Emma Craig had been struggling at the plate a little recently.
The junior outfielder shook those struggles off and delivered in a key moment for the Grand Ledge softball team.
Craig came through with the go-ahead hit for the Comets, helping them rally to a 12-7 victory over Mason in an opening-round Greater Lansing Hall of Fame Softball Classic contest Monday night at Ranney Park.
Craig’s pinch-hit, two-run double off the left field wall was part of a nine-run fifth inning that vaulted Grand Ledge (22-0) into Wednesday’s semifinal against DeWitt.
“That was just focus and concentration,” Grand Ledge coach Pat Malloy said of Craig’s hit. “She knows what she can hit and she was fortunate enough to get that pitch.
“She’s been a starter at times for us and was scuffling a little bit. I think that’s a great big confidence booster for her, and I think I’ll see just great things from her the rest of the year.”
Craig is hoping the same.
“It felt really good,” she said. “I was just really excited and my heart was racing.”
The Comets got several big hits and capitalized on a few Mason miscues while sending 15 to the plate during a decisive fifth where they erased what was a 7-3 deficit.
Kaylee Hirschman had a two-run single, while Emily Songer, Kenzie Trierweiler and Bri Rodriguez also drove in runs during the inning.
“When things don’t go our way, sometimes we get a little negative,” Malloy said. “We didn’t do that today. We were right after it. We had great at-bats all day long. When they threw it out over the plate, we hit it hard and that’s kind of what we do.”
Songer also had a two-run home run for Grand Ledge and picked up the pitching win in relief. She allowed just one run over the final three innings.
“That kid – she’s going to run some Fortune 500 company because she is so focused and she’s just reliable,” Malloy said of Songer. “She’s so steady. These kids, they know that technically she’s a coach on the field. She’s just a calming presence, especially for the younger kids. When the wheels start to rattle or wobble a little bit, she’s that calming influence that as a coach I’m blessed to have her.”
Cierra Caudill had a solo home run and a run-scoring single to lead Mason. Brianna Charlot, Lydia Warnke, Anna Walta and Jenelle McCoy also drove in runs for the Bulldogs.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.