1st-Time Title Winner On Deck in D3

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

June 15, 2018

EAST LANSING – Gabbie Sherman never flinched Friday. 

The Millington junior pitched her way out of three tight spots, including a tense bottom of the seventh inning, to lead the Cardinals to a 5-3 win against Sanford Meridian in an MHSAA Division 3 Softball Semifinal at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium.

“Everyone has enough confidence in each other,” said Sherman, who struck out 11 while walking one and allowing seven hits and one earned run over seven innings. “If I make a bad pitch, I have enough confidence that one of my teammates is going to be there to pick me up. So, in a jam, that’s kind of nice. In a jam, I know that I have to buckle down and I can’t miss a pitch.”

The Cardinals (39-2) advanced to the Division 3 title game against Coloma at 3 p.m. Saturday, which will be their first trip to an MHSAA Final in this sport.

“It is such a great feeling to know that we are the first team in school history to ever get this far,” Sherman said. “That is huge, and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other girls.”

Sanford Meridian (27-15) had a chance to prevent that first title game trip, however, scoring a pair of runs on an error and bringing the winning run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh inning. A strikeout and a pop out ended the game, however.

“We didn’t give up,” Sanford Meridian coach Jamie Smith said. “Unfortunately we had a few innings where we had some poor at-bats, but they didn’t give up at all. They battled, and I think we even had a little fear in that team at the end. My kids don’t quit. They never have, and they’re not going to start now.”

The Cardinals showed veteran mettle when they had to, however, despite not having a single senior on the roster.

“Not having a senior – you wouldn’t be able to tell if you came into a practice or watched one of our games,” Millington coach Greg Hudie said. “There’s leadership throughout, not just one or two people leading the team. This team does everything together, and they lead together. That’s what makes them special.”

Millington built an early lead, getting an RBI single from Sydney Bishop in the first inning and an RBI double from Elizabeth Bees in the second.

Sanford Meridian was able to get one run back in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI bloop single from Audrey Kielpinski. But Sherman mitigated the damage from what could have been a huge inning for the Mustangs, who had the bases loaded with no outs following the run. She struck out two and forced a pop out to end the threat and preserve the lead.

From there, Sherman was dominant, retiring 10 straight Sanford Meridian batters. After facing another bases-loaded jam, this one with one out in the sixth inning, Sherman again left three Mustangs stranded, this time with a groundout to first and a strikeout.

As Sherman was keeping Sanford Meridian hitters at bay, the Cardinals were slowly building their lead. A Sabrina Gates sacrifice fly scored a run in the top of the fifth inning, and a throwing error allowed Hannah Rabideau to score from third to give her team a 4-1 lead.

Bishop struck again in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single that put her team up 5-1. She finished the game with three hits, while Rabideau, Darrien Roberts and Gates each had two. 

Peyton Grice led Sanford Meridian with three hits, while Baleigh Hill had an RBI. Grice took the loss, allowing four earned runs and striking out one over seven innings. 

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Millington takes a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a double by Elizabeth Bees.

Coloma 5, Clinton 1

Coloma also will be making its first appearance in an MHSAA Softball Final after controlling its Semifinal against third-ranked Clinton.

The No. 2 Comets (37-3) jumped out to an early lead and rode a strong pitching performance from Jaidyn Hutsell and stellar defense to claim the victory.

“It’s exciting; these girls have worked hard,” Coloma coach Wendy Goodline said. “I have seven seniors, four of them were my managers as eighth graders and they so deserve it. They just deserve it.”

Megan Koeningshof set the tone early for Coloma, drawing a walk on 12 pitches in the game’s first at-bat, then scoring the opening run on a sacrifice bunt from Morgan Wagner. Koeningshof would score the second run of the game in the third inning on an RBI single from Wagner.

In the top of the sixth, Clinton attempted to pitch around Koeningshof, intentionally walking her to load the bases. Kayla Yore responded with a bases-clearing double to put Coloma up 5-0.

“They walked Megan, which I thought was a great strategy,” Goodline said. “I just told Kayla, ‘Hey, you can hit this,’ and she came through. I’m excited for her.”

Clinton (37-2) would get one run back in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single from Peyton Rodriguez, but that was all the Redskins could muster against Hutsell, who allowed four hits and one walk while striking out four to pick up the win.

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Kayla Yore's bases-loaded double for Coloma in the sixth inning broke its game with Clinton open.

PHOTOS: (Top) Millington’s Gabbie Sherman makes her move toward the plate during the Cardinals’ Division 3 Semifinal win. (Middle) Coloma leftfielder Megan Neubecker pulls in a fly ball during her team’s victory.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.