MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Talented freshmen are going have some great games as they flash their natural skills, and some tough ones as they learn how to play with the big kids.

Reeths-Puffer’s Maddie Snyder, a very talented ninth-grade varsity softball player, had both on the same night.

Snyder hit the first two home runs of her varsity career in the opener of a doubleheader against Wyoming on Tuesday – a three-run shot and a grand slam – leading the Rockets to an easy 11-0 victory in five innings.

Her big day had a bit of a somber ending, however. She was the starting pitcher in the second game and ran into some control problems, along with a shaky defense behind her.

Reeths-Puffer freshman Maddie Snyder, who hit two homers in Game 1 – a three-run shot and a grand slam. Photo/Steve Gunn

The Rockets fell 11-8 and Snyder got the first loss of her varsity pitching career.

Reeths-Puffer is now 2-1 on the season, and Coach Sarah Bayle thinks her team has a lot of good things ahead of it this season, despite a sloppy performance in the field in the second game.

“I think it got in our heads a little bit after we won that first game, and we weren’t really locked in after that,” Bayle said. “I don’t think the defensive problems will be a big thing for us later on.”

Snyder started the night off with a bang by hitting her three-run homer in the first inning of Game 1. She added her grand slam in the third inning, giving the Rockets plenty of padding on their way to the win.

Reeths-Puffer’s Caitlynn Duffey is met by her teammates at home plate after hitting a three-run homer in Game 2. Photo/Steve Gunn

Snyder said she had only hit two previous homers in her softball career, so she doubled her all-time total in one game.

“I just couldn’t believe it was real at first, and I was just happy we got the runs against a tough opponent,” said Snyder, 14, who looked surprised to be interviewed by a reporter after the game.

Bayle was surprised to hear that Snyder only had two homers prior to joining the varsity, because her offensive skills are so obvious.

“She has that good of a bat,” the coach said. “All offseason she worked so hard, and she comes in every day and she wants it. She’s one of those kids who is really coachable, and I’m expecting big things from her this season.”

R-P’s Kaylee Jones hustles to beat out a bunt. Photo/Steve Gunn

R-P’s Caitllyn Duffey pitched the win in the opener, allowing only two hits while striking out 12.

Natalie Kunnen added two hits for the R-P offense.

Game 2 was a tough one for the Rockets and Snyder, who was making the second pitching start of her varsity career.

She got in trouble right away in the first inning, allowing three straight walks that helped Wyoming take a 2-1 lead.

Snyder struck out the first two batters in the second inning, then her infield defense hit a rough patch, allowing a bunt single and an infield single and committing an error, and Wyoming led 3-1 heading into the third.

The Reeths-Puffer outfielders chat for a moment while taking the field between innings. Photo/Steve Gunn

Duffey nailed a three-run homer to center field in the top of the third, giving the Rockets a 4-3 lead. But Wyoming scored four runs in the bottom of the third, with Snyder walking two and allowing an RBI double and a two-run single.

Duffey came into pitch for the Rockets in the fourth, but the Wolves tacked on three more runs and the game never got close again.

Kaylee Jones had a triple and a single for the Rockets, Duffey had a double to go along with her three-run homer and Snyder also hit a double.

“I just learned you’re going to have off days,” Snyder said about her tough game on the mound. “You have to adjust to the strike zone, just deal with it and keep going.”

“Overall I think she did a pretty good job,” Bayle said about her freshman pitcher. “Collectively we just got a little down. I do foresee her doing some really good things on the mound, as well.”