Centreville Ends Spring with 'Incredible' Finish

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

June 16, 2018

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.

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Centreville caps its 5-2 win with a game-ending double play.

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.

Bedford Sophomore Powers Up with 23 Homers, Just Getting Started

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

June 7, 2023

TEMPERANCE – Here’s a warning for softball teams facing Temperance Bedford the next couple of seasons: Intentionally walking Aubrey Hensley only gives her more confidence.

Southeast & BorderThe Kicking Mules sophomore just finished her season with 23 home runs in 39 games, shattering school and Monroe County records. She remembers the home runs from the season that ended in the Division 1 District Finals, but she also remembers the walks.

“Our first game of the season, my first at-bat, I didn’t even get a swing in,” Hensley said. “As a hitter, it plays with your mind, but it also gives you confidence. If I go to the plate and they aren’t even willing to pitch to me, that gives me even more confidence. The next time up, I’m really going to look for my pitch.”

Hensley saw plenty of pitches she liked this season. She hit just a tick below .500 (61 hits in 124 at-bats), with seven doubles, five triples and nearly two dozen homers. They were pretty much split between the newly renovated Kicking Mules field in Temperance and road games.

Her most memorable home run was at Ypsilanti Lincoln.

“I usually have pretty good games at their field,” she said. “This year I hit a home run and hit the building which is behind the fence. That was a good one. I liked that watching and hearing that one hit.”

Hensley grew up in Toledo and moved across the state line in fifth grade. By then she was already involved in northwest Ohio travel softball programs.

“Softball kind of came naturally for me,” she said. “I loved to go to the field with my mom (Amanda) or my brother or just hit off the tee. I just have a mentality that I’m a good hitter and I can do whatever I put my mind to.”

Prior to her freshman season, Mules coach Marla Gooding, a first-grade teacher at Bedford, sent Hensley into the weight room. 

“I was not expecting to hit home runs going into my freshman season,” Hensley said. “I didn’t really know what to expect.

“When I was little, I wasn’t always a power hitter. I would hit a few doubles or triples and get into the ball some. I worked and put in time in the weight room, especially going into the freshman year. I think that really contributed to my home run hitting. Coach had us in the weight room during the season a little bit. It helps to develop your body to be a power hitter.”

Hensley steps to the plate against Monroe. With the power in place, Hensley began concentrating on swinging through the ball.

“I don’t expect to hit a home run every time, but I go up to the plate thinking it’s possible,” she said. “I’m swinging to get through the ball and just drive it somewhere. I’m not hitting for contact. If you just go up hitting for contact, you are swinging lighter, and if it doesn’t go far, you start doubting yourself. I just go up and swing to drive the ball.”

Countless hours hitting off the tee and facing batting practice pitchers helped her fine-tune her swing. 

“I don’t like to get down on myself, because then it snowballs onto the field or another at-bat,” she said. “Short memory is one thing we really wanted to work on this year. I think I applied that more. It’s difficult sometimes if you aren’t getting the pitches that you want or aren’t producing. I just try to go up there with some swag and get the job done.”

Gooding called her a dream to coach.

“She’s a power-five softball player,” she said. “And the greatest kid ever. Seriously, a workhorse and team-first mentality.”

On the field, she is the Bedford catcher. She didn’t commit an error all season.

Hensley was a pitcher at a young age but loved the transition to behind the plate.

“When I got behind the plate, I loved it,” she said. “It’s like being a general out there controlling the whole field. I get to see everyone and everything. I put in a lot of work when I was little. I started with the basics and just advanced from there. I’m pretty dedicated to being the best I can behind the plate for my pitcher.”

Hensley will balance her summer of babysitting, playing basketball for the Mules in June and a busy summer travel softball season that will take her around Ohio, Kansas and Tennessee. She helped the Kicking Mules set a school record for wins with 23 and win a District title in basketball last winter.

Hensley isn’t the only Bedford softball player to show power this season. As a team, Bedford hit 51 home runs, including 12 by teammate Payton Pudlowski. That is one of the reasons Hensley isn’t simply intentionally walked time after time.

“We have some solid pieces behind her, and the two girls in front of her got on base all of the time,” Gooding said. “It was hard for other teams to do that.”

With 23 home runs this season, Hensley’s put her name among the top five all-time single seasons in state history. The record is 29 by Kali Heivilin from Three Rivers in 2021.

With 34 career home runs, she is almost in the top 25. 

Hensley isn’t concerned about records right now, except for one thing. She wants to put up a number that, by the time she graduates, is out of this world.

As she tells it, “I want to push the record so far that no one can touch it by the time I’m done with my career at Bedford.”

She might already have.

Doug DonnellyDoug 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) Bedford’s Aubrey Hensley prepares to drive a pitch this season. (Middle) Hensley steps to the plate against Monroe. (Photos by Christine Kwiatkowski.)