D4 Softball: Dansville's Wait is Over

June 15, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

BATTLE CREEK – Dansville catcher Rebekah Guy waited four years for Friday’s tears of joy, and through two Semifinals losses when the tears were sorrowful.

She first played at Bailey Park as a freshman, and returned with the Aggies as a sophomore. Both times, her teams lost. But both times, she and now-seniors Addie Price and Alison Schlicker picked up a little bit more knowledge to use if they got a chance to come back.

And if those three think they’ve had a while to wait, their coach Mick Ream pointed out Friday that he’s been waiting 31 years to coach his team in an MHSAA championship game.

The No. 9 Aggies earned that opportunity with a 4-3 win Friday over No. 3 Rapid River.

“It means everything, honestly. This team is so awesome, they’ve worked so hard, and I just wanted to win this for them,” Guy said. “I couldn’t ask for more for my senior year.”

Dansville will face two-time reigning champion and top-ranked Petersburg-Summerfield in Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. Final.

The seniors certainly did their part Friday. Guy and Price both drove in runs, and Schlicker singled and her pinch runner scored. All of this happened after Rapid River (35-6) opened with three runs in the top of the first inning. But Guy came through big at the end as well, guiding sophomore pitcher Meagan Kelly through the final out after the Rockets put two runners on with two outs in the seventh.

“We’re here. Champions find a way to win,” Ream said. “That’s what we’ve said all year long. And it happened again.”

Guy’s calm was a characteristic Ream said has come to his team because of its three trips to Battle Creek. And she said there’s a lot more confidence too – despite Saturday’s daunting opponent.

“We knew we could beat (Rapid River). We’re an awesome team,” she said. “We know if we can hit the ball we can beat any team, honestly. The girls have worked so hard, and I’m so proud of them.”

Kelly struck out three and gave up six hits for the Aggies (30-5). Senior Heather Sanderson struck out nine and gave up only two earned runs for Rapid River, and also had two hits, scored a run and drove in another. Click for a full box score.

Petersburg-Summerfield 9, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 7 (9 innings)

The Bulldogs (34-3) nearly lost out on their chance to return to the Final, but scored five runs in the top of the ninth. The Irish (31-8) came back with only one in the bottom of the inning.

Sacred Heart scored in the bottom of the seventh inning to knot the score 3-3 and push the game to extras. Sophomore shortstop Sara Hansen had three hits and scored twice, and junior catcher Elizabeth Albaugh drove in two runs.

Senior pitcher Emily Puterbaugh gave up only one earned run in throwing all nine innings for the Bulldogs. Senior first baseman Kysha LaMonde had three hits, an RBI and scored a run. Click for a full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Dansville catcher Rebekah Guy played in her third Semifinal on Friday. (Middle) Petersburg-Summerfield pitcher Emily Puterbaugh threw all nine innings in her team's win over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart.

Unionville-Sebewaing Softball Ties Finals Record with 5th-Straight Championship

By Tom Kendra
Special for MHSAA.com

June 15, 2024

EAST LANSING – Leave it to standout senior catcher Gabby Crumm to ensure her school’s spot in the state record books.

Unionville-Sebewaing was doing its thing in Saturday’s Division 4 championship game, slowly pulling away from first-time finalist Holton – until Crumm stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning.

Crumm launched one of her signature shots over the centerfield wall, a two-run homer that keyed a six-run inning for the Patriots, who then cruised to an 11-1 victory in six innings at Secchia Stadium.

It was USA’s fifth straight Finals championship, dating back to pre-COVID in 2019, and tying the record for consecutive titles with Kalamazoo Christian, which won five Division 3 titles in a row from 1996 to 2000.

Emma Monette (9) drives a pitch for the Red Devils. “It’s really bittersweet right now,” said Crumm, a four-year starter at catcher who will play at Saginaw Valley State. “USA softball has meant everything to me, and it’s shaped me in so many different ways.

“I’m sad that it’s over, but it couldn’t have ended in a better way.”

USA, which finished 31-11 and was the top-ranked team in Division 4 entering the postseason, showed its experience in the first inning – getting girls on base and putting the pressure on Holton using two hits and two errors to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

The lead would stay that way until the fourth inning, when USA’s tremendous senior class stepped up and put the game away.

Shortstop Ella Neumann ripped a two-run single, which led the Red Devils to change pitchers. Crumm followed up right after Neumann with her long blast over the centerfield wall to effectively put the game out of reach.

“We struggled a little bit in the beginning, but then we cleaned it up,” said 10th-year Holton coach Kirk Younts, whose team did not have an error after the first inning. “They are a great team, and they know how to hit. We tried to mix up our pitching on them, but it just didn’t work.”

Holton (29-13-1), which was playing in its first softball championship game and looking to win the first softball Finals title for a Muskegon County school, managed just three hits against Patriots sophomore Olivia Greene.

Erin Jubar (6) rounds third base while Holton’s infielders await a throw.Greene fooled the Red Devils all game with her rise ball, striking out 10.

Greene also showed her skills at the plate, ending the game with a shot to right-centerfield which actually hit the top of the fence and bounced back into play. Even though it wasn’t a home run, it scored senior Jenna Gremel to give the Patriots a 10-run lead and clinch the title.

Gremel, who with Crumm was a four-year varsity player and four-time champion, finished with two RBIs. Senior leadoff hitter Rylie Benson was 2-for-3, and Neumann had two hits and two RBIs.

USA coach Marc Reinhardt, who finished his second season as head coach but has been around the program for many years, said it never gets old winning a state championship.

“No, it’s always a thrill,” said Reinhardt, who is assisted by Matt Prime, Tommy Betson and Bree Gordon. “I am so glad that this particular group of seniors was able to go out on top. There will be other talented players coming in, but this was a very special group.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) USA teammates welcome Gabriella Crumm (1) after her home run Saturday at Secchia Stadium. (Middle) Emma Monette (9) drives a pitch for the Red Devils. (Below) Erin Jubar (6) rounds third base while Holton’s infielders await a throw.