By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

HOLTON – The Holton softball team had a scare on Saturday afternoon before beating Oakridge 7-4 in extra innings to win its second straight Greater Muskegon Athletic Association small school division softball tournament.

For a while it seemed as though the Red Devils would win the championship game in the seven scheduled innings. They led 4-2 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Hannah Reinhold hit a two run single for Oakridge that tied the game and forced it to extra innings.

Katie Wildfong’s RBI single put Holton back in the lead in the 10th inning. The Red Devils added a pair of insurance runs to seal the victory and the championship.

Holton defeated Montague 4-0 and Ravenna 8-1 earlier in the day to advance to the title game. The victory over Oakridge in the finals avenged a 2-0 loss to the Eagles earlier in the season.

Holton improved to 11-2 on the season while Oakridge fell to 12-2. Oakridge defeated North Muskegon 2-1 in the semifinals.

The Red Devils were making their third consecutive appearance in the city tournament championship game. They won last year and were runners-up in 2012.

“It was a good game,” said Holton coach Jeremy Hartwick. “They beat us early in the year and throughout the game they were in our heads.

“Our kids came together, learned a lot and played as a team. We had a chance to fall apart but we persevered.”

The Red Devils made their third straight appearance in the tournament title game. They won last year and lost in the finals two years ago.

Holton’s Rachel Younts pitched all 10 innings, allowing 11 hits while striking out five and not walking a batter.

Younts also pitched complete games against Montague and Ravenna.

“She had to throw at least 600 pitches today,” Hartwick said.

Kaylee Slowik led Holton offensively with four hits. Dominque Waltz, Jacki Stone and Ashley Friend each added two hits apiece for the winners.

Nicole Depender pitched all 10 innings for the Eagles and struck out six. Alessa Buchner had three hits for Oakridge, including a double, while Alyssa Fessenden added two hits.