Hudson's Horwaths Producing Chart-Topping Hits for Tigers' Diamond Teams

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

May 25, 2022

HUDSON – Let it be known that there is little debate in the Horwath household who has the sweetest swing on the diamond. Dinah does.

“I like my swing and I think it’s good but, honestly, I have to say she does,” said Ambrose Horwath, a junior three-sport athlete at Hudson High School in Lenawee County. 

“I think mine is better,” said Dinah, laughing – but agreeing.

No matter whose swing is better, they both are swinging hot bats this spring.

Going into this week, Dinah Horwath, a sophomore, was batting .479 and has been at or around .500 all season. She is the Lenawee County leader in hits (46), runs (44) and RBI (36). 

Ambrose is batting a healthy .466. He’s among the Lenawee County leaders in hits (41), runs (37), RBIs (34), pitching wins (8) and strikeouts (49). 

The two have a sibling rivalry, but there’s no competition to who will have the highest average at the end of the season. That’s because they are both rooting for each other. 

“A couple of weeks ago, Ambrose was in a two or three-day slump,” said Hudson athletic director and varsity baseball coach Jeremy Beal. “After our practice I walked back to our field and there was Ambrose and Dinah. She was throwing soft toss to him. They must have had two buckets of balls. 

“I’ve seen that before among brothers, but never a brother and sister. It was awesome.”

Ambrose’s slump didn’t last long. 

“They pull for each other, and both have really good attitudes,” Beal said.

Hudson softballThe Horwaths are a sports-crazed family. Father Lance is a Waldron native who is a principal in the Hudson school district and the Tigers varsity boys basketball coach. He played college baseball at Defiance, where he met Jamie. They were later married and had two kids – Ambrose and Dinah.

“I played college baseball with her brothers,” he said. “That’s how we met.”

Horwath was a teacher at Camden-Frontier when he moved into the Hudson district a little more than two decades ago. Ambrose has been a varsity basketball player since his freshman season and will go into his senior campaign a few 3-pointers shy of 1,000 career points. He also was a starter on Hudson’s Division 8 championship football team in the fall.

Dinah has plenty of varsity experience herself, despite being just as sophomore. She was second on the team in scoring this past basketball season and one of the area's top 3-point shooters. She said she and Ambrose often play one-on-one in basketball.

“We’ve done that since we were little,” she said. “We’re competitive, but we get along very well. We don’t really fight.”

Lance Horwath said the two of them are often together working on either their shot in basketball or swing in baseball/softball.

“They are always playing something,” Lance said. “Sports is a big part of our family. They’ve both been playing since before they even started school. It’s cool to see them together. They are very supportive of one another.”

Dinah, who is considering pursuing a career in sports management, throws right-handed in softball but has been batting from the left side of the box since she picked up a bat.

“From Day 1, she’s batted lefthanded,” Lance Horwath said. “I put her on the left side of the plate because that’s how I batted, and I wanted to teach her. She makes good contact.

“I love how she’s carved out her own niche in softball. She played travel ball when she was younger. She just loves playing the sport.”

Hudson softball coach Amy Hill said Dinah is constantly trying to get better.

“Her secret is she works very hard,” Hill said. “She puts in the time to improve and takes practice time seriously. She spends a lot of time on the tee. She’s a coach’s dream, always looking for ways to improve.”

Hudson baseballDuring Hudson’s baseball and softball games, Lance and Jamie try to find a location where they can stand and watch both games. 

“In Hudson, we can stand along the leftfield line and see both games,” he said. “They are both fun to watch. We’re blessed.”

If one sibling’s game ends early, the other gets to the other field as quickly as possible.

“I like it when our games get done so I can get over and see him play,” Dinah said.

Ambrose is no different.

“It’s cool to get to watch her games,” he said. “Every time I look over there or go watch, she’s on base.”

Ambrose said sports came natural to them.

“We will go out and hit together two or three times a week,” he said. “We’ve always been very close. It helps, I think, that we are only one year apart. 

Hudson’s baseball team is looking to make some history this spring. The football and wrestling teams have already captured state championships, as did the competitive cheer team. The baseball team is 23-5 and close to winning at least a share of its first Lenawee County Athletic Association championship since 1968.

The Tigers are 9-3 with a doubleheader remaining against Ida. Onsted leads the league at 8-2 but has doubleheaders remaining against Clinton and Dundee, both formidable opponents.  

“We need some help for that to happen,” Ambrose said. “But we just have to take care of our games first.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Dinah, left, and brother Ambrose Horwath are among Lenawee County’s leading hitters in their respective sports. (Middle) Dinah prepares for the pitch from her spot in the infield. (Below) Ambrose makes his move toward the plate. (Photos by Rachel Stiverson.)

Owosso Ace's Strikeout Total Stacks Up with State's All-Time Best

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 4, 2023

Owosso’s Macy Irelan earned 11 entries in the MHSAA record book over her three-year varsity career that came to a close last spring, most notably with her 1,157 strikeouts despite the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19.

Irelan’s career strikeouts were the second-most in the state since the pitching distance was lengthened three feet in 2011. She finished 31-7 last spring with a 1.43 ERA and 414 strikeouts in 229 2/3 innings in earning the Miss Softball Award for pitching.  

She also hit .551 with 21 doubles last season, and her 55 career doubles over 117 games and three seasons made that category career list. She’s continuing her career at Kent State.

