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Five things to watch this week

Tribune Staff • Apr 16, 2018 at 12:16 AM

This weekend’s weather was not conducive to spring sports — prep, pro or otherwise. With some anticipated contests postponed or canceled altogether, a jam-packed week of prep sports begins Tuesday, weather permitting.

This week, local teams punch up as top-tier competition visits the Lakeshore to test our local team’s early-season development. Don’t miss these five must-see matchups as rivals clash and powerhouses push local superstars.

GH tennis vs. West Ottawa

When: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven tennis team hasn’t enjoyed stellar striking weather yet this season and may have to endure another character-building, cold weather match this week against top O-K Red Conference competition.

“West Ottawa has got to be the conference favorite,” said Grand Haven head coach Chris Wilton in a preseason interview. “They are returning a lot and are solid all the way through.”

The Panthers are no strangers to success against the Bucs. In their regular season matchup last year, West Ottawa left with an 8-0 varsity victory.

Wilton added that Grand Haven’s goals have them falling in the upper part of the conference this season with a shot at finishing in the top three at regionals. If the Bucs want a piece of the region it has to start Wednesday against West Ottawa.

SL softball vs. Fruitport (DH)

When: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

Where: Spring Lake High School

The Battle for the Bayou comes to the small diamond Wednesday afternoon as Spring Lake and Fruitport square off for a doubleheader.

For the second year, the meeting comes without conference implications, but that doesn’t mean motivation will be hard to find.

Spring Lake downed Fruitport in all three of their games last season, including a double-mercy affair in their regular season meeting before they eliminated the Trojans in the opening round of the playoffs.

Fruitport may be overmatched, but never underestimate a downtrodden rival.

WMC baseball at MCC (DH)

When: Thursday, 4 p.m.

Where: Muskegon Catholic Central High School

The Western Michigan Christian baseball team will look to prove themselves against their high-powered rivals Thursday as they pay the Crusaders a visit.

After an early playoff exit last season, the Warriors return a strong crop of seniors bent on leading the team on a longer postseason run. Four of last year’s top five hitters are among those returning athletes with their minds set on taking a shot at the top of the conference. MCC, as a regular state contender, stands in their way.

Four of the Warriors’ top five hitters are back from last year’s roster, as well as a host of pitching options. A cold day in April feels like the perfect time for a rivalry upset.

GH softball vs. Grandville

When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

Continuing with the theme of big-time, character-testing matchups, the Grand Haven softball team will get a look at the cream of the O-K Red Conference as the defending champ and Division 1 state runner-up Grandville come to town.

The Bulldogs got it done in the postseason, defeating conference opponents Rockford and Caledonia in the regional tournament for a bid to the quarterfinals, before losing in extra innings in the finals.

Grand Haven head coach John Hall is undaunted by Grandville’s success, trusting his emerging Bucs can contend for the O-K Red title. With some of the most fearsome hitters in the conference, sure-fire defense and developing stellar pitching, Hall and Grand Haven will give the Bulldogs a run for their money Friday.

GH girls lacrosse hosts tournament

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Grand Haven High School

The Grand Haven girls lacrosse team has made a commitment this season to improve and has resolved to do it by challenging the best competition they can find, all the time.

They will put this mantra on display Saturday as they invite the area's best and brightest programs for a day of lacrosse.

Highlighting attendance are Division 1 No. 7 Northville and No. 9 Midland-Dow as well as Division 2 No. 10 Grand Rapids Christian, along with Ann Arbor Pioneer, Dewitt, Haslet, Ann Arbor Skyline and Haslett, none of whom are ranked outside the top 20 in their respective divisions.

Games begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will run all day at Grand Haven High School, don’t miss the chance to tune into high-level girls lacrosse, right here at home.

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