After opening District play with a victory on May 31, the Sailors headed to Holland on Saturday morning, to do battle with the Holland Christian Maroons in the semi-final round.
The Sailors pounced on the Maroons for 3 runs in the top of the first, and never looked back. Hannah DeVries and Lynden Hoeksema opened with singles and Syd DeYoung walked to load the bases. Kendra Kuiper then grounded to shortstop, and a two base error plated DeVries and Hoeksema with the Sailors’ first two runs. Maddie Baar then popped out to deep second base, driving in DeYoung. The Sailors added a fourth run, when Kuiper doubled, followed by singles from Baar and Mariah Diekevers. After three innings – Sailors 4, Maroons 1.
In the fourth, South tallied 3 more runs. Liz Memmelaar walked and DeVries reached on an infield error. After Hoeksema moved the runners over on a groundout, DeYoung reached on another infield error, which scored Memmelaar. Lauren Teitsma then drove in DeVries with a sacrifice fly to left field. Kuiper’s single then sent DeYoung home. Sailors 7, Maroons 1.
Things were quiet until the sixth. Hoeksema reached base on a bunt single. Teitsma singled before Kuiper hit into a fielder’s choice. Baar and Diekevers singled, scoring Teitsma. Hannah Wohlfert then singled to drive in Kuiper. The Maroons answered with two runs on an error, walk, single, walk and single. After six – Sailors 9, Maroons 3.
The Sailors then batted around in the seventh, and put another 5 runs on the board. DeVries doubled, and scored on Hoeksema’s single. DeYoung singled, followed by a Teitsma single and throwing error, scoring Hoeksema. Kuiper then doubled to drive in DeYoung and Teitsma. Baar followed with a double of her own to plate Kuiper. Final score: Sailors 14, Maroons 3.
Kendra Kuiper pitched the first three innings to pick up the win. She scattered four hits, recording 1 strikeout and no walks. Hannah DeVries recorded a hold in 4 innings, on five hits, two runs (none earned), with one strikeout and two walks.
The Sailors earned the right to face off with the winner of the Unity Christian – Zeeland West semi-final matchup. Unity Christian spanked the Dux, 12-4, to set up a rematch between the Crusaders and the Sailors. South had won the last three matchups, including wins at the Grand Rapids Christian Invitational in 2014 and 2015, and capped by a Sailor 2-1 walk-off win in the 2015 District semi-final at Unity Christian.
However, 2016 belonged to the Crusaders, in a lopsided 8-0 win. As in 2015, the Sailors won the 10 am contest, but the wait through the 12 noon game to determine their opponent in the finals seemed to have stalled the Sailors’ early momentum. South managed only 4 hits, while the Crusaders blasted 15 hits and 8 earned runs.
South ended the season with a 22-16 record, a second place finish in the O-K Gold conference, and two wins in District play. The Sailors graduate four seniors – Hannah DeVries, Syd DeYoung, Mariah Diekevers and Kylea Vander Weide. The 2017 Lady Sailors squad will open the season with new faces starting at third base, catcher, second base and left field.