Allen Park's Return to Finals Weekend Ends with 1st-Time Celebration

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

June 18, 2022

EAST LANSING – Allen Park senior Madilyn Ramey remembers the walk to the Old College Field awards area last year following a disappointing loss in the Division 1 Softball Final to South Lyon.

Ramey and her teammates took the same path this season. But this time, they enjoyed a much different emotion.

Second-ranked Allen Park won the program’s first Division 1 Final on Saturday after blanking Macomb Dakota 5-0 at Secchia Stadium.

“Last year, that same walk we just had was a different type of feeling,” said Ramey, who had a home run and a pair of outstanding defensive plays in her team’s championship game return.

“Now that we came back here, we rewrote the story and it just feels amazing.” 

Ramey, who will play at the University of Michigan, was one of eight starters back from last year.

“That was our main focus, and we really wanted to get here again,” she said. “It was just nice to execute today, and we really fed off each other’s energy. That’s what it has been about these last few games. Our energy has kept us in the game.”

Allen Park coach Michael Kish, whose team finished 38-4-1, said his team was determined to return to the Final and avenge last season’s loss.

“Three hundred and 65 days of motivation,” he said. “Six a.m. workouts, we had 12-hour days and we did everything we could. That was my thing. I know the more you invest, the more it’s going to be worth it.

“We knew we had the talent; that wasn’t the issue. It was more of the confidence and the family aspect.”  

In the third inning, Allen Park snared the early momentum.

Dakota/Allen Park softballAfter a leadoff single by senior Madison Hool and a sacrifice bunt, freshman Kiley Carr tripled over the right fielder’s head to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead.

Carr would score to make it 2-0 after a Dakota fielding error off the bat of Makalya Sitarski.

A squeeze bunt by Avery Garden sent Sitarski home, and it was 3-0.

“That inning was huge, and it’s momentum,” Kish said. “Before the game we were loose, and we’ve been here before. They had the nerves, and we knew if we got on them early it would be tough for them to come back.”

In the sixth inning, senior Madilyn Ramey slugged a solo home run and the lead expanded to 4-0.

“It felt amazing,” Ramey said. “I hit one last year here. My first at bat I struck out and I just had to reset, and it felt great to get that.”

Kish had high praise for Ramey’s overall play.

“She’s a gamer, she’s a competitor and she plays the game like a 10-year-old girl that just fell in love with the game,” Kish said. 

Allen Park tacked on one more in the top of the seventh inning. Another sacrifice bunt from Garden scored Faith Peschke, who led off the inning with a walk.

Third-ranked Dakota (32-5), which won the Division 1 title in 2017, outhit the Jaguars 5-4, but couldn’t get any timely ones off Allen Park senior pitcher Morgan Sizemore and a stellar defense. 

“That’s a really good team over there,” Cougars coach Dan Vitale said. “They are well coached and their shortstop … we know why she’s committed to Michigan. She made some great plays against us and stole some hits from us.

“We weren’t expected to get this far, and we did, so we’re really proud of our kids. We plan on being here next year.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Madilyn Ramey’s teammates welcome her at the plate after a sixth-inning home run Saturday at Secchia Stadium. (Middle) An Allen Park runner gets back to third base as Dakota’s Gracie Maloney takes a throw.

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.