Reed City uses pitching late-game rally to sweep CSAA foe Newaygo

REED CITY — Julianne Griffin couldn’t throw anything but strikes, it seemed like, for Reed City in the first game of a Central State Activities Association (CSAA) softball doubleheader versus Newaygo on Friday.

Griffin scattered five hits, struck out 10 and didn’t give up a walk in five innings during the Coyotes’ 4-2 win over Newaygo.

In the second game, Griffin again picked up the win with Olivia Lawson providing a dramatic bases-loaded two out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 victory and doubleheader sweep.

Reed City has won four straight and is 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the CSAA.

“Right now I’m calling these ladies the cardiac kids,” Reed City coach Roger Steig said. “They never quit and they just continue to come from behind and win ballgames late. They show a lot of composure. I’m very proud of them.”

“These wins felt good,” Griffin said. “I think we needed that as a team to pick us up. We’ve won four in a row and I hope we can keep it going.”

The Coyotes scored in the first inning of the opener on two walks to Lindsey Greer and Skier Brigham, an RBI hit for Brittani Yarger and Lawson’s sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nikki Smith beat out an infield hit to score a run for a 3-2 lead. In the top of the sixth, Skiler Brigham took a grounder at shortstop and threw to Greer at home plate for the tag out. Greer later threw to first baseman Taylor Steig to pick off a runner and end the inning. Griffin helped her own cause with a bounce out for an RBI in the bottom of the sixth. She struck out the side the top of the seventh.

Brittani Yarger had two hits while Ally Yarger and Smith had one hit each.

In the nightcap, Newaygo scored in the top of the second. In the bottom of the third, Brigham and Greer reached base with Greer scoring on a double steal and Brigham coming home on a wild pitch.

Newaygo rallied for two runs and added a fourth score in the top of the seventh on a wild throw to the plate for the 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Brittani Yarger, with a runner at third, reached base on an error and a run came home for the 4-3 score. Ally Yarger walked to load the bases and Lawson followed with her walk-off single.

“I was nervous, because the bases were loaded and it was all on me,” Lawson said. “I give credit to my coach. He keeps me going through the whole thing. When I hit that ball and my team came and met me on first, it was a good feeling.”

Griffin allowed eight hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out seven in the nightcap.

“I think I pitched the first game a little better,” Griffin said. “I had a lower pitch count. But the second game, I lost a little gas in my speed and got a little tired, but I pushed it through. I get a little tired but I’m almost used to it now where I know I have to drive with my legs a little more and push through.”

“The first game, Jules probably pitched her best game of the season,” Steig said. “She had an outstanding game. The second game, she kept us in the game and our bats did the work in the end.”

Lawson had two hits while Brigham and Brittany Cassidy had one hit each.

“Last year, we lost two to Newaygo,” Steig said. “It was nice to come back and take two from them this year.”

Reed City’s home invitational scheduled for Saturday was rained out. The Coyotes play home this Friday against Chippewa Hills.