The teams in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Softball Tournament were seeded this year, so the smaller schools could play the biggest schools in the county in Tier 1, if they were good enough.
Very strong teams from Oakridge and Holton were good enough to be seeded with big schools Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer, and in the end Oakridge turned out to be the best team of all.
The Eagles won their fifth straight city tournament championship – and first in Tier 1 – by defeating Holton 12-0 in the tournament championship game on Saturday at Holton High School.
Their championship marked the end of a four-year title run by Reeths-Puffer in the Tier 1 tournament.
Oakridge, now a perfect 16-0 on the season, isn’t shy about admitting that the county tournament title is just the first goal on its ambitious bucket list.
“This program has plenty of conference and district championships, and right now our sight is set on the state tournament,” said Oakridge interim Coach Jake Schumann, who is filling in for his wife, first-year coach, who is on maternity leave.
“We’ve been able to stay focused at every turn, no matter the score of the game. Having a full roster for the first time in two weeks was a big help as well.
“It’s a cliché, but we’ve taken it one game at a time to this point, and that’s the plan moving forward.”
The game started off slowly before a few errors and walks in the third inning led to a grand slam from Brooklyn Galdeen that broke the game open.
Galdeen was also the starting pitcher for Oakridge, going four innings, striking out eight batters and allowing three hits. Kaelinn Jozsa allowed one hit in the final inning before striking out the final two batters to end the game and seal the victory.
Along with the four RBIs from Galdeen, Andrea Romero was 2-for-3 from the plate and recorded three RBIs, while Jasmine Pastor also hit a home run. The Eagles had nine hits through five innings.
Ryann Robins was the starting pitcher in the loss for the Red Devils, recording two strikeouts and allowing five hits.
Abbie Fowler, Maddie Bosset, Kennedy Green, Robins got hits for Holton.
“Oakridge is a really good team, and they hit off us well enough to win,” said Holton Coach Kirk Younts, whose team is now 14-3 on the season. “Coupled with the mistakes we made, it snowballed quick.”