EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Hall of Fame Softball Classic has been happening in Mid-Michigan for 40 years. In the first 28 years of the tournament, Eaton Rapids never claimed the title.
In the last 12 years, the Softball Classic has been played, the Greyhounds have won the title nine times.
The most recent one came on Wednesday when Eaton Rapids took down Holt, 10-8, to capture its fourth straight Softball Classic title.
“It’s maybe not so much new to me, but it is to 12 of our girls, that are brand new to varsity this year,” Eaton Rapids softball coach, Scott Warriner said. “Very happy for them. We just kept working at it and kept getting a little better, because we were a raw product early on when we started this season, but we’ve been getting better all the time.”
This ninth title certainly didn’t come easy to Warriner and his crew. After the Greyhounds scored a run in the top of the first, thanks to an R.B.I double by Emily Cline, Holt responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead.
The Rams added another run in the third inning, to take a 3-1 lead and it stayed that way until the fifth inning.
Which is when the Greyhounds’ bats woke up in a big way.
Eaton Rapids tied the game on a groundball from Shelby Kunkel that was missed played by the Holt defense. In the very next at-bat, Zoe Alvarez brought home two of her teammates with a double to left field, giving the Greyhounds a 5-3 lead.
In the following inning, Eaton Rapids was at it again. Five more runs crossed the plate to give the Greyhounds a 10-3 lead, which held up until the bottom of the seventh, and final inning.
Holt had no intention of going down without a fight. Cline hit a homerun out to left-field to start the Rams’ laterally. Sophomore Katie Lackman knocked in two runs with a double to left field, cutting the lead to 10-7. Holt added one more run and had the tying run at the plate, but the Greyhounds were able to capture the final out of the inning, and the game.
“I was just saying let’s get one out at a time, we only need two more,” Warriner said when asked what he said to his team during a mound visit in the seventh inning. “That was the message, let’s just focus on getting a couple more outs and we can win this game.”
“I think the only thing going through my head was ‘Jesus.’ I was like another one, but I just tried to stay positive,” Eaton Rapids senior pitcher, who threw a complete game, Maggie Etue said.
“I believed in my team and what we could do,” Eaton Rapids senior and Softball Classic MVP, Emily Cline said. “When the last strike and the out was happening I was like ‘woo,’ there was a relief for me.”