Each week, Second Half gives "High 5s" to multiple athletes and a team that have performed exceptionally on the field or made a notable impact off of it.
Please offer your suggestions by e-mail to [email protected]. Below are this week's honorees:
Saginaw Valley Lutheran senior
Appold is putting the final touches on a career that places her among the best ever at Saginaw Valley Lutheran. She holds multiple Chargers strikeout records and appears three times in the MHSAA record book for strikeouts in a game -- her best of 15 in a 2010 contest is tied for fifth-best in MHSAA history. Appold is 2-0 this season with batters hitting just .098 against her. She's also earned all-state recognition for volleyball and basketball this school year.
Up next: Appold has signed to play softball at Saginaw Valley State University and intends to study nursing.
I learned the most about pitching from: "Probably my dad, Randy Appold. He was pitching coach up until my seventh grade year. And Doug Gillis (out of Wixom), my pitching coach now."
My favorite athletes are: Detroit Tigers Austin Jackson and Justin Verlander. "My parents always took me to Tigers games when I was little, and I like watching them."
Try to keep up: Although Appold has never pitched to her baseball-playing friends, a few have caught her. "I've had a lot of people since freshman year ask me to pitch against them, to see how they'd do. I think I'd handle myself against them. ... There's a lot of different movement (to softball pitches)."
Stiles is finishing up an all-state career for the Bees that included a trip to the Division 3 Semifinals in 2010. He's currently tied with former standout Brennan Powers for Bath's career pitching wins record with 33, enough to also get him on the MHSAA record book list in that category. Stiles is 2-0 this season and has yet to give up an earned run -- including over 10 innings Monday, although he didn't get a decision in either game that afternoon. He also plays center field.
Up next: Stiles said a few colleges said they'd like to watch him this season before offering a scholarship. Also his school's valedictorian, Stiles, has been accepted by Michigan State and could go there as a student only. He'd major in human biology with an eye on becoming an orthopedic surgeon -- which began to interest him after he suffered an ankle injury as a sophomore. He also might consider walking-on at MSU or playing on the club team.
My best pitch is: "My fastball. I've got the most control over it. I can put it pretty much anywhere I want."
I learned the most about pitching from: "My 14-and-under baseball coach Dave Morena. He had a certain way of doing things, and he knew what he was talking about. He taught me pretty much everything I know."
I look up to: "Justin Verlander. He works fast. He does throw his fastball a lot too. He's confident in his other pitches, but he likes to go to his fastball."
My career highlight: "The state Semifinal run. Records are records, made to be broken and all of that nonsense. But the run of the team; we weren't expected to do it, and the whole town followed us. Even though we lost, it was a great experience."
Grand Rapids West Catholic boys golf
After falling just five strokes short of winning the Kent County Classic on April 12 at The Highlands (behind top-ranked Division 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central), West Catholic took on some of the state's top Division 2 and 3 teams the next day at Michigan State's Forest Akers East -- and edged reigning Division 2 champion DeWitt by a stroke with a 303 to win the Haslett Invitational.
The Forest Akers field including Division 2 Nos. 1 and 2 DeWitt and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, respectively, and Division 3 No. 1 Jackson Lumen Christi and No. 9 Hanover-Horton -- with West Catholic ranked No. 4 in Division 3 entering the tournament. Junior Sam Weatherhead was medalist at both the Kent County Classic and Haslett Invitational, shooting 68 and 69, respectively, to win by four and three strokes.
The MHSAA and Holly school communities are grieving this week after the sudden loss of Tony Coggins, a shining light in his educational community and an enthusiastic supporter of school sports as a public address announcer for several of our largest championship events.
But while that cheerful tone has been quieted, it surely will not be forgotten by the many fortunate to enjoy an event in the presence of that voice and the joyfulness he brought into every arena, press box and classroom.
Coggins, 51, died Saturday. He is survived by his wife Kristy and children Emma and Bradlee, among several family and friends from his local and greater sports communities.
His career as a PA announcer began during his freshman year of high school in 1985, when his father Dale Coggins – Flushing’s athletic director at the time – couldn’t find anyone else to announce middle school football games. That was 39 years ago, and this fall Tony Coggins was in his 24th announcing at Holly, where he taught and served as an administrator in addition to his role as “Voice of the Holly Bronchos” for football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer and swimming & diving over the years.
Coggins has been a mainstay among MHSAA Finals PA announcers over the last decade in football, basketball, softball and most recently volleyball. He lent his voice to college sports at University of Michigan as well. “Tony was a huge part of our Finals events. It’s hard to imagine it being the same without him,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said.
As part of the run-up to the MHSAA public address announcers clinic in 2018, Coggins said this about what drew him to the microphone:
“I have zero athletic ability whatsoever, which is interesting because my father was an all-state running back. But I enjoy being involved, and I've always been the one for history and statistics and knowing what's going on,” Coggins said. “This is a way for me to be involved. It's a way for me to use a talent I've been given; public speaking has always come pretty naturally for me.
“So I worked at my craft to get better. I got better from watching the people around me, from studying the people I like, and the people – if I saw someone I didn’t care for – I'd make a note and say to myself, ‘Don't do that.’ I take feedback from people very personally, and I mean that in a good way. If somebody takes the time to come up and say, ‘You did this well; I think you should change this,’ that means they care about the program also. We all have the same goal in mind, and that's to make the experience good for the high school student and the parents, the fans, that come there.”
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at St. John Vianney, 2415 Bagley Street in Flint. There will be visitation from 2-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, and at the church from 10 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass.
The Holly volleyball team played for something bigger tonight
Beloved PA announcer Anthony Coggins died on Friday night from a heart attack
— Brandon Green🍀 (@BGreenReports) October 24, 2023