The Bulldog softball team, now 16-20, dropped both games of a doubleheader against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Grand Valley State University.
Sunday, April 7, on the Varsity Softball Field, Ferris hosted one of the toughest opponents record-wise that they have played so far this year. The toughness of GVSU proved too much for the Bulldogs as they were able to sweep the doubleheader with scores of 3-1 in the first game and 12-4 in the second game.
Before the game, the Bulldogs remained optimistic to go out and try to get the win, which they do every game regardless of who they face.
“They are a tough opponent, but just like everybody else, anybody can beat anyone else on any given day,” Ferris softball head coach Kristin Janes said. “So, we prepared today just like we have with everybody else. Going in with a game plan both on the mound and at the plate to try and beat out their hitters and their pitcher.”
Game one came right down to the wire, as the game was 2-1 until the top of the sixth, where GVSU added an insurance run to make the score 3-1 and hold off any sort of comeback that the Bulldogs tried to make. The sole run from the Bulldogs came in the fourth inning from a bases-loaded walk to freshman designated player Kaitlyn Orme, and sophomore outfielder Paige Kortz came across home for the run.
Game two had the same outcome as game one, but came in a different fashion. The Lakers scored six runs before the fourth inning, while the Bulldogs could not keep up and only scored one. For the next two innings, the Lakers kept on tacking on runs until they got a 12-1 lead headed into the bottom of the fifth.
The Bulldogs were able to get three runners across home plate in the bottom of the fifth but the Laker offense was too much to handle and the game ended in a Bulldog loss after five innings due to the mercy rule at a score of 12-4. Ferris junior first baseman Sawyer Wightman led the Bulldogs in the second game with two RBI.
“Between the first and second game, a lot of times the changes are usually just a pitcher,” Janes said. “But when that momentum stops between games, sometimes it is hard to get that momentum picked back up, but I think we just struggled to regain that momentum in the second game.”
The Bulldogs are now 7-9 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and seventh out of ninth in the standings. GVSU can be a little intimidating because of the name on their jersey, but the whole GLIAC is competitive, and the Bulldogs just played them like they would any other team, Ferris junior pitcher Abby Highway said.
Though the Bulldogs are looking up in the standings, they are in a much better place than they were in this time last season.
“I am actually pretty happy with where we are right now,” Janes said. “We are halfway through our conference season, and we stand 7-9. At this point last year, we only had two conference wins under our belt, so it is a big step forward for us. To continue, I think we need to really look to win game one, that has been a little bit of our Achilles heel. Game two seems to be a real positive thing for us, so really focusing on getting that first win of the day so we can make a sweep instead of a split.”
The Bulldogs travelled to University of Wisconsin-Parkside for a doubleheader Wednesday, April 10, and will stay on the road to face Purdue University Northwest Saturday, April 13.