HULL-The Western Christian softball team played Cherokee last Wednesday, May 31, but the Wolfpack did not have much luck as they were defeated 6-0 in Lakes Conference softball.
Western Christian coach Michael De Jong said Cherokee played well.
“Overall I thought we played a pretty good game again,” he said. “Cherokee was just the better team tonight.”
The Wolfpack sputtered offensively, but Alyssa Buren had a two-hit performance. She went 2-for-3 with a double.
“Story of the game was offensive struggles,” said De Jong. “Couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it. We left eight runners on base. All the credit goes to Cherokee pitcher Lindsay Williams. She finished with 15 Ks (strikeouts) and six hits. Our girls never got comfortable at the plate. We started to make the adjustments later in the game and put more balls in play which was good to see.”
Buren was in the pitcher’s circle for Western Christian. She went all seven innings, allowed six hits, six runs of which four where earned, three walks, a home run and eight strikeouts.
Despite a tough loss, De Jong said he has confidence in his team.
“I told the girls after the game that once we get all three phases of the game (pitching, hitting and defense) going in the same game, we have the chance to become a pretty good team and have a good season. Just need to keep fighting until that occurs. I am confident these girls will do that. Good thing is we have four more games this week to work on that,” De Jong said.
Wolfpack claim first victory of the season
Nathan Broek | Sports Editor
EMMETSBURG-With one of the longest Lakes Conference road trips of the season, in addition to players missing due to Class 1A Region 3 girls’ soccer tournaments, Western Christian softball coach Mike De Jong was unsure of what his team would bring Friday, June 2 against Emmetsburg. But the coach was pleasantly surprised as the Wolfpack came out on top over the E’Hawks 6-2.
Western Christian jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead with a single run in the top of the first inning, before Emmetsburg came back with a single run in the bottom of the first. After a scoreless third frame, the Wolfpack scored two in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. The E’Hawks clawed back with a single run in the bottom of the sixth but Western Christian put the game away with three runs in the top of the seventh.
“I was a little unsure how this game would go. First long road trip of the season without five varsity players — four of them starters — due to soccer and the last day of school after a week of finals,” De Jong said. “We only had four starters in their normal positions.”
With that said, De Jong could not have been more pleased with his team for coming away with a win.
“Very proud of the girls to get the first win of the season on the road, only committing two errors in the game with our new lineup,” he said. “Gracie Dykstra made her first career start at second base. She had seven assists and zero errors. All new outfield, which included two girls playing first varsity games, had six putouts and zero errors.”
Alyssa Buren led the offensive attack with three hits in four at-bats. She added three runs and one RBI to that list. Brooklyn Van Oort had one hit and one RBI. Hannah Jansma had one hit and one RBI and scored once. Dykstra had one hit.
Buren was also in the pitcher’s circle. She threw a complete game with six hits, two runs of which one was earned, two walks and three strikeouts.
Western wins MOC-Floyd Valley tournament title
ORANGE CITY-For the second day in a row, Western Christian softball coach Mike De Jong was unsure how his team would respond to an emotional soccer victory for a few of his players in addition to his team’s first softball victory the day before. But the Wolfpack were focused for the MOC-Floyd Valley tournament Saturday, June 3 and came away with the tournament title.
De Jong was concerned with how his team would play in the tournament, especially in its first game against rival Unity Christian, but Western Christian came out swinging with six runs in the first and six runs in the second to force the mercy rule after the third inning.
“I was unsure what to expect with the girls’ attitude for this game. Soccer girls came off a big win the night before and softball had our first win of the season after a long road trip to Emmetsburg the night before as well,” he said. “But the girls came out ready to go from the first pitch, which was good to see.”
The early runs also allowed pitcher, Alyssa Buren, to throw a no-hitter and capable of pitching the championship game against MOC-Floyd Valley. She threw all three innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
“Scoring runs early also allowed us to save some innings for Alyssa. She has thrown every inning so far this season “ DeJong said.
Leading the offensive numbers for this game was Chandler Schemper going 2-for-2 with two runs and two steals. Tori Wynja hit a double in three at-bats with one RBI. Brooklyn Van Oort walked twice and scored twice. Kailey Heemskerk also walked twice and scored twice. Madison Byl had one hit and one RBI.
“Very excited to get the offense going this game. Runs have been hard to come by this week and glad to see some things start to click offensively,” De Jong said. “Only had five hits and seven walks. The girls were patient at the plate and when they saw a pitch they liked they were aggressive. We didn’t chase pitches out of the zone, which they had been doing a lot earlier this week. We were also very aggressive on the bases (three steals total).”
That play carried over into the championship game against the Dutch. After a scoreless first inning, Western Christian got five runs in the top of the second. MOC-Floyd Valley countered with two runs in the bottom half to decrease the advantage to 5-2. Following a scoreless third frame, the Wolfpack scored one run in the top of the fourth before the Dutch scored two runs in the bottom of the third to make the score 6-4. But Buren held MOC-Floyd Valley silent the rest of the way and Western Christian took home the MOC-Floyd Valley tournament title in five innings due to a time limit.
“This game was played with pure guts from the girls. They have had a very busy week with five softball games in four days, two soccer games for five of the girls, practices for both sports and finals week at school. The girls were exhausted, but they refused to give up,” DeJong said.
Schemper went 2-for-3 at the plate in the final game with one double and one RBI. Tori Wynja had two hits in three plate appearances with one double and two RBIs. Janae Wynja went 2-for-3 with a double and one run. Hannah Jansma had one hit, one run and one RBI. Sydney Stiemsma had two hits in two plate appearances with a double, two runs and one RBI.
“Excited for the Wynja sisters to have a good day at the plate for both games. Both girls play soccer, so softball practices have been limited and both have been struggling a little bit from the plate. Happy to see them get some good at-bats today,” DeJong said.
Buren took the pitcher’s circle and threw all five innings with eight hits, four runs that were all earned, four walks and three strikeouts.
“Proud of the way Alyssa threw again. Her first few games she threw this season didn’t go as she had wanted, but she continues to fight and has gotten better every game,” DeJong said. “This was her fifth game pitching in the last four days. She was out of gas, but kept fighting. She refused to give up. Having the game shortened to five innings due to time and weather really did benefit her.”
De Jong was pleased his team was able to take home the tournament title.
“Overall, a good day for the Wolfpack. Defense continues to play really well. Offense is starting to show signs of life, the girls are starting to realize there are multiple ways to get on base and we don’t need to hit the long ball every time. Taking a walk, or laying down a bunt works as well. We have the athletes to play the short game if we need to and the girls are starting to realize that,” De Jong said.