BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) - With Hudsonville and Garden City bringing their high-powered offenses to Bailey Park, Friday's Division 1 semi-final was not expected to be a pitchers' duel.
What it turned out to be, though, was a hitters' clinic put on by the Eagles. Hudsonville bats were working at full-tilt, 13-3, as the Eagles teed off for 18 hits off of Garden City pitching. Hudsonville broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning and added four more in the seventh.
"We've been doing that all year long," Coach Tom Vruggink said. "In our 39 games we've played this year, we've only had three or four games in which we've been held to less than 10 hits."
This was also the 18th time this season that Hudsonville had scored 10 or more runs in a game. Friday's attack was paced by Brooke Agers, who was 4-for-5 with 3 RBI, and Danielle Freeman, who was 3-for-5 (with two doubles) and drove in three runs. Josie Hamming drove in two runs with a triple that rolled to the centerfield fence.
"We do an awesome job hitting and an awesome job fielding," said Freeman, who led the team with 11 home runs this season. "We have an awesome hitting instructor and we have awesome coaches and we all play travel ball, so we get an edge over the other teams. We're just strong individuals and we're strong at hitting."
Hudsonville (39-3) - whose baseball team also won its semifinal earlier in the day -- won softball state championships in 2009 and 2010.
"Both of those teams hit the ball pretty well, but you know, this team from top to bottom hits the ball better than any team I've ever had," said Vruggink, who's in his 31st season leading the Eagles.
Garden City, which won the 2008 state title, was caught off-guard by the Hudsonville attack, Coach Barry Patterson said.
"We didn't give up four runs in a game all year and that was only twice, so for me this was totally unexpected, and I think the girls were even a little bit in shock," he said. "Normally if we score three runs it's going to be a good ballgame. We just ran across a buzzsaw today."
MATTAWAN 5, WHITE LAKE LAKELAND 4: The Wildcats have an opportunity to defend their Division 1 title, after they jumped out to a 5-0 lead and hung on against the Eagles. Abby Stoner put Mattawan (33-10) up with a two-run homer to right-center in the first inning. The Wildcats added three more in the third on four hits; Emily McCarty had the big hit with a two-run double down the leftfield line. Stoner and starting pitcher Stacy Thompson each went 3-for-3 at the plate. Lakeland (36-7) threatened in the seventh inning with two runs, but winning pitcher Allie Havers struck out the potential winning run to end the game.