By Nate Thompson

NORTON SHORES – The Mona Shores softball team team’s opponents will have to pick their poison this season.

If they want to avoid pitching to senior slugger Taylor Dew, the Sailors have other big hitters who can do a lot of damage.

And if opponents pitch to Dew, like the Fruitport Trojans did on Tuesday in an O-K Black Conference-opening doubleheader, the Mona Shores home run champ will make them pay.

The Sailors connected on four-round trippers during their doubleheader sweep of the Trojans, including two in the nightcap by Dew, and won by scores of 11-2 and 10-5.

Dew hit a single-season state-record 22 home runs a year ago, and could eclipse the career state record of 49 later this season.

Mona Shores Coach Jason Crago gives Taylor Dew a high five after reaching this base. Photo/Jason Goorman

“I don’t think we had a home run during my first 11 years here, and we had four today,” said Mona Shores Coach Jason Crago, whose team is now 6-7 on the season.

In the opener, freshman catcher Maddie Mettler connected on a three-run home run in the first inning to get Mona Shores rolling toward an easy win. Dew and Veronica Kastelic each had four hits for the Sailors.

In Game 2, the Sailors grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a first-inning homer by Dew. Fruitport answered with four runs to take a promising 4-1 lead.

But the Sailors got an RBI single from Shelby Savacool in the second to cut the Trojans’ lead in half, then went ahead in the third, 5-4, thanks to a two-run double by Mettler.

Mona Shores extended its lead to 8-4 in the fourth, keyed by back-to-back homers by Kastelic and Dew, with the latter being a moonshot to straightaway center that ended the day for Trojans’ starting pitcher Heidi Braun.

The offensive production complemented a strong pitching performance from Sailors’ sophomore Maddie VanEtten. She allowed a first-inning grand slam to the Trojans’ Aurora Wilks, but kept Fruitport under wraps for most of the game.

“I really worked on hitting my outside spots, which I haven’t done a lot before,” said VanEtten, who allowed 11 hits and struck out six. “I just tried to attack everyone the same. If they hit it like (Wilks) did, then I’d have to live with it. But I just tried to pound it in there and see what happened.”

The Trojans cut their deficit to 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Rachel Paulson, but the Sailors plated two more in the sixth on a two-RBI single from Grace Hall.

The Sailors hope to keep rolling with a non-conference doubleheader against Wyoming on Thursday, then will face rival Reeths-Puffer in a key league showdown next Tuesday.