Reed City, Morley Stanwood pitchers looking to improve

MORLEY — For the first time out this season, Reed City coach Roger Steig and Morley Stanwood coach Andrea Raven knew their young pitching staffs would struggle. Both teams struggled to find the strike zone in a season opener on Tuesday that ended with a 16-13 win for the Mohawks. The second contest was tied at 8-8 through four innings before being called off due to darkness. The game is scheduled to be completed at 4 p.m. today at Morley Elementary. “It was kind of how I expected it to be,” Raven said. “It was a real battle for our pitchers. We’ve had one pitcher with a few innings of varsity experience, so all of the other pitchers are new to it. It’s going to take time to work on the consistency there.” Reed City grabbed an early 6-3 lead in the first game, before the Mohawks began to find some offense with a combined 13 runs in the third and fourth innings to grab a 16-7 lead. The Coyotes came up with five runs in the fifth to get within 16-12 but could not complete the comeback. Steig said he thought his young team, which features inexperience both in the circle and in the field performed well for not being able to get many outdoor practices in. “I don’t think anybody in the league is as young as we are,” he said. “Our kids played hard ball against Morley Stanwood, which is a good team. We made some mistakes, which we knew we would, but for the first night out I was pretty happy.” The Mohawks got a big game at the plate from left fielder Jennie Kizer, who hit a double and a home run in the win. Mackenzie Hoisington added a triple and a two-run single, while Brianna Wiersema and Caitlin Andrews added an RBI double and a single. Mallory Raven picked up the win in the circle, going four innings, striking out five while giving up seven runs. Reed City got two hits from Heather Huss, while Courtney Smith added a triple. Jules Griffin, who took the loss, added a double, while Allison Yeager and Brittney Cassidy each added a hit. Kizer said she felt comfortable at the plate for the first game of the season. “I think having varsity experience last year helped me,” she said. “I feel like I’m ahead of the game this year.” Reed City took an 8-3 lead in the second game, aided by a grand slam by Skiler Brigham in the bottom of the second. Morley Stanwood cut the lead to 8-7 in the top of the third on an RBI single by Wiersema and a single by Sam Carey that drove in two runs. Mekayla Carey led off the fourth with a triple and was sacrificed in to tie the game up at 8-8. With a pitching staff that returned just one player with varsity experience, Raven said she was disappointed with her team’s defense, which returns a number of key players. “Defensively we’re going to have to rely on our experience,” she said. “There were some letdowns there. I was disappointed and I wanted to see better, because I know we have the girls with experience there. We’ll get better, but would I have liked a little sharper start? Yes.” Steig said he was happy with his team’s performance on Tuesday for the first time out against a league rival. “Our pitchers gave up a few walks that they shouldn’t have, but so did the other team,” he said. “It was a back and forth game — the game was ugly. It was an example of two teams that were outside for the first time. For as young as we are, I was happy with how our girls stayed in the game.”