Hudsonville softball defeats Lake Orion in Division 1 final to cap off ‘dream season’

East Lansing – The finish was exactly what Hudsonville envisioned: a dream season that ended perfectly in a storybook style that dominated the campaign.

Hudsonville capped an undefeated season in the Division 1 softball state championship with a 5-0 victory over Lake Orion at Michigan State’s Secchia Stadium on Saturday.

Hudsonville finished 42-0 and won its fourth state championship – the program’s first since 2012 – in coach Tom Vruggink’s storied career (1,198 wins).

“This team has played so incredibly all year,” said Vruggink. “They can withstand the pressure of an undefeated season. They are the best academic team in the state in Division 1. I just can’t say more about them as athletes and kids.”

Hudsonville trailed only three times all season. In the final game of the regular season, Hudsonville brought in pitchers from the lower leagues to face rival Jenison, not wanting the potential postseason opponent to see its regular pitchers, but still won.

BOX SCORE: Hudsonville 5, Lake Orion 0

“There was pressure going into the postseason and some people said a loss would be nice,” said Megan Beemer, who had two hits, scored two runs and started a three-run uprising in the first inning with a single . “But honestly, going undefeated is a dream come true and it’s just amazing. It’s a testament to what we’ve been working for all season.”

The three-run got Hudsonville rolling first and startled Lake Orion.

Beemer opened the game with a single and advanced to second base on a walk to Tessa Heffelbower. Both runners advanced a base on a fly to center field and Ava Gardner advanced to first base on a fielder’s choice, loading the bases.

Autumn Dennis made it 2-0 with a two-run single, and Lauren Luchies singled in Gardner.

That was all offensive pitcher Ava Snip needed, as she threw a one-hitter.

“I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous before the game,” Snip said. “But as soon as we scored, those nerves completely disappeared. Our offense is incredible. They helped me a lot.”

Lake Orion pitcher Rylee Limberger retired the next 10 batters after the three-run first inning and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning. But in the sixth, Beemer singled with two outs and Heffelbower doubled into the leftfield corner to score Beemer and give Hudsonville a 4-0 lead.

Claire VanderWeele added an RBI single in the seventh inning to end the scoring.

Lake Orion finished 38-6 while making its first appearance in the state finals.

“We had a great season, we beat some really good teams to get here, and they were ready to play,” Lake Orion coach Joe Woityra said. “It happens very quickly once the first pitch is made. We settled down after the first inning, but we just didn’t adjust like I thought we would.

“I didn’t think we were nervous. In the past, when we were down, normally we would get away (offensively), but that just didn’t happen. Their pitcher threw a great game. She did what she had to do and shut us down and not many pitchers did that this year.”

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