By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg Lady Bulldogs softball team has run into a few hiccups as the season winds down, but it hasn’t slowed their winning ways much with a 25-9-1 record.
The team defeated Plainwell in a doubleheader May 20 to help secure a second consecutive conference title. The title comes at a time when starting pitchers junior Avery Slancik and senior Sadie Martin have been somewhat limited due to injuries.
But the Lady Bulldogs are a well-rounded team and other players have continually stepped up. “We’re hitting the ball well, we’re playing decent defense,” Head Coach Paul Gephardt said before the team faced Dowagiac on the road.
In the first game against Dowagiac it was sophomore pitcher Kali Yant who stepped in and threw an excellent, eight-strikeout game against the Chieftains. Surprisingly, Dowagiac kept the Bulldog offense at bay through the first five innings without a hit.
But they couldn’t keep the Vicksburg bats cold for long. The Bulldogs spoiled the Dowagiac pitcher’s great game with five runs in the sixth. The Chieftains responded with two of their own. But they couldn’t get anything else going after that and the Bulldogs took game one 8-2.
The next game saw the Lady Bulldogs open things up for a 12-2 victory. The big highlight of the night came at the top of the seventh, when senior Raquel Rice hit a hard high ball to center that just barely carried over the Dowagiac center fielder and the fence for a solo home run.
When the girls have lost, it has usually been very close. They’ve also gone on a few winning streaks, including eight in a row to help close out April. The team also took second in the Mattawan Tournament and won its division in the Gull Lake Tournament.
Gephart has his two starting pitchers back for the tournaments and it showed with Vicksburg beating Otsego 17-7 to capture the district crown. They play Stevensville Lakeshore in the regional contest this week.