Kim Reichard doesn’t believe her Holt softball team has been best prepared for the regional stage of the state tournament the past couple years.
She’s trying to make sure the Rams are prepared should they get back to that stage this time around.
A more challenging schedule this spring has resulted in Holt already having a couple more losses than it did all of last season. But that’s a trade-off Reichard is fine with making if it helps the Rams (15-5) experience success in June.
“We’ve upped our schedule a little bit,” Reichard said. “We went to a tournament and played some pretty big Division 1 schools that are ranked. We had Napoleon at our tournament who is ranked. Of our five losses, all but one has been to ranked teams. Our schedule has been tougher. It’s been good experience for us to see that type of competition. We’ve been up and down in that sense, but we had a great weekend in Chelsea (last month). We’ve seen our moments of what we have to offer throughout the season so far.”
Reichard will hope to see more of those moments and the positive benefits of the more challenging schedule next week when her Rams try to repeat in the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame Softball Classic.
Holt is one of the top seeds for the single-elimination, eight-team tournament, which will begin Saturday, May 14 at Ranney Park.
The Rams made program history by winning the event for the first time last year, knocking off Eaton Rapids and St. Johns en route to the championship.
“The past is the past and we go in now just like any other team and we have to earn what we put into it and play one game at a time with a new format of single-elimination games,” Reichard said. “It’s a new year and we’ve got to earn it back.”
Holt is joined by Grand Ledge, Eaton Rapids and Lakewood as the other top seeds for the event. DeWitt, Laingsburg, Mason and Morrice round out the field.
Opening-round matchups include Eaton Rapids, which has won the tournament four of the last five years, taking on DeWitt, Grand Ledge against Mason, Lakewood facing Laingsburg and Holt playing Morrice.
The semifinals will take place at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday, May 16 with the championship to follow at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 17.
Bob Every, who has taken over running the Softball Classic, believes the single-elimination format will add some excitement to the event
“I’ve always liked what the format was years and years ago when it first started and it was a single-elimination tournament,” Every said. “That right there in itself makes it exciting. There’s no second chances. You’ve got to play your best every game that you play.
“We want (winning the Softball Classic) to be a feather in everybody’s hat just like it’s a feather in Grand Ledge’s hat when they can say we won the Diamond Classic.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
SOFTBALL CLASSIC SCHEDULE
(all games at Ranney Park)
Saturday, May 14
11 a.m. – Eaton Rapids vs. DeWitt
1 p.m. – Grand Ledge vs. Mason
3 p.m. – Lakewood vs. Laingsburg
5 p.m. – Holt vs. Morrice
Monday, May 16
5 p.m., 7 p.m. – Semifinals
Tuesday, May 17
6 p.m. – Championship