters returning, including junior pitcher Ashley Keena, sophomore slugger Kelsee Zuidema; and freshmen stand-outs Katie Mumby and Desi Parker.
“Those three seniors will be missed sorely, but we’ve got a good nucleus returning,” Core said.