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Playoff Primer: Baseball, softball join the fray

Duncan MacLean • May 28, 2019 at 12:15 AM

It is a loaded week in local prep sports, as the remaining postseason tournaments kick off and the soccer and lacrosse regionals rage on.

Local teams will be all over the map in loser-goes-home contest this week. Don’t miss these.

LACROSSE

No. 4 Spring Lake boys vs. No. 2 East Grand Rapids — Regional final

WHERE: Spring Lake High School, The ‘Yard

WHEN: Today, 6 p.m.

The week kicks off this evening with a chance at revenge for Spring Lake boys lacrosse. In a historic year for the program, the Lakers will host defending state champion East Grand Rapids for a rematch of last year’s regional final, as they gun for their first regional championship in program history.

Last year’s matchup ended in a tough 16-2 loss for Spring Lake at EGR’s Memorial Field. So far this year, the Pioneers have defeated Jenison 13-4 and Traverse City St. Francis 10-4 in their postseason journey. The Lakers took a 10-5 win over Petoskey and a dramatic 9-7 win over Reeths-Puffer.

Spring Lake girls vs. No. 7 Grand Rapids Christian — Regional semifinal

WHERE: East Grand Rapids High School, Memorial Field

WHEN: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

The Spring Lake girls lacrosse team has a long road through its regional with a few tough outs standing in front of a monumental challenge in the final.

After a heart-pounding 11-10 win over Lowell in the opener, the Lakers are set to take on Grand Rapids Christian in the semifinals Wednesday. Should they pull off an upset and reach the final, East Grand Rapids will likely await, which has outscored their opponents 57-0 through its first two playoff games this season.

Spring Lake dropped its regular-season matchup with Grand Rapids Christian this year 20-10, but that didn’t stop them against Lowell, which bested the Lakers twice this year before the postseason game.

The Eagles’ playoff opener came against Mattawan, ending in a 13-9 win. For comparison, Mattawan beat Spring Lake, 17-3, May 10.

SOCCER

No. 9 Grand Haven vs. No. 2 Grandville — District semifinal

WHERE: Grandville High School

WHEN: Wednesday, 5 p.m.

The Grand Haven girls soccer team will continue their district tournament journey with another familiar matchup, as they take on O-K Red Conference opponent Grandville for the third time Wednesday.

The Bulldogs are billed as one of the top teams in the state, but the Bucs have played them well this year. The first matchup ended in a 3-2 loss for Grand Haven, while the second finished in a 4-4 tie. It was one of two ties for Grandville during the season, while they took just one loss all year.

Grand Haven should be ready to go after an emotional, overtime win at West Ottawa in the opening round last week. Grandville earned its spot in the semifinal with a 3-1 win over Rockford.

Should the Bucs pull off the upset, they will play the winner of Mona Shores and Jenison on Friday at Grandville.

Spring Lake vs. Sparta — District semifinal 

WHERE: Coopersville High School

WHEN: Today, 5 p.m.

Spring Lake girls soccer made short work of its playoff opener last week — literally. An 8-0 mercy win brought their game against Fremont to a close at halftime, earning everyone an extra long holiday weekend.

Their opponent tonight should pose more of a challenge, but the Lakers have seen their tricks before. O-K Blue Conference foe Sparta will meet Spring Lake in the district semifinals after dropping to the Lakers by scores of 4-0 and 5-0 during the season. The Spartans are no slouches, as Spring Lake accounted for two of their three total losses on the season.

If the Lakers keep rolling through familiar competition, they will likely meet Reeths-Puffer in the district finals Thursday at 6 p.m.

SOFTBALL

Grand Haven vs. Holland — District opener

WHERE: Grand Haven High School

WHEN: Tuesday, 2 p.m.

The Grand Haven softball team has enjoyed a hard-hitting season with the help of a stellar senior class and productive young talent. This week, they kick off a hopefully long postseason journey by hosting the district tournament.

The Bucs’ opener comes against Holland, who put together a 5-21 record through the regular season.

Looking ahead through the rest of the district, Grand Haven is set up for success. The Bucs picked up dominant wins over three of the remaining four District 5 teams, outscoring West Ottawa 36-8 in their three matchups and Reeths-Puffer 29-10 in their doubleheader meeting. They played a single game in the first week of the season against Mona Shores, taking a narrow 6-4 win and did not play Muskegon.