See below for more recent additions to the softball record book:


Unionville-Sebewaing’s dominating run to the 2021 Division 4 championship was filled with seven record book-worthy highlights, including many near the top of all-time lists. In going 40-3, the Patriots tied their season record for wins for the second time. Their 502 runs scored ranked third all-time, with their 493 hits tied for ninth, their 114 doubles second, their 49 home runs also tied for ninth, their 431 RBI also second and their 503 strikeouts thrown ranking third. Senior Brynn Polega completed her career with 13 record book entries despite her junior season being canceled because of COVID-19; she added listings for 71 runs, 79 hits, a third-best 28 doubles, 11 homers, 70 RBI, four perfect games pitching and 365 strikeouts, among others. Then-junior Laci Harris made lists with 77 runs, 83 hits, 22 doubles, 14 homers and 78 RBI, while then-junior Macy Reinhardt was added for 78 runs and then-freshman Gabriella Crumm was added for 16 doubles. Polega, Harris and Reinhardt also posted entries for single-game accomplishments. Polega is playing at Northwood and Harris at Madonna.

Big Rapids set a school record for wins in 2021 in finishing 34-7, a run which included a number of accomplishments that reached the record book. The Cardinals scored 439 runs – tied for 12th on that list – and also as a team were added for 428 hits, 82 doubles and 363 RBI, which tied for 10th all-time. Marissa Warren made the individual hits list with 71, while Hanna Smith earned an entry with 20 doubles and Rylie Haist followed with 19. Josie Cornell was added with 40 walks drawn. Warren, Smith and Haist were added for single-game accomplishments as well, as was Madison Affer from a 2019 game. Haist, Smith and Cornell are seniors this school year, and Warren is a junior. Smith has signed with Ferris State.

A pair of Bad Axe standouts earned record book entries in 2021 with their work at the plate. Haley Newland made the single-season doubles list with 19, and Brooke Messing was added for seven RBI in a game that saw her hit a grand slam and three-run homer. Newland graduated last spring and Messing is a senior this school year.

Montrose then-freshman Lainey Cannon made two record book lists with her performance April 25 against Montrose. She hit three home runs to make the single-game list in that category, and also made the single-game RBI list with eight.

Capac then-sophomore Madalyn Roberson made the record book three times with her performance May 9 against Brown City. She hit two home runs in back-to-back at bats, both during the fifth inning, and also drove in six runs for the game.

Spring Lake standouts now fill the record book after the addition of 55 individual and 23 team entries dating back to the 2000 season. Among listings ranking highest in their respective categories were Madelyn Nelson’s 81 runs in 2018, which tied for seventh all-time; Nelson’s 250 career runs from 2015-18) that rank seventh and Lauren Hellman’s 249 career runs also from 2015-18 that rank eighth on that list; Nelson’s 84 hits in 2018 that are tied for 12th-most all-time and her 264 career hits that rank 11th, Leah Vaughan’s 26 doubles in 2019 that rank seventh, Evie Lorimer’s 16 triples in 2011 that are tied for eighth and her 37 career triples from 2010-12 that are ranked fourth, Vaughan’s 23 career times being hit by pitch from 2016-19 which rank second, and Lorimer’s 92 stolen bases in 2012 that rank second (with all 92 coming consecutively to tie for fifth on that list) and 183 career steals that rank 11th. As a team, Spring Lake in 2017 ranked seventh all-time with 501 hits over 42 games, fourth with 109 doubles and eighth with 34 triples. The 2018 team ranks 11th with 441 runs scored over 41 games, 10th with 497 hits and tied for ninth with 100 doubles. Valerie Alter, Linsey Paggeot, Jenna Core, Molly Poole, Alicia Mumby, Leah Anton, Ann Marie Galloway and Rachael Adams also earned individual entries. Nelson went on to play at Grand Valley State, Vaughan plays at Aquinas College, Lorimer played at Central Michigan, Alter played at Jacksonville University (Fla.), Poole plays at Cornerstone University and Mumby played at Lansing Community College. Core plays volleyball at Hope College.

Freeland’s offense earned five record book entries during the team’s 26-12 season in 2022, including for 412 runs scored, 442 hits, 78 doubles, 336 RBI and a .400 team batting average. Three individuals also earned entries – sophomore Addie Steffen for a 20-game hitting streak and seven RBI in a game, junior Evelynn Rybicki for six RBI in a game and freshman Brynn Jaime for getting hit by a pitch twice in the same inning.

Chloe Parker hit .604 last spring and made the records with 20 doubles over 33 games for Niles Brandywine. She’s a junior this school year.

A series of record book entries were added for past and present Zeeland West standouts. Carly Sleeman was added for 73 runs, 75 hits, 27 doubles and 12 home runs in 2021 as a sophomore, while Lily Brower was added for 72 runs, 17 triples and 11 homers, plus 38 doubles and 29 triples over a four-year varsity career. Sleeman’s 27 doubles are tied for fifth-most in one season, and Brower’s 17 triples are tied for fourth on that list. Haley Hoogenraad was added for 70 hits and 17 doubles as a junior in 2015, 19 doubles as a senior, and 49 doubles and 24 triples over her four-year career from 2013-16. Kenzie Siersma was added for 17 doubles in 2017 and 54 over her career from 2016-19, while Courtney Sleeman made the season home runs list with 15 in 2015 and Sarah VanValkenburg made the career RBI list with 152 from 2014-17. Emily Brands was added for hitting consecutive home runs in the same inning, May 7 against Reese; she graduated this spring. Hoogenraad went on to play at University of Michigan, Courtney Sleeman played at Western Michigan, Siersma plays at West Virginia Tech, Brower played last season at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Carly Sleeman has signed with Central Michigan.

PHOTO Owosso’s Macy Irelan unloads a pitch during the 2021 Division 2 Final.