'Good Enough' Turns Great as Warriors Advance
June 14, 2013
By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half
BATTLE CREEK — Hannah Leppek pitched a one-hit shutout Friday, not an easy achievement against a hot-hitting softball team playing on the opposite side in an MHSAA Semifinal.
Yet the Bay City Western junior wasn't thrilled with her performance, which just reaffirms that the great ones all have a bit of a perfectionist streak in them.
Leppek struck out eight but walked five and hit a batter, as Western beat Garden City 1-0 in Division 1 at Bailey Park.
The Warriors won on a walk-off sacrifice fly by senior Hannah Batschke.
"Actually, I didn't feel that my pitching was on, but it was good enough to obviously get the win," Leppek said. "Tomorrow I can tell you it will be on. It's going to be a big game.
"I have higher standards for myself. I just felt like my pitches weren't moving as much as they usually were, and I wasn't as accurate as I usually am. In my opinion, it wasn't a perfect shutout."
Her 19th shutout of the season put Western in the MHSAA Final for the first time and against Mattawan, which beat Romeo 3-2 in the other Semifinal.
"It's surreal," Leppek said. "I feel like it hasn't hit me yet, the immensity of it. I feel like next week I'll wake up and it will hit me: 'Oh, I was in the state championship game.'"
Western coach Rick Garlinghouse concurred that it wasn't a vintage performance by Leppek.
"She normally doesn't walk five, and she gets a few more strikeouts than that," he said. "What I'm proud of is she kept her focus, and she was still able to give us a chance to win the game."
Leppek pitched out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the sixth when she got Julene Pummill to strike out swinging at a high pitch.
Western's best chance to score before the seventh came in the second inning when Pummill ran down a fly ball heading for the gap in right-center off the bat of Batschke with two outs and a runner on second.
The winning rally began when Kelsie Popp led off the seventh with a double. Ashtyn Decatur reached on an error on a bunt attempt and advanced to second. With the outfield drawn in, Batschke hit it deep enough to force left fielder Allie Lynn to backpedal to make the catch, giving her no chance of throwing out Popp at the plate.
"I just want to go out and make my team proud, no matter what we do," Batschke said. "I just go out every at bat like it's an average game, not any big game or anything. I'm relaxed. It sounds bad, but I really do bad under pressure. So I just go out and have fun."
The title game will be a rematch of a 2011 Semifinal that Mattawan won, 3-0.
Mattawan 3, Romeo 2
The Wildcats reached the championship game for the third straight year on the strength of a three-run fifth inning.
Romeo took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth before Mattawan erupted for the winning rally.
Emma Toner started the inning by reaching base on an error, then scored the tying run on an error. A single by Kyla Nickrent broke the tie, and a double by Abby Stoner made it a 3-1 game.
"Sometimes it's just the second or third time through the lineup that it will happen," Mattawan coach Alicia Smith said. "I knew it was going to happen, because we put base runners on in every inning but the fourth. They were there in scoring position. We were just one hit away from breaking it open. It was just a matter of time."
Romeo scored a run in the sixth, but was set down 1-2-3 in the seventh by Allie Havers. Havers allowed only three hits, struck out 10 and didn't issue a walk.
Mattawan won the Division 1 title two years ago, outscoring three opponents by a combined 27-0 in the final round, before losing 2-1 to Hudsonville in last year's title game.
"In 2011, it was fairly easy for that group," Smith said. "They breezed right through the tournament and never had any close games. These kids have to battle every game, every inning, every pitch. It makes it very special."
PHOTOS: (Top) Bay City Western rightfielder Madison Brewer holds up the ball as evidence off a catch in the Warriors' 1-0 win over Garden City. (Middle) A Mattawan hitter makes contact during the Wildcats' Semifinal win over Romeo. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)
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.