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Softball Upset by Holland in District Opener

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Josh VanDyke

It wasn’t quite March Madness, but Tuesday’s pre-district matchup between the Grand Haven softball team and the Holland Dutch felt like watching an upstart double-digit seed in the opening round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament go toe-to-toe with a regional favorite.

Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, they were on the wrong end of this Cinderella story, as the Dutch scored a dramatic 5-4 win in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance to Saturday’s district semifinals and promptly end Grand Haven’s season in stunning fashion.

“We just didn’t play well,” said Grand Haven head coach John Hall. “I think we were ready to play, but I think we might have come into the game too confident in ourselves.

“We didn’t do what we’ve done all season to win games. We were chasing bad pitches, we thought we could hit anything and everything, and we were swinging at pitches above our belts. We preach discipline at the plate, and we didn’t have any of that today.”

After Holland took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning, Grand Haven sophomore Ashlyn Hall came through two-RBI double that knotted the game at 4-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, Holland took advantage of a few walks and loaded the bases with two outs on the board. The Dutch then ripped a shot past the left infield and sent the winning run home from third — ending the game.

“We’re a young team, but after 34-35 games, you can’t just say those are young mistakes — you have to better than that,” Hall continued.

The Buccaneers will have to replace three seniors from this year’s squad, but feel optimistic about the future with so many underclassmen playing key roles on the team already.

I do feel bad for the seniors, especially Mikayla Gronback,” Hall added. “She’s come full circle in her career, here. This program was in a similar position her freshman year. I believe they were one game under .500 her freshman year, then they started to build. They were 29-8 and 32-5 the last few seasons, and then you come full circle when you have a young team.

“The core of the team is coming back, our pitchers are coming back, and we’ll regroup from this. We’ll have plenty of talent, and we should be a good team next spring, but we’re going to have to work this offseason to take that next step.. click here to read the rest of the article by the Grand Haven Tribune.

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