Belding softball defeats Lakeview 5-2 in season opener


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:39 am on Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Belding’s Mariah Heintzelman fouls a pitch off of home plate during the second game against Lakeview on Monday. Belding won game one, but game two was called in the third inning due to rain.

BELDING — It wasn’t ideal, but at least they were playing.

The Belding Redskins and Lakeview Wildcats softball teams took to the field for the first time, literally, on Monday night at Demorest Field.

Due the recent weather, area teams have not been able to practice outside, while every game thus far has been postponed. The rain still did not allow the Redskins to open the season on their new field, so they had to switch to another field.

Even so, while the teams played, just one of two games were completed because of rain.

Belding (1-0) defeated the Wildcats 5-2 in game one, while game two was called due to rain with the Redskins leading 9-3 in the bottom of the third inning.

“Overall, I was very impressed. This was the first time we’ve been outside all together,” Linebaugh said. “Getting out here, I think the kids were a little unsure of how confident they were, but I told them so was Lakeview.”

The Redskins scored two runs in the first inning, one in the third and two in the sixth in game one. Lakeview (0-1) scored its two runs in the sixth inning.

Caitlin Alkire earned the win. She pitched a complete game, allowing five hits, three walks, while striking out six batters. Erin Vanderzand suffered the loss. She went all seven innings, allowing seven hits, three walks with five strikeouts.

“I thought we played clean for the first night,” Linebaugh said. “There is room for improvement, but for being the first night out I’m happy with the way we were swinging the bats and running the bases.”

Ryann Rich and Brooke Linebaugh each had two hits in game one. Rachel Hunt and Mariah Heintzelman each had one hit. Rich had three RBIs, while Hannah Linebaugh had two RBIs.

Chelsea Lint had two of Lakeview’s hits and Kirsten Johnson had a two-run triple.

Lakeview’s Kristen Johnson delivers a pitch during the second game on Monday at Belding.

“We had a lot of mistakes and walks. That was the biggest thing,” Lakeview coach Daryl Johnson said. “It’s tough being the first time outside on the dirt. Our pitchers struggled a little bit tonight with their control and we weren’t as aggressive at the plate as we should have been.”

The rain started during the break in between games. It continued to come down harder until the game was called in the third inning.

Belding scored five runs in the first and four in the second inning, while Lakeview scored once to start the game and added two in the top of the third inning.

Alkire and Alyssa Canterbury each had two RBIs for Belding when the game ended. Canterbury got the second game start.

“I was really impressed with our pitchers tonight,” Linebaugh said. “I know it was little tough for Alyssa (Canterbury) out there in the second game with the water on the ball. Caitlin got going in the first game.”

After a slow start, the Wildcats started to get going in the third inning.

“We got a little more aggressive and tired of them getting the best of us,” Johnson said. “It’s settling in and getting rid of the nerves. We have a lot of returning kids, but they don’t have that aggressive streak in them. They just have to get going.”

Belding is scheduled to open its new field today at home with an O-K Blue doubleheader against Grand Rapids Creston.

“It would be great to get on the new field with out doubleheader against Creston tomorrow (today),” Linebaugh said. “Jessie Holyfield, an ex-player of mine, is the coach for Creston. That would be cool if it was the first game on our new field.”

Lakeview will travel today for a CSAA doubleheader against Holton.

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