Coach's Hunch Proves True for Lakeshore

June 14, 2014

By Kelsey Pence
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Denny Dock remembers looking at his team midway through the regular season and thinking, “We’re on the verge of being something special.”

It turns out, the Stevensville Lakeshore coach in his 25th year was right.

The Lancers overcame a sloppy start and rallied back for a 4-3 win in the MHSAA Division 2 Final against Livonia Ladywood on Saturday at Secchia Stadium at Michigan State University.

“A lot of tears in this trophy,” Dock said. “There were times during the season where we weren’t very good. As we kept playing, as frustrated as I was and as frustrated as they were with me, we never lost to a bad team. Our losses are to good quality teams. I kept saying, if we can just finish a couple of these, we’ve got a chance.”

The Lancers ended the season at 36-9 and leave East Lansing with the school’s seventh softball title.

“This tournament I thought we really played extremely well,” Dock said. “These kids have really pushed themselves. We’ve pushed them to their limit, and some of them we’ve had to back off. It’s been a real up-and-down season, but they’ve worked through it.”

The Blazers scored first, putting up two runs in the first inning, both unearned on two Lakeshore errors.

Christina Meyer was hit by pitch to start the game and Haley Lawrence reached on an error. Haley Thibeault struck out the next batter, but Ladywood pitcher Rozlyn Price reached on a throwing error, scoring Meyer.

Lawrence then scored on Hallea Garcia’s foul pop-up.

“I can’t repeat what I said to them in the circle,” Dock said with a laugh. “We’ve tried all along to get them to play the game. You don’t play against a team in this game; you play the game. The kids sure found a way.”

Rachel Riedel managed to get the Lancers on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, smacking the first pitch she saw over the left field fence.

“My coach says once you find your pitch, you swing at it,” Riedel said. “She was throwing good, and when I saw it I knew. I love the first pitch, and I was ready. I felt good and when I hit it, it felt great.

“Not trying to brag, but when we started hitting, our whole team just got up,” she added. “Once one of us hits, I feel like it’s a train. We all start hitting. It’s a great feeling having a team we can trust. “

Rebecca Meyer hit a drive to center to reach base and Mahri Younger subbed in as a pinch runner. Rachel Clem brought her home with a sacrifice bunt to tie the score at 2-all.

“She hid the ball really well, which was harder to see,” Riedel said of Price. “I think we just needed to concentrate more. We were so anxious and ready for this game that when we got here, we were just like we want to swing at everything. Once we got her, it just stuck with us.”

Haley Thibeault and Mackenzie Sanders walked to start the bottom of the fifth inning, and Hunter Thibeault was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Alex Forsythe then singled to score Toni Priebe, running for Haley Thibeault. Carpenter, running for Sanders, was tagged out at home on the same play – but Riedel’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Hunter Thibeault.

The Blazers (29-14) loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning, and Rachel Hendrickson’s line drive past third base cut the deficit to one run with two outs and the bases still loaded. But the Blazers couldn’t bring the tying run home.

“With bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, we needed one hit and we got the bat on the ball. It was just a little too high,” Ladywood coach Scott Combs said. “I can’t be happier. They were feeling a little bit sluggish in the middle of the year when we were like 8-6. We did a wake-up call and got hot and played really well the last six weeks. As you can see, we can play with anybody. If you can come in here and go 4-3 with those guys you can’t be upset.”

Price struck out nine for the Blazers, walking three and giving up five hits in six innings. Hayley Thibeault struck out three, walked two and gave up just three hits.

“In that last inning Haley stuck three or four pitches right where she needed to stick them,” Dock said. “It was a beautiful thing.”

Click for the full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Stevensville Lakeshore players hold up their MHSAA Division 2 championship trophy Saturday. (Middle) Lakeshore shortstop Alex Forsythe had a hit and an RBI in the Final.

Performance of the Week: Jenison's Alli Wright

April 18, 2024

Alli Wright headshotAlli Wright ♦ Jenison
Junior ♦ Softball

The Wildcats’ ace opened her junior season last week with a 2-0 shutout over Cedar Springs, during which she struck out 19 batters and went over 500 for her career. She followed that up with a 12-2 win over Division 2 No. 2 Vicksburg and also has victories over Caledonia and Holland West Ottawa as Jenison has opened 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in Division 1.

Wright earned all-state honorable mention last season for the second time after pitching the Wildcats to the Division 1 Quarterfinals. She quickly set the tone for her high school career as a freshman, setting the program’s single-season strikeout record that spring. She’s also set up for when her Jenison career is done – she’s committed to continue playing softball at Grand Valley State.

@mhsaasports 🥎POW: Alli Wright #softball #jenison #letsgo #strikeout #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🥎POW: Alli Wright #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #swedishfish #chickfila #princessandthefrog #dancemoms #pineappleonpizza #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

April 11: Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photos courtesy of the Wright family.)