By Mitchell Boatman
HOLTON – The Oakridge Eagles and Holton Red Devils are no strangers to each other in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier II Softball Tournament.
The two teams met in the championship game in both 2014 and 2015, with Holton winning on both occasions.
They met in the tournament finals again on Saturday, but the Eagles made sure there was a different outcome this time, beating the Red Devils on their home field 11-0.
The win for Oakridge marked their first GMAA softball tournament championship in 15 years.
“It feels great,” Oakridge coach Joe Coletta said. “We didn’t really care who we played in the championship, we just wanted to win.”
The tournament title is another notch in the belt for Oakridge, which remains undefeated on the season. With three wins Saturday, the Eagles’ record now stands at 20-0.
Despite their dominance, Coletta said his team was careful to avoid over-confidence in the city tournament.
“There was extra motivation because we hadn’t won the tournament (in so long) and we knew we had a good shot at it,” he said. “We still had to perform. We just wanted to take it one game at a time.”
The Eagles approached the tournament the same way they have every game, according to Coletta – with improvement on their minds.
“We just want to be better today than we were last time out,” he said.
Oakridge pitcher Alyssa Fessenden was untouchable on the mound, tossing a no-hitter against Holton. She struck out five batters, allowed just two base runners and only saw one ball leave the infield.
Fessenden was a catalyst offensively as well. Her RBI double in the third inning sparked a 10-run outburst that put the game well out of reach.
Oakridge had nine consecutive batters reach base and score in the third, capped off by a three-run triple by Sophia Wiard, who came home on the same play on a throwing error.
Wiard, Alyssa Fessenden, Hannah Reinhold, Kayla Fessenden, Madison Carrol and Madison Dutton each had one hit in the title game for Oakridge.
Morgan Murat reached base twice for Holton. Mikayla Baker pitched the final 1.2 innings for the Red Devils, allowing just two hits and one run.
Oakridge advanced to the finals by beating WMCC (Western Michigan Christian and Muskegon Catholic co-op) and Ravenna, while Holton beat North Muskegon and Montague.