By Dave Hart
The Holton softball team is two wins away from a perfect regular season.
On Tuesday the Red Devils swamped White Cloud 17-1 and 21-0 to improve their record to 30-0.
The Red Devils have already wrapped up the Central State Activities Association Silver Division championship, the first league title in program history. They have also surpassed the previous school softball record of 27 wins in a season.
Only the two games remaining on the schedule – a doubleheader at Kent City on Thursday – separate Holton from completing an undefeated regular season.
“We have achieved all of our goals we set at the beginning of the season,” said first-year Holton Coach Kirk Younts, whose daughters Rachel and Shelbey play on the team. “It has been a great season and the kids are playing well. It’s just a special blessing coaching these girls, including my two daughters.”
Holton, ranked third in the state in Division 4, put up some big numbers Tuesday in its sweep of White Cloud.
Rachel Younts pitched both wins, scattering three hits over two games while striking out 10. She also hit a two-run homer.
Jacki Stone was a perfect 6-for-6 at the plate, Emily Larabee and Ashleigh Friend each added four hits while Katie Wildfong had three.
The situation was a little tighter last Saturday, when the Red Devils snuck past a very good Grand Haven squad 2-1 in the finals of the White Lake Invitational tournament. Grand Haven finished second this season in the very tough O-K Red Conference.
Rachel Younts pitched the victory with six strikeouts, Friend was 3-for-4 at the plate while Kaitlyn Mock and Kaylee Slowik each had key hits for Holton.
Holton defeated Montague and Shelby earlier in the day, with 6-1 scores in both games.
“On paper we were not expected to win,” Younts said. “But we feel confident that we can go toe-to-toe with anybody.
“Without the errors in the game it would have been a 0-0 game. I was kind of getting emotional. It was awesome.”
Regardless of whether they finish the regular season undefeated, the Red Devils are excited about the state tournament, which begins with districts on Saturday, May 30.
Holton, which will host the district, will play Muskegon Catholic in the first round at 10 a.m. The winner will meet the survivor of the Walkerville-Baldwin game in the 2 p.m. finals
Holton finished the regular season last year ranked first in the state, but was stunned by an upset loss to North Muskegon in districts.
“The girls from last year’s team don’t like to talk about it,” said Younts. “They are hungry for a state championship and anything less would be a disappointment.”