Coyote softball hopes to prolong fast start

REED CITY — His team entered action this week at 6-0 but Reed City softball coach Roger Steig acknowledged that a challenging schedule would challenge his squad to a high extent.

The Coyotes were home Tuesday with Hesperia and play at Holton on Friday in two critical Central State Activities Association twinbills. There’s also a nonleague doubleheader with Pine River on Thursday.

“They all have strong squads,” Steig said. “It will be a real good test for us.”

But doubleheader sweeps over Evart, Ludington and Big Rapids have given Steig reason to smile about the team’s early season success.

“I’m happy so far,” he said. “Our pitching has helped us. We have to get stronger defensively.”

But the season is still young, Steig noted.

“I’m happy with the progress,” Steig said. “We’ll have to play better defense this week.”

The Coyotes, 2-0 in the league, got plenty of production from its lineup in a pair of wins over rival Big Rapids on Friday, 14-5 and 8-7.

“(Friday) was a good game for us, it gets us to 6-0,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. “It wasn’t our first night out, but we still have some things to work on defensively. Offensively we did a nice job of running the bases and hitting well.”

In the first game, Reed City built an 11-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning and were able to hold off the Cardinal hitters, who began to hit their stride in game two.

Reed City was led by Amanda Steig and Courtney Morgan, who each collected two hits. Ally Stieg and Sydni Arnold had two RBI each in the win.

Amanda Steig picked up the win in the first game, going all seven innings, striking out seven while not issuing any walks.

Arnold said getting wins over a rival like Big Rapids is always critical early in the year.

“It’s definitely important because Big Rapids is one of our biggest rivals,” she said. “We want to go far, so it’s pretty much mandatory that we get the wins (early in the season).”

The second game remained tight throughout, with the teams tied at 2-2 until the Coyotes got three runs in the fifth inning.

Reed City built the lead up to 8-4 going into the bottom of the sixth inning before the Cardinals mounted a rally in the final two innings.

Reed City got three hits from Amanda Steig in the win, while Arnold had two hits and three RBI. Ciarra Engstrom and Emma Lockhart each had a hit.

Morgan picked up the win in game two, striking out four while issuing four walks.

Trailing early in the second game, Steig said he was happy with how his team responded.

“It’s the first time this year that we’ve been behind,” he said. “Our girls showed some character by settling down and keeping their composure. Big Rapids has come a long way since last year.”

Pioneer sports editor Martin Slagter also contributed to this story.