The Wayland varsity softball team claimed yet another district championship Saturday, as ace pitcher Emma Ludema fired a five-inning perfect game with 15 up and 15 down.
The Wildcats prevailed 10-0 to boost their overall season record to 36-1 while Hopkins exited its season at 22-10. The regional tournament will be held next weekend in Wayland and the Wildcats will take on Vicksburg in the opening round.
Ludema was masterful in mowing down Viking batters, striking out 11. She only went to a ball three count once.
She and freshman Harmony Laker pitched shutout softball throughout the two games for the day.
Meanwhile, coach Cheri Ritz’ offensive juggernaugt scored in every inning, mostly with aggressive base running and timely bunting.
The Wildcats rapped out a dozen hits, with Kennedy Cole delivering the biggest blow, a two-run homer, and Kaelyn Sikkema and Emma Tornes both unloading a double. Sikkema, Cole and Reece Veltman each had two hits and Rya VanderKooi, Harmony Laker and Liberty Lake each added one.
Hannah Brinks absorbed the loss on the mound in four and one-third innings of work.
Hopkins clobbered Hastings 17-0 and 16-1 last month in a regular season doubleheader, but this time the Saxons showed a lot of improvement.
The Vikings were clinging to a 1-0 advantage until the bottom of the fourth inning, when they erupted for two runs and they added three in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
Senior Sierra Smith was working on a no-hitter through four innings before giving up a couple of runs on a two hits and an error in the fifth. She walked four and struck out seven. Freshman Hannah Brinks finished the job over the last two innings.
Peyton Roxbury came up with three hits and two runs batted in. Megan Andrews also had a couple of RBIs and Lyla Reynolds drove home another with a double.
Smith, who like Reynolds entered the game with a batting average over .500, had one hit, as did Emily Dimock, Ava Vanderkolk and Madison Schwartz and Brinks.
In Wayland’s semifinal ballgame against Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, the Wildcats busted out of a scoreless deadlock in the third inning with three runs and added two more each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
A highlight of the scoring later in the game was yet another home run, this one to dead center field, by Kami Morse.
Emma Ludema pitched six scoreless innings and was never in any trouble, taming the Trojan batters.
Starter Hannah Rairigh was missing from the lineup due to a hand injury she suffered in action last week, but she is expected to be back in action for the regional next Saturday.