A win over Holland will pit the Bucs vs. Mona Shores in the district semifinals in their biggest challenge, setting up a potential matchup with Reeths-Puffer, West Ottawa or Muskegon in the finals.

No. 6 Spring Lake vs. Fruitport — District opener

WHERE: Fruitport High School

WHEN: Today, 4:15 p.m.

Spring Lake softball has gotten used to deep playoff runs in recent years and 2019 should be no different through the district tournament.

The Lakers kick off their postseason with a rivalry matchup on the road, visiting Fruitport this afternoon. In their regular-season doubleheader, Spring Lake swept the Trojans by scores of 9-1 and 7-0.

Like the Bucs, Spring Lake has dominated its district opponents in the regular season. Fellow O-K Blue Conference teams Sparta, Coopersville and Comstock Park join Kenowa Hills in District 41. The Lakers outscored the three conference opponents by an astonishing 94-15 margin but did not face Kenowa Hills this year.

A win over Fruitport sends Spring Lake to the district semifinals vs. Coopersville. A win there will bring Sparta, Comstock Park or Kenowa Hills in the final.

BASEBALL

Grand Haven vs. Muskegon/Mona Shores — District semifinal

WHERE: Grand Haven High School

WHEN: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Grand Haven baseball picked up a favorable draw for its home district tournament this year, snagging a bye into the semifinals.

Muskegon and Mona Shores will meet in the opening round at Grand Haven at 5 p.m. today to determine the Bucs’ semifinal opponent.

District 5 is unfamiliar for Grand Haven with just one O-K Red team in attendance. A 2-0 victory over Mona Shores bodes well for the semifinal, while a three-game sweep of West Ottawa could make an easy final should the Panthers make it past Reeths-Puffer and Holland. Both the semifinal and final are played Saturday.

Spring Lake vs. Comstock Park/Allendale — District semifinal

WHERE: Grand Rapids West Catholic High School

WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.

The Spring Lake baseball team drew a bye into the semifinal but didn’t luck out in its potential opponent. O-K Blue Conference champion Allendale will face Comstock Park for a near surefire win and a chance to play the Lakers after sweeping them in the final series of the season.

Anything can happen in postseason baseball, meaning the Lakers could find themselves in an O-K Blue rematch for the title as West Catholic and Coopersville occupy the other side of the bracket, though Kenowa Hills could play spoiler.

GOLF

Grand Haven at Division 1 regional championship

WHERE: The Meadows, Grand Valley State University

WHEN: 9 a.m.

The Grand Haven golf team transitioned to a new home course this year, taking over the Meadows under the now-revealed Jack Nicklaus remodel of Grand Haven Golf Club. After a full season to adjust to the new course, the all-important Division 1 regional championship will run at Grand Valley State University, giving the Bucs a chance to rock their home track and earn a trip to the state final.

Spring Lake at Division 2 regional championship

WHERE: Gaylord Country Club

WHEN: Wednesday, 9 a.m.

Spring Lake boys golf has put together a stellar season with some of the area’s best golfers on its roster. Nick Kruger, Chance Fry and freshman Evan McDermott will all be gunning for individual state qualifications Wednesday, making a team bid for the Lakers a real possibility. With so many medalist contenders, it may be worth the drive up to Gaylord to watch the Lakers go.

TRACK

Grand Haven at Division 1 state finals

WHERE: East Kentwood High School

WHEN: Saturday

Grand Haven track and field will take on a loaded Division 1 state championship Saturday after qualifying 16 runners at the regional finals.

With frontrunners in the mid-distance events and contenders in the field, there will be no shortage of Bucs to watch at East Kentwood.

Morning events, including the pole vault, long jump and throws will begin at 9:30 a.m. with running prelims and morning running finals beginning at 10 a.m. and afternoon running kicking off at 1 p.m.

Spring Lake, Fruitport at Division 2 state finals

WHERE: Zeeland Stadium

WHEN: Saturday

Spring Lake and Fruitport track and field will bring complementing state championship teams to the Division 2 finals on Saturday with the Lakers qualifying a large girls team and a few select boys and the Trojans doing the opposite.

Both teams will have runners and relays in the mix for titles, with a few marquee performers in the field.

Morning events kick off at Zeeland Stadium at 9:30 a.m. with morning running beginning at 10 a.m. and afternoon finals beginning at 1 p.m.

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