D3 Powers Book Championship Matchup
June 16, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
EAST LANSING – Everyone who follows high school softball in Michigan expected another dominating Meghan Beaubien performance in Friday’s first Division 3 Semifinal.
But few expected a pitchers dual – broken up only by Beaubien the hitter as Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central earned the opportunity to play for a third straight MHSAA championship.
Beaubien allowed just two hits and struck out 15 Shepherd hitters at Secchia Stadium, and also led off the sixth inning with a triple before scoring the game’s lone run as the top-ranked Kestrels escaped the Bluejays and their pitcher Haley Peska 1-0.
Peska, who no-hit No. 4 Millington in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal, allowed only five hits and struck out six in just about matching the state’s most celebrated hurler of the last three seasons.
“We’ve played a lot of really good teams on our way here this year," Beaubien said. "This is a great example of it – Shepherd’s a team that nobody thought would be in the mix at this point, and they just played a great game and almost beat us.
“(But) the experience of being here has helped us mentally and with our confidence.”
Monroe St. Mary (26-3) will next face No. 3 Napoleon in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. Final.
Maybe not the best news for Michigan State’s softball program – Beaubien will continue her career at University of Michigan – but the St. Mary’s ace has given up four hits total in 33 innings pitched at Secchia over the last three seasons. In fact, Friday’s was the first Semifinal in three seasons that she didn’t throw a no-hitter.
Not that giving up two hits made her any less dominating. That was made plain both in the sound the ball made pounding catcher Kenna Garst’s glove on her many fastballs, but also when she ended the game with a strikeout on a floating change-up that no one in East Lansing was expecting.
She’ll finish her high school career with an ERA well south of a run per game and passed 1,300 career strikeouts a while ago.
“This whole run was like, ‘OK, any game could be your last game.’ I know that,” Beaubien said. “Now I know for sure. Tomorrow is my last game. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. It’s a little weird. I just want to go out there and make my last game of my career end with another state championship.”
The combination of two superb pitching performances made this one fly by in a mere 77 minutes. Freshman rightfielder Samantha Michael did have two hits in two at bats for St. Mary, with junior shortstop Kelsey Barron doubling in that lone run and junior third baseman Danielle Michael notching the team’s other hit.
Senior centerfielder Ryanne McKenna and junior shortstop Kianna Andrews had the hits for Shepherd (25-19), and of course Peska made the most memorable impact for a Bluejays team playing in its first Semifinal since 1997.
“They’ve got two coaches over there (Bobb Servoss and assistant Terry Lynch) that know a lot about the game … and in this game it’s all about keeping hitters off-balance,” St. Mary coach John Morningstar said. “You’re never letting anyone sit on something, and if all you’ve got is speed in this game it’s going to be a long season. Kids will catch up to that hard ball. Moving it around the way (Peska) does, she’s very effective. She had us chasing a lot of pitches that we wouldn’t normally swing at.”
Napoleon 16, Gladstone 0
Not that more proof was needed on top of a 36-4 record. But Napoleon’s seniors showed again Friday they’re ready for one last matchup with the St. Mary ace.
As freshman, they were part of a team that downed Beaubien and St. Mary in a Regional Final. But she and the Kestrels came back to eliminate the Pirates in a Quarterfinal in 2015, and Napoleon didn’t make it out of the District a year ago.
“We have been looking ahead, and saying we’re going to end up meeting Meghan, we're going to meet her,” Napoleon senior shortstop Paige Kortz said. “And just talking and scouting, hearing scouting reports. Of course they probably have with us (too), but just going ahead and figuring out what their weaknesses are, and we’re going to try to hit them tomorrow.”
They seemed to hit everything Friday, especially during the first inning. Napoleon jumped out to an 8-0 lead and finished the game with 19 hits over five innings.
Senior outfielder Kallie Pittman was 4 for 4 and scored two runs, while senior second baseman Ashton Jordan was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs and four RBI. Senior third baseman Haley Rose also was 3 for 4 and scored three runs, while Kortz, senior centerfielder Dylan Wiley, senior catcher Rachel Griffin and junior designated player Caitlin Pace all had two hits.
Senior Sydney Coe, in addition to driving in two runs, allowed only three hits in the circle and struck out six Gladstone batters. Senior centerfielder Alyssa Polley, sophomore third baseman Sydney Herioux and junior rightfielder Kaitlyn Hardwick hit safely for the Braves (34-10).
This was the fourth Napoleon team to make Quarterfinals and the first to make Semifinals, meaning of course that Saturday’s championship game also will be a first.
“Especially having eight seniors,” Kortz said, “we at the beginning of this season were determined to be Lansing bound. And determined to make school history.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Monroe St. Mary’s Samantha Michael rounds a base during Friday’s win over Shepherd. (Middle) Napoleon’s Sydney Coe takes a swing during the second Division 3 Semifinal.
Owosso Ace's Strikeout Total Stacks Up with State's All-Time Best
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.