By Seth Vanderwest

GRAND RAPIDS–Ravenna erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning of their 12-6 victory over Buchanan to capture a Division 3 quarterfinal victory and punch its ticket to the state semifinals. 

The Bulldogs entered Tuesday’s game as underdogs against the No.-4 ranked Bucks, whose closest tournament game had been a 7-1 victory over Kalamazoo Christian. Ravenna came into the tournament unranked.

Sophomore Emma Herremans hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to give the Bulldogs an early 2-0 advantage. The lead was short lived, however, as Buchanan managed two runs of their own off Bulldog pitcher Emma Gillard to keep the score tied going into the second. 

After both teams went 1-2-3 in the second inning, Buchanan took a narrow 3-2 lead in the third on a solo home run.

Photo/Leo Valdez

In the fourth, Ravenna’s bats came alive to the tune of seven runs. The Bulldogs sent several balls to the back wall and came away from the inning with a single, three doubles, and a triple to take a 10-3 lead.

However, the Bucks would not go down without a fight, responding with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-5. 

Buchanan mustered another run in the fifth before sophomore Addison Gillard took over pitching for Ravenna. Gillard came in with a runner on third and no outs and got out of the inning without allowing a run.

Emma Herremans hit a solo home run in the sixth and Emma Gillard and Kara Postema both scored in the seventh as Ravenna ended the high-scoring affair with 12 runs. Addison Gillard and the Ravenna defense held Buchanan scoreless in both innings to finish off the game.

Photo/Leo Valdez

Leading Ravenna was Herremans, who went 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double. Emma Gillard as 3-for-5 with two doubles, Addison Gillard went 3-for-5 with four RBI, and Kara Postema got on base in all five of her plate appearances.

On the mound, Emma Gillard pitched four innings, allowed nine hits and six runs with two strikeouts. Addison Gillard pitched three and allowed no hits and no runs. 

“That fourth inning was huge for us.” said Ravenna coach David Sherman. “The adjustments they made from the second to the third to the fourth inning were huge. We knew that coming in, that [Buchanan] could hit the ball. We don’t care about strikeouts, just wherever it comes from, we want to get outs.”

Ravenna advances to the state semifinals, where they will meet Standish-Sterling at Michigan State University at 3 p.m. Friday. Standish-Sterling advanced with a 3-1 victory over Gladstone in nine innings.

Photo/Leo Valdez

Photo/Leo Valdez

Photo/Leo Valdez