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  • Jorie Rutkowski

Raiders Crush County Rival Ionia/Team Preview

On Tuesday, the Portland Varsity Softball team took on the Ionia Bulldogs in a double header to take another step toward a league title. In the past Portland has been notorious for dominating the league but has not seen a title since 2016. The Raiders are determined to bring that title back home.

This year’s team is composed of just two seniors but stands strong with eight returning players. These players include senior pitcher Adrianna Novara, a four-year varsity player with previous all conference, all district, and all region recognitions. Allison Summers, the other returning senior, brings power to the outfield with her three years of experience. Other notable returners include junior Jada Walton, the short stop, and Natalie Linebaugh, the second baseman, who both earned all-conference, district, and region honors as well. Both girls have three years of varsity experience as well as juniors Emma Johnson and Ella Gardner. Sophomores Brooke Seal and Sophia Novara return for their second year on the varsity squad, ready to make a heavy impact on the program themselves.

In Tuesday’s double header, the team brought home two solid league wins. Game one began slowly for the Raiders. The team took an inning to adjust to the pitching, but the defense held strong, and after the first both teams remained scoreless. It was in the second inning that Sophomore Brooke Seal stepped up to the plate and ignited the flame in the team by hitting a triple to right field with two outs. Sophomore Maria Krause followed Seal, hitting a strong single to right field and knocking in an RBI. Ella Gardner jogged to first on a walk, and Jada Walton followed at the plate with a single knocking in Krause for another run.

The Raider’s continued their lock-down defense and continued their hitting streak in the fourth inning. Maria Krause knocked in another RBI, as well as Jada Walton, Sophia Novara, and Natalie Linebaugh each adding one of their own. In the fifth inning, hot-bat Brooke Seal stepped up to the plate and hit her first career home-run. After the game, Seal stated that she really just had to have confidence at the plate.

“I was really just thinking, let ‘er rip tater chip” as she stepped up to the plate. This quote is a team joke, just one of the many things that makes this team’s bond so strong.

Novara threw a strong fifth inning, and the team finished out the game in the sixth by scoring three runs on pass balls and an RBI from Allison Summers, closing out with a mercy-rule 10-0 win.

In the second game, the team came out with more energy than the first. The Raiders’ bats were on the entire game, completing the game in just three innings with a 16-1 mercy-rule win. Hot bats for the second game included Maria Krause, who went 3-3 with her first career home-run and four RBI’s, Sophia Novara who went 3-3 with an RBI, Emma Johnson who went 2-3 with two RBI’s, and Emma Selden and Allison Summers who each went 2-3 with two RBI’s each. Other notable hitters were Jada Walton who went 2-3 with an RBI and Natalie Linebaugh who went 3-3.

The team is now 4-0 in league play after crushing both the Bulldogs of Ionia and the Cougars of Lansing Catholic, and is 7-2 overall. They take on the Gladiators of Fowlerville Thursday, hoping to extend their win streak.

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