Lady Vikes Capture DIII Sectional Softball Title
Fresh from winning their second consecutive NWOAL Softball Championship, the Evergreen Lady Vikings defeated the Archbold Lady Blue Streaks 3-1 for back-to-back DIII Sectional Softball titles at William “Bill” Steck Field on Friday. Evergreen had earned its spot in the championship match-up with a decisive 12-0 win over Montpelier and Archbold came in after a 15-5 victory over Delta.
It was a tight defensive battle against the Streaks, one of two teams the Vikings shared the NWOAL title with, along with Wauseon. All the scoring came in the first inning then pitching and defense, from both sides, took over from there. Evergreen senior Jocelyn Schuster turned in a Gold Glove performance in center field robbing several Archbold batters of what looked like sure hits, one with a full out diving grab. “I just rely on teammates. Communication is a really big part and if we’re communicating, we’re doing really well,” she explained. I trusted my teammates to back me up in case I missed it. We all just work together.”
The Archbold defense came up just as big in some spots including in the bottom of the third when the Vikings loaded the bases with nobody out and clean-up hitter Kennedy Coolman coming to the plate. Coolman drilled a shot on one hop to third baseman Harley Phillips who fired to catcher Meghan Taylor at the plate for one out. Base runner Skylee Raker stumbled rounding third, got caught in a rundown and was eventually tagged out at the plate by pitcher Natalie Nofziger for the double play.
There were no real scoring opportunities until the Lady Streaks’ first two batters singled to start the top of the seventh inning. Viking pitcher Brooklyn Richardson then settled down and easily retired the next three hitters to preserve the victory.
“We knew Archbold was going to be a tough team coming in. It’s not the same team we played earlier in the year when we beat them 8-0,” said veteran softball coach Jim Zoltowski who is in his first year at the helm of the Lady Viking program. Coach Zoltowski gave a lot of credit to his senior pitcher, Richardson, who was in the circle for most of the season for the first time in her career. “She has really been stellar this year,” he said.
Zoltowski also commented on the defensive effort in the game by Schuster. “Jocelyn is a tremendous leader. We need her leadership out there in the outfield. We knew she was capable of making plays like that,” he said.
Evergreen now takes on the top-seeded Otsego Lady Knights next Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at Blue Devils Fields located at 1041 Albon Road in Holland.
Click on the link above to access photos from the game. Photos are in then jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded fore no charge courtesy of the fultoncountymedia.com website.