Tom Vruggink will begin his 33rd season at the helm of the girls softball program. In that time period the Hudsonville softball program has amassed 873 wins and 3 State Championships. With many returning players the Lady Eagles are poised for another successful campaign. Here are some answers to some questions we had to begin the softball season.
CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME HIGH LIGHTS FROM LAST YEAR’S SEASON?
We finished with a 13 – 2 record in the conference, good for 2nd place and our overall record was 28 – 5. Probably the most memorable game of the year was against Rockford at our field. We were down 7 – 0 after four innings and we came back and won the game 8 – 7. It was a very exciting game for us.
ARE THERE ANY BIG GAMES/EVENTS THAT WE CAN CIRCLE ON THE SCHEDULE?
Really, all of our league games will be big and we have two tournaments at our new field. We hope to make every home game a big event on the new field. The tournament on May 3 will feature four teams that are ranked in the top 10 in the state. We will be looking forward to that date on the schedule.
HOW DOES THIS TEAM DIFFER FROM PAST YEARS?
This year’s team will be a little different at the plate. It looks like we will have to be a better bunting team and a good running team. We don’t know who is going to give us the power in the middle of the lineup. I also think our defense will be better and our pitching will be better, with the addition of Alli Kortman in the circle.
WHAT ARE YOUR SEASON EXPECTATIONS?
My expectations are the same every year. I expect our team to have fun and win a lot of ball games. With those wins I hope to win another OK Red Championship, District and Regional Championship and get to the Final Four in the state once again.
WHO ARE YOUR KEY RETURNING PLAYERS?
I will start with our pitching. We have all three pitchers back. Alli Kortman returns this year after suffering another injury last year. My hope is that Lexi Agers has a good bounce back year and then Kelly Zackrison will put in some time in the circle too. We should be solid behind the plate where Jessica Wright returns to handle our pitchers. Other players returning are Hailey Stanford, Marissa Vredeveld, and Carolyn Graf all seniors and ready to go.
WHO ARE THIS YEAR’S BIGGEST RIVALS?
Our biggest rivals in the conference will be Rockford and Grandville. We also have a very tough schedule with some very good non-league teams coming in.