Otsego catcher Kayla Merrill prepares to fire the ball to second base as Allegan’s Camryn Maka slides home during the opening game of a doubleheader. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Otsego opens season by sweeping Allegan in twinbill

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Members of the Otsego softball team entered its Wolverine Conference doubleheader against Allegan on Friday, April 13, feeling a little antsy.
And with good reason.
The Bulldogs’ scheduled season opener against Fennville three days earlier had been cancelled due to illness and other issues on Fennville’s part, meaning Otsego had yet to experience any game action.
“The girls have been very anxious to compete,” Otsego coach Jake Knash said.
The Bulldogs made the most of that opportunity to compete, banging out a total of 29 hits—13 of them for extra bases—and scored 31 runs in earning the sweep by scores of 15-8 and 16-1.
“Overall, I was very happy with my team’s performance tonight,” Knash said. “They have been working very hard in practice and our team chemistry has been outstanding. I’m very proud of their effort and teamwork.”
Kendra Vanderlugt led the offensive charge for Otsego, going a combined 5-for-8 with a triple, a home run and four RBI.
Kayla Merrill (4-for-6 with a double, a home run and four RBI), Skylar Anderson (4-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBI), Kelsey Scheuer (3-for-6 with three doubles and five RBI), Katie Scheuer (4-for-8 with three doubles and two RBI), Avery Neville (3-for-7 with three RBI), Kayla Krusinga (2-for-3 with two RBI) and Madison Kinnane (2-for-4 with two RBI) all added multiple hits.
“I was extremely impressed with our hitting tonight,” Knash said. “Everyone was swinging the bat well.”
Otsego finished the evening with a .508 team batting average.
The Bulldogs wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, as Vanderlugt tripled with two outs in the top of the first inning of the opener and later scored on a passed ball.
Allegan responded in the bottom of the frame, getting a two-run double from Camryn Maka and a two-run single from Hannah Chestnut to go up 4-1.
Three Otsego errors played a big role in the Tigers’ four-run uprising.
“I think the girls were just a little nervous for their first game,” Knash said of the early defensive struggles. “I wasn’t too concerned because they were routine plays I know my girls can make.”
The Bulldogs didn’t trail for long, erupting for seven runs in the top of the second inning with a three-run homer from Merrill serving as the highlight.
Otsego added at least one run in all but the sixth inning to pull away.
Kinnane earned the complete-game win, allowing six hits and striking out nine. Arianna Davis added a two-run single for Allegan.
The nightcap was all Otsego, as the Bulldogs score two runs in the first inning before adding eight in the second and six more in the third to win the game via the mercy rule.
Kassidy Wesaw scored the first Otsego run as she singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Vanderlugt singled home a run in the opening inning and hit a two-run homer in the second. She also pitched all three innings, allowing one hit—a single to Ayla Firer—with no walks and four strikeouts.
“We just couldn’t get our bats going,” Allegan coach Denise Davis said.

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