By Jacob Arvidson

MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Freshman pitcher MaKayla Thompson helped Reeths-Puffer defend its home field and claim the 2016 Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier I City Softball Tournament title on Saturday.LSJ Logo incert

Thompson recorded six strikeouts while only allowing two runs on five hits to give the Rockets a 7-2 victory over Mona Shores in the tournament final.

R-P beat Orchard View (17-3) and Whitehall (3-0) to reach the championship game.

“Every year this is the thing that they play for, the bragging rights within the community,” R-P head coach Trista Stingle said. “Especially to play against our cross-town rival in the finals, we wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way.”

The victory over Mona Shores was extra special for the Rockets, because they lost to the Sailors 11-1 in last year’s city tournament final.

“Every time we play Shores they play us tough,” Stingle said. “No matter how great the talent on the team is or not, it’s always a battle. We love that, we love to come and play hard, so the girls were fired up and ready to go.”

The Rockets haven’t missed a step against Mona Shores yet this season, with three wins in three tries. In fact, R-P hasn’t missed many steps at all in 2016, with an overall record of 17-2.

“Our focus every day is – and you probably heard one of our kids yell it out here – ‘We’re getting better,’” Stingle said. “Every day we come and that’s what they yell to each other at practice. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, that’s kind of the mentality we’re taking.”

Thompson’s pitching wasn’t the thing that went right for R-P in Saturday’s championship game.

Abigayle Mitchelson went 2-for-2 and scored two runs, Shelby Gordon went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Skylar Olson went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI, and Thompson helped herself out with two RBIs in the fourth inning.

The Sailors beat Muskegon (15-0) and Fruitport (14-9) to reach the final, but couldn’t muster enough offense to get past Reeths-Puffer.

Sami Sanbern and Veronica Kastelic each had a hit and scored a run for Shores, while Ryleigh Wheeler and Mackenzie Willeke each had a hit and an RBI.

Mona Shores moves to 11-9 overall on the season.