Fessenden pitches a gem, helping Oakridge clinch at least a tie for league softball title

By Mitchell Boatman
LocalSportsJournal.com

RAVENNA – Oakridge pitcher Kayla Fessenden picked a good night to be in top form.

The junior pitcher struck out 10 hitters in five innings, helping the Eagles defeat rival Ravenna 11-1 and complete a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday.

The victory guaranteed Oakridge at least a tie  of the West Michigan Conference softball championship.

The Eagles, now 25-3 overall and 12-0 in conference play, can clinch the outright title with a win in one of their last two games.

“We don’t want to share it,” Oakridge Coach Joe Coletta, whose team is seeking its third straight league championship.

Halle Jennings just misses a bloop single in left field as shortstop Sophia Wiard jumps in the air to avoid a collision. Photo/Leo Valdez

Coletta had high praise for Fessenden, who allowed just two hits, one walk and one run over five innings.

“She’s really done a great job this year,” the coach said. “We feel really good about our chances when she’s in there. She pitches with a lot of confidence. She changes speeds really well.”

Fessenden gives a lot of credit to her catcher, Halle Jennings.

“I’m thankful for her,” the pitcher said about Jennings. “We both know the game enough, I think, where we should be able to call the game.”

Fessenden is more than just a great pitcher, and she showed that in the second game, as well. She smacked a two-run homer in the fifth inning, her 12th of the season.

Fessenden claimed the single-season home run record at Oakridge earlier this season, passing Hannah Reinhold’s mark of 10.

“That’s what I try to do in the cleanup spot – I feel like that’s my responsibility,” she said about getting big hits at key moments. “It feels good just being able to be there for my team.”

Sophia Wiard had two RBIs for Oakridge, Brie Pastor drove in one, and Jennings drew four walks. Overall the Eagles earned 12 free passes, six of which led to runs.

Laney Mabrito singled, stole two bases, and scored for Ravenna. Brienna McFarren drove in a run with a single.

Oakridge won the opener 9-2 in a game that went 10 innings.

The score was deadlocked at 2-2 before Oakridge exploded for seven runs in the tenth inning. All seven came with two outs.

Pastor and Fessenden each had two run singles during the rally.

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