EAST LANSING – It was a big day for the Centreville softball team. After a long wait, the Bulldogs were finally able to see the sequel to "Incredibles."
Oh, and they also won the first MHSAA Division 4 softball championship in school history.
A day of relaxation, which included a trip to the movies, paid off for Centreville as it defeated Coleman 5-2 on Saturday at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium in the final game of the 2018 season.
“It’s really good, I recommend it – it’s funny,” said Centreville sophomore pitcher Hannah Duchene with a laugh as she took her turn as movie reviewer. “It kind of just gave us a little bit of relief just to relax and not be super tense. It helped a lot.”
Centreville (36-6) looked composed despite the fact it was a young team playing in the title game for the first time. That led to a very clean game in which the Bulldogs didn’t commit a single error.
“These girls work so hard. They’ve fought so hard,” Centreville coach Scott Logan said. “They’re young; we’ve only got two seniors, but it hasn’t hit me yet, the importance of this. We’ve been playing good ball, and again today, we played good ball against a very good team.”
Centreville had been to the Semifinals just twice prior to this season, the last time in 2011. The town’s population is about 1,400, and it felt as if half of the residents were on hand to watch history.
“It’s crazy,” Duchene said. “It’s amazing to have so much support, and we couldn’t thank them enough for everything that they’ve done. Everyone is on cloud nine right now. It’s crazy. It’s just the best feeling ever. All the work finally paid off, and I knew we were just going to come through and get it.”
Centreville scored the bulk of its runs on one play in the bottom of the third inning, as Kenleigh West-Wing, Addy Ward and Jaeden Blades all crossed the plate following an errant throw at first base. That followed an RBI single from Duchene, and gave the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead.
“We always look for that – aggressive and smart,” Logan said. “We’re always looking for that next base and to take advantage of that when they throw the ball around.”
On the other side of the field, the disappointment was visible, as Coleman had looked to win its first MHSAA softball title since 2005 – the last time the Comets had advanced to this point.
“The steps have been ‘get to the next one,’” Coleman coach Chad Klopf said. “We got to the next one, and we were hoping to get two in one weekend, but we didn’t get there. One bad inning, some things we don’t usually do happened all in one inning. Four runs in one inning is tough to get over.
“Things happen. A little bit of pressure here and there, and things happen. Everybody’s down here for a reason, and they’re a good ball team, too.”
Coleman (30-10) took a 1-0 lead as Brianna Townsend doubled to score Abigail Tubbs in the top of the second inning. The Comets added another run in the fifth inning, as Makailyn Monson, who had tripled, scored on a groundout by MacKenzie Miller.
Centreville added its fifth run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Emma Russell’s RBI single drove in West-Wing, stretching the lead to three runs heading into the final frame.
Duchene and the Centreville defense handled the rest, forcing a pop up, then a double play started by Kaylee Trattles and turned by MaKenzie Troyer to end the game. Trattles was filling in for star second baseman McKenzie Sheteron, who was attending her sister’s wedding.
“Of course it’s a little downfall that we don’t have McKenzie because she’s a huge aspect of our team,” Duchene said. “But I knew that Kaylee would come through and play the role that she’s supposed to and do the job for her team. I’m super proud of her for doing that.
“I always know that I have (the defense) to back me up, so that helps.”
Duchene finished the game with three strikeouts, scattered five hits and walked two in seven innings. Coleman senior Faith Barden was also strong, striking out six and walking three while allowing six hits and two earned runs.
West-Wing had a pair of hits for Centreville, while Townsend had two hits for Coleman.
PHOTOS: (Top) Centreville players raise their Division 4 championship trophy after claiming their first title in the sport. (Middle) A Centreville runner follows coach Scott Logan’s direction and heads for home.
The MHSAA and Holly school communities are grieving this week after the sudden loss of Tony Coggins, a shining light in his educational community and an enthusiastic supporter of school sports as a public address announcer for several of our largest championship events.
But while that cheerful tone has been quieted, it surely will not be forgotten by the many fortunate to enjoy an event in the presence of that voice and the joyfulness he brought into every arena, press box and classroom.
Coggins, 51, died Saturday. He is survived by his wife Kristy and children Emma and Bradlee, among several family and friends from his local and greater sports communities.
His career as a PA announcer began during his freshman year of high school in 1985, when his father Dale Coggins – Flushing’s athletic director at the time – couldn’t find anyone else to announce middle school football games. That was 39 years ago, and this fall Tony Coggins was in his 24th announcing at Holly, where he taught and served as an administrator in addition to his role as “Voice of the Holly Bronchos” for football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer and swimming & diving over the years.
Coggins has been a mainstay among MHSAA Finals PA announcers over the last decade in football, basketball, softball and most recently volleyball. He lent his voice to college sports at University of Michigan as well. “Tony was a huge part of our Finals events. It’s hard to imagine it being the same without him,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said.
As part of the run-up to the MHSAA public address announcers clinic in 2018, Coggins said this about what drew him to the microphone:
“I have zero athletic ability whatsoever, which is interesting because my father was an all-state running back. But I enjoy being involved, and I've always been the one for history and statistics and knowing what's going on,” Coggins said. “This is a way for me to be involved. It's a way for me to use a talent I've been given; public speaking has always come pretty naturally for me.
“So I worked at my craft to get better. I got better from watching the people around me, from studying the people I like, and the people – if I saw someone I didn’t care for – I'd make a note and say to myself, ‘Don't do that.’ I take feedback from people very personally, and I mean that in a good way. If somebody takes the time to come up and say, ‘You did this well; I think you should change this,’ that means they care about the program also. We all have the same goal in mind, and that's to make the experience good for the high school student and the parents, the fans, that come there.”
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at St. John Vianney, 2415 Bagley Street in Flint. There will be visitation from 2-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, and at the church from 10 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass.
The Holly volleyball team played for something bigger tonight
Beloved PA announcer Anthony Coggins died on Friday night from a heart attack
— Brandon Green🍀 (@BGreenReports) October 24, 2023