GREENVILLE — Fresh off a weekend tournament championship at Morley Stanwood, the Greenville Yellow Jackets softball team was hoping to keep its solid play going against a conference rival.
On Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets did just that and swept the Cedar Springs Red Hawks in an O-K Bronze doubleheader at home. Greenville took game one 7-6 and rallied late to win game two 8-5.
“They really want to have a good season. I really like the determination I’ve seen this year,” Greenville coach Morgan Martin said.
Greenville (5-2, 2-0) won game one in thrilling fashion.
With the Yellow Jackets leading by a run in the top of the seventh inning, Cedar Springs loaded the bases with one out. Charlie Saylor stepped to the plate and ripped a line drive to Greenville’s Liz Niemiec at third base. Niemiec caught the ball, and instinctively, turned to third base, lunged and doubled up a diving Brittney Robinson before she was able to get back to the base.
“That was exciting. I was proud of my defense,” Martin said. “They had some tough hitters, but we were able to hold tight and get those last three outs.”
The Yellow Jackets trailed twice in the game.
Cedar Springs (4-7) opened the game with a single run in the first inning, but the Yellow Jackets responded with four runs in the bottom half of the first for a 4-1 lead.
The big hit for Greenville was a bases loaded clearing double by Lauren Walsh, who advanced to third on a error in left field.
“Lauren Walsh came through with that double, triple on an error, so that helped us to a big start,” Martin said. “We had a couple of errors in the field and things got a little shaky for a while after that.”
Starting pitcher Sarah Newhouse helped her own cause with a solo home run over the left field fence in the third inning, which gave the Yellow Jackets a 5-1 advantage.
The Red Hawks got two back in the fourth inning. The big blast was a solo home run from Aubrey Mouthaan to straight away center field.
Cedar Springs scored three more runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-5 lead as Greenville’s defense helped the Red Hawks out with two errors.
“It was a lot closer than I thought it should be,” Martin said. “We were able to manufacture some runs and pull it together. The girls play hard for me, so I appreciate we were able to pull it out and squeak out a win in the first game.”
Newhouse got the win, pitching all seven innings.
“She came off some great wins this weekend and her confidence was high,” Martin said. “She pitched another good game tonight.”
Beth Gantz, Nikota Howe and Newhouse each had two hits in the game one victory. Howe, Newhouse and Walsh each had two RBIs.
Game two was close late. With the game tied 5-5 going into the fifth inning, the Yellow Jackets scored three times late to win.
Nikota Howe pitched the first four innings. Newhouse came on in relief and earned the win.
Niemiec went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs. Emily Schnepp, Howe and Walsh each had two hits. Newhouse had two RBIs.
“I’m very happy with our wins tonight,” Martin said. “It wasn’t the best we could play. I thought we played better this weekend, but we were able to get some runs and find a way to win.”
Greenville will travel to Cedar Springs for a single game on Thursday. The Yellow Jackets added a couple of games for Friday and will travel to Tri County to face the Vikings and Sault Ste. Marie.