Baldwin softball team falls twice to Hesperia

BALDWIN — The Baldwin softball team lost 28-1 and 18-4 in a pair of three-inning games on Tuesday to Hesperia to open the regular season.

Nikki Frasier and Gracie Lemieux handled the pitching duties in the first game for Baldwin while Rachel Groendyk pitched two innings in the second game.

Both games were non-conference.

“We're showing improvement and we're doing our best, sticking in there,” said Baldwin's Miranda Roberts.

Baldwin coach Bob Hilts noted that Tuesday's opponent provided a formidable challenge.

“It's some of the best pitching we'll see all year,” he said. “But we weren't timid at the plate. When you play someone like Hesperia, they'll hit the ball. They hit the ball well against us. We had problems finding the strike zone from the pitcher's spot.

“Our first game, we wanted to get out there and see how we would do,” said Baldwin's Brittany Graham. “But it's a pretty good team we're going against. We know how good the teams are.”

Temperatures were around 40 degrees with a strong wind.

“It was very cold,” said Baldwin's Katie Bolles. “My fingers were freezing. The first game, I played left field. (The weather) messed us up. But it was good for us to play.”

“It's probably the best team we'll play all year long,” Hilts said. “I was concerned we wouldn't be willing to stand at bat against someone who threw the ball like they did. We were choosy against pitches. I was happy.”

Baldwin is home Thursday with Big Rapids Crossroads.

“For being our first game, we did really well,” said Frasier, adding that it was so cold, “I couldn't feel my hand when I was going to pitch.”

It was important, though, Frasier noted, to get the first game in the books for her team.

“I guess today was more like a practice for us,” she said, acknowledging that the Panthers realized ahead of time how powerful of an opponent Hesperia would be.

At the plate, shortstop Ashley Roy had a triple and double during the day for Baldwin. Kyrie Norman had two hits.

“We had a couple of really good hits,” Hilts said. “I think if I was doing the scoring, there would have been some errors on their players. We had good contact.”

Hilts also lauded the efforts of Gracie Lemieux at first base and Ashley Roy at shortstop. He also commended Groendyk, another freshman, for her pitching efforts in the second game.

Catchers Bernie Clothier in the first game and Bolles in the second “came through for us,” Hilts said. “We have to clean up a few errors and find the strike zone.”