Big Rapids, Reed City renew rivalry on softball diamond

While cold temperatures and a fierce wind didn’t help it feel like softball weather, the Big Rapids and Reed City softball teams opened up the Central State Activities Association (CSAA) schedule by splitting a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The Cardinals came away with a 3-0 victory in the opener before the Coyotes rebounded with a 17-10 win in the nightcap.

In the opener, neither team could get a run across home plate through 5 1-2 innings. But in the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals broke the game open with RBI singles from Erin Carlson and Emily Schlaupitz and an RBI from Kelly Taylor on a fielder’s choice to take the 3-0 lead before Big Rapids’ Kailey Hunt got the final three outs for the Cardinals in the top of the seventh to secure the victory. “Overall, I thought it was a good game for just being outside a couple of times,” Big Rapids coach Darcy Balahoski said. “The girls are hitting well and it was good for us to finally get out here.” Hunt picked up the victory after not allowing a run on three hits while striking out three. Carlson paced the Cardinals offensively, going 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI while Taylor Nemeth was 2-for-4. Julianne Griffin took the loss for the Coyotes, giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out six in seven innings. Taylor Steig and Brittani Yarger each had two hits to lead the Reed City offense. While the Coyotes struggled to put runs up in the first contest, they piled them up in the second contest. Reed City opened the game with two runs in the top of the first before the Cardinals rallied back with three of their own in the bottom half of the inning, but the Coyotes tacked on one in the second and another five in the third before Big Rapids rallied back with three runs in the third to leave the Coyotes with an 8-6 lead. The Coyotes would add another two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth before scoring five more in the top of the sixth to push their lead to 16-6. Big Rapids would fight back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, but too much damage had already been done and another run from Reed City in the top of the seventh left the Cardinals on the wrong end of a 17-10 score. Griffin picked up the pitching victory for the Coyotes in the nightcap, giving up 14 hits and striking out eight in seven innings. Offensively, Lindsey Greer and Skiler Brigham each had two hits for the Coyotes. While he was pleased with the winning outcome in the nightcap, Reed City coach Roger Steig said the Coyotes’ defense was not up to par Tuesday night. “We came out our opening night and we played some tough defense,” he said. “(Tuesday), things just unraveled defensively for us all night long. We’ve got some work to do, but I’m sure our ladies will work together and put things together.” Schlaupitz took the pitching loss for the Cardinals after giving up five hits and 10 runs while striking out three. Carlson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Hunt went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. The Cardinals (2-5, 1-1 CSAA) return to action Friday with a trip to Hesperia while Reed City (3-1, 1-1 CSAA) is at Cadillac for nonconference action on Thursday.