By Travis Smola
“Just go out and try to win one game at a time.” That’s the mantra of the Vicksburg varsity softball team and Head Coach Paul Gephart.
The season is still young, but the team got off to a frustrating start with losses to Mattawan, Schoolcraft, Coloma and Stevensville Lakeshore. “We’ve played a lot of good competition already,” Gephart said. “They were close games, it’s early in the year. We are very confident we are going to get better and be very competitive.”
The team finally got back into the winning side of things during a home doubleheader against Sturgis. The Trojans opened the scoring with a single run at the top of the first. But the Lady Bulldogs answered right back. With one on, Tailynn Knapp crushed a ball over the center field fence to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Things were quiet after that until the fourth inning, when Kelsey Diekman hit a big triple to advance two runners. But Sturgis committed an error that allowed the team to score, making it 4-1. After that, Rylie Richter brought Diekman home with a base hit to make it 5-1.
In the sixth, Remi O’Neill, Camille Wadley, Hannah Vallier and Payton Lewis all picked up base hits. The team took advantage of a glut of errors by Sturgis and it led to three more easy runs for the Lady Bulldogs and an 8-1 victory. Richter had six strikeouts and allowed just four hits.
In the second game, the girls played even better. The team scored 14 runs off 17 hits including home runs from Knapp and O’Neill as they held the Trojans defensively to just four runs.
Gephart said he expects the Wolverine Conference to be tough again this year. He expects Three Rivers, Edwardsburg, South Haven and Otsego to be some of the toughest opponents as the season wears on. But for now, he plans to keep the team focused on that mantra and improving a little with every game.
“That’s what we look for, just to get better and be competitive,” he said.