Dansville Believes – And Achieves
June 22, 2012
It's likely that few gave the Dansville softball team a shot to win the Division 4 championship last weekend, given the two-time reigning champion sitting on the opposite side of the bracket.
But the Aggies thought they had a chance. And that’s what longtime coach Mick Ream thinks made the difference in his team’s winning its first MHSAA title.
Dansville was making its third trip to Bailey Park in four seasons. The second trip, in 2010, ended with a nine-error performance and 10-1 loss to Petersburg-Summerfield – which went on to win the championship that season and again in 2011.
Those Bulldogs had been ranked No. 1 in every coaches poll this spring. But after surviving a late Rapid River to win Friday’s Semifinal 4-3, Dansville did the unexpected in Saturday’s championship game, winning 3-2.
“We were hoping to get back to the Semis, and I thought we were good enough,” said Ream, who finished his 31st season as coach. “Things always just have to fall into place. Once we got to the Semis, I really liked Rapid River. But we were just hanging in, and we did the same thing in the final game.
“With our success the last four years, and more than that, we leant ourselves to expectations. They’ve risen, not only by me, but by people in the community.”
The Aggies are recipients of the final team Second Half High 5 of the 2011-12 school year.
The championship was the first for a Dansville girls team and the third MHSAA team title for the Aggies in any sport, joining the wrestling teams that won MHSAA Class D Finals in 1980 and 1981 when Ream’s brother Dan was an assistant coach.
Although Dansville also draws from the rural area surrounding it, roughly 500 people live within the village limits. Families have known each other for years, and Ream retired from teaching in 2010 after 34. He also has coached in the football, baseball, volleyball and girls basketball programs and watched two sons become coaches – Aggies girls basketball coach Eric Ream and his brother Greg, who coaches the boys basketball team at Desert Ridge High in Mesa, Ariz.
Mick Ream's softball team was led by some who knew well how he runs the show. Seniors Rebekah Guy, Alison Schlicker and Addie Price all played four years of varsity. Junior Evy Lobdell has been a mainstay in the lineup since her first year of high school as well.
Lobdell and Guy have eight school records between them, and Price and sophomore outfielder Hailey Mays each posted one of the seven total set by this season’s team. Guy returned to the all-state team as a catcher after hitting .422 and five home runs with an 8-1 record and 1.38 ERA pitching. Lobdel also was selected after hitting .500 with 54 RBI, as was sophomore pitcher Meagan Kelley, who went 23-4 with a 1.56 ERA and 204 strikeouts. Mays and senior outfielder Paige Galbreath both earned honorable mentions.
The high school itself has just shy of 300 students. But on top of having strong crowds all season, 200 supporters showed up for Thursday’s victory parade that included three fire engines, the band and player introductions.
The parade was just the start. The village proclaimed that every July 20 will now be known as Dansville Varsity Softball Day. Calls and letters have been coming in from people Ream hadn’t had contact with for years.
Former Bath coach Marc Kibby – who led the Bees to the Division 4 championship in 2002 and now coaches at Lansing Community College – called to say “welcome to the club” and remind Ream that the Aggies will always be listed among champions on the flag pole near the Bailey Park softball complex entrance.
“One thing I got loud and clear from everybody: there’s just a certain way we did things, and we didn’t waiver from it, and I think it paid off,” Ream said. “It paid off with how the kids represent the school, how they act when they go on the field and when they go off the field. I think that’s the starting point. And I always felt that if you get to know and care about them more as people than players, my philosophy is that they respond to that.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Dansville players celebrate after Friday's 4-3 Semifinal win over Rapid River that earned them the school's first softball Final appearance. (Middle) Junior Evy Lobdell hits a drive during the Semifinal win. (Click to see more photos from High School Sports Scene.)
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.