Bay City Western Finishes 1st Title Run

June 14, 2014

By Kelsey Pence
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Hannah Leppek tried not to think about last year.

Easier said than done.

After leading and then losing last year’s Division 1 championship game to Mattawan, Leppek was determined not to let this one slip away.

The senior pitcher struck out six, walked two and gave up just three hits through seven innings as Bay City Western held off Portage Central 4-2 in the Division I Final on Saturday at Secchia Stadium at Michigan State University.

“I tried not to think about it, but obviously it was in my mind,” Leppek said of last year’s loss. “I had that extra motivation, like, I need to finish it out this year. I really don’t know how to describe it. It’s just awesome. I have no words for how good I feel right now. I’ll probably be up all night just smiling.”

The MHSAA title is the first in softball for Western (41-3), after last season’s championship game appearance also was a first.

Meredith Rousse was hit by pitch in the bottom of the first inning to get things started for the Warriors, and Kaylynn Carpenter brought her home with a double to centerfield.

“That hit boosted (my confidence) up a lot, and I think it boosted up the girls' a lot,” Carpenter said. “Once our first, second and third girls get hits, it just riles everyone up. That’s how we win the game.”

Leppek then hit a foul ball to the first baseman that was caught, but Portage Central’s Meredith Adams fell into the dugout on the catch, and Carpenter came home for the second run.

The Mustangs (42-4) got on the board in the top of the third with a home run to right field by Lea Foerster.

Bay City Western built some cushion in the sixth inning when Leppek singled to left field and Kelsie Popp doubled to center. Blair Miller brought home a run with a single to short right field and Melissa Wegener singled to increase the lead to 4-1.

Portage Central found some fire in the top of the seventh inning. Brooke Wyman walked and Adams doubled to center to put runners in scoring position.  With one out on the board, and the memory of last year’s loss lingering, Western coach Rick Garlinghouse rallied his team around the pitcher’s circle.

“We had a 4-1 lead, so we could allow those runs to score, but we wanted the batter to stay at first base,” Garlinghouse said. “Our throw from the outfield was going to second base. The infielders were going to first base. We weren’t worried about any tag plays at the plate. We wanted to get outs.”

Cole grounded out, scoring Wyman, but Leppek then got a strikeout to end the game.

“Honestly at the beginning I felt a little off, and then I found my groove in the middle of the game,” Leppek said of her performance. “That last game tripped me up a little bit, but I got it back.”

Foerster, Adams and Cole picked up Portage Central’s three hits. Gina Verduczo pitched six innings, striking out two, while allowing seven hits and no walks.

“This has been a fun year win or lose at the end,” Mustangs coach Tom Hamilton said. “You get someone crying or someone going home smiling, and we’re going home crying today. I’m going to go home crying too because these kids are wonderful kids, and that is what it’s all about. They’ve made it special. The kids will come back.  I hope they look back on this and realize how special it is.”

Carpenter finished 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI for Portage Central, while Miller and Wegener each had a hit and an RBI.

“She has had two great years,” Garlinghouse said of Carpenter. “She drove in the first run and scored the second one. She’s a gritty player.

“It’s a very surreal feeling. I am real happy for the kids. They did all we asked them to do all year, play 21 outs. They wanted to get here after losing last year’s game.”

Added Carpenter: “It feels good going in my senior year and actually coming here and winning it. (Last season) wasn’t on my mind at all. I knew that was behind me. I had support, and I knew we could get it.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: Bay City Western’s Meredith Rousse crosses the play during the Warriors’ Division 1 Final win. (Middle) Western’s Hannah Leppek finished 1 for 3 at the plate and threw a complete game.

Otsego's Bolhuis Earns Record Book Fame with Elite Ability to Get On Base

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 2, 2022

Jada Bolhuis finished up her Otsego softball career this spring all over the MHSAA record book – and despite playing only three seasons because 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19.

Bolhuis owns 12 entries in the MHSAA record book including for 228 career runs (16th all-time), 230 career hits and a .622 career batting (sixth all-time) over 112 games and three varsity seasons.

She also made the hitting streak list twice, with a run of 44 straight games with a hit from April of her freshman year until the end of April of her junior season, and for a 33-game hitting streak during her junior and senior springs. The 44-game streak is the second-longest in MHSAA history.

Bolhuis also is a track sprinter and is slated to run at University of Tampa.

We’re continuing to catch up on adding record book listings. See below for more of the most recent added for softball.


Richland Gull Lake’s Savanna Disbrow had a par of significant run-producing games over the course of two weeks in May 2021. She drove in seven runs against Mattawan that May 5, then eight in a win over Delton Kellogg on May 20. She played this past season at Bemidji State in Minnesota.

Gabby Schloop put up a senior season to remember for Midland in 2021, posting the fifth-most runs scored (83) and tying for the fifth-most doubles (27) in MHSAA history, while also making the single-season hits list with 70 and career doubles list with 49 over three seasons. Taylor Sanborn also made the single-season hits list in 2021 as a senior, and also with 70. Sanborn continued her career at Calvin University, and Schloop at Northwood.

Maddisyn Miller also was added for RBI in a single game, driving in seven May 12, 2021, for Ovid-Elsie against Laingsburg. She is a junior this fall.

Rochester Adams earned its first softball record book entries in 2021. Then-junior Sabrina Lee was added for getting hit by 17 pitches over 34 games. Teammate Elizabeth Blaine, a senior that season, hit home runs in consecutive at bats, both in the second inning, of a game against Auburn Hills Avondale.

Potent offense helped drive Grandville to a 31-5 finish in 2019, with a number of top hitters in the record book. As a team, the Bulldogs are listed for 399 hits, 76 doubles, 34 home runs and 292 RBI that season. Then-senior Taylor Buiter was added for 10 home runs, including a pair in consecutive at bats, and then-junior Maddi Ungrey was added for three home runs in the same game all in consecutive at bats as well. Then-senior Lexi Dukesherer became the first player listed for being hit by a pitch twice in the same inning, and she also made the single-game list in that category for three. Additionally, former Grandville standout Carrie Mesman was added for her 17 doubles in 2015. Mesman went on to play at Aquinas College, and Buiter played at Ferris State.

Bath’s Bailee Buck has become the first entry for career times hit by pitches, as she totaled 30 over 99 games from 2017-19 (with her senior season of 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). She also made the single-game list with three HBPs as a junior. Teammate Ally Estrada was added twice for hitting consecutive home runs, five days apart during the 2019 season, and also for driving in seven runs in the first of those games May 18, 2019, against Algonac. Estrada graduated this spring.

Grosse Pointe South’s Shannon Dame became the second player added to the single-season hit-by-pitch list. She was hit by 20 pitches during the 2021 season, when she was a junior.  

A trio of New Lothrop hitters were added for hitting during the 2021 spring, led by then-junior Jersey Hemgesberg who was added for 73 hits, 25 doubles and 12 home runs over 38 games – with the 25 doubles tying for seventh-most in MHSAA history. Additionally, Brynne Birchmeier was added for 20 doubles and Marissa Rombach for 17. Both are juniors this fall.

Bloomfield Hills sophomore Hannah Grant made the single-game lists for home runs and RBI during a win over Berkley on April 7. She had three homers and six RBI in the 9-7 win; the three homers tied for second-most in one contest.

Buchanan sophomore Hailee Kara also joined the single-game RBI list with nine during a 19-7 win over Vicksburg on April 21. The nine RBI tied for seventh-most in one contest.

PHOTO Jada Bolhuis makes a throw to first base during Otsego’s District Final win over South Haven this spring. (Photo by Gary Shook.)