Performance: Millington's Gabbie Sherman

May 17, 2019

Gabbie Sherman
Millington senior – Softball

The all-state ace struck out the first nine batters she faced and was nearly unhittable as Division 3’s top-ranked Cardinals opened the Escanaba Invitational on May 10 with a 3-0 win over the Eskymos, the reigning MHSAA Division 2 champion. Sherman – who also led her team to a win at Escanaba in 2018 – gave up one hit, didn’t walk a batter and struck out 15 to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

The team’s fulltime starting pitcher the last three seasons, Sherman helped the Cardinals to last year’s Division 3 championship game, a 7-6 defeat to Coloma. She is one of a large and accomplished group of four-year seniors who have led the varsity to four straight league, three District and three Regional championships – the 2016 District title was a program first, and the league crown that spring was the first since 1978. Millington is 23-2 this season and a combined 62-5 over the last two – with all five losses coming by just a run.

Sherman, an all-state first-teamer last season who also earned honorable mention as a sophomore, is 11-2 this spring with a 1.17 ERA and 130 strikeouts in only 72 innings pitched. She’s also hitting .529 with five home runs and 38 RBI. For her career, Sherman is 77-11 pitching with a 1.15 ERA and 780 strikeouts over 493 innings pitched, and has hit .453 with 19 home runs and 185 RBI. Her career batting average and RBI qualify for the MHSAA record book, and she needs just one more home run to also make that all-time list. Sherman has signed to continue her career at Kent State University, where she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps and study nursing – Gabbie carries a GPA above 4.0 and ranks seventh in her Millington graduating class.

Coach Greg Hudie said: “When her and her freshman classmates came in, they made an immediate impact. With a pitcher, they’re a little bit more sensitive sometimes mentally, and she was able to grow at her own pace with all-stater Taylor Wright taking a little bit of the heat off and teaching her the ropes. And I think that had a huge part in Gabbie's success, just seeing how it's done. She's taken the reins and definitely made her own mold here at Millington and is leaving some big steps to walk in for sure. …  When you’ve got somebody like Gabbie, you'll play the world – and you always think you've got a chance.”

Performance Point: “It was a different type of atmosphere during that game,” Sherman said of the Escanaba matchup. “It felt like playoffs, that type of intensity. They put their (2018 championship) banner up right before they were playing us, and so it just made me want the game more. … Striking out the first nine batters was kinda huge. And me and Sydney (Bishop, her all-state catcher) had a really great game going; she knew what I wanted to throw and we were both locked in. To beat them this year ... just showed we are one of the best teams and that we can play with the best teams out there.”

One team, one goal: “This year for me has just been about getting back (to the Finals) and just winning it. Last year being so close made all of us want it more. So all of us, for the goal in mind, has been to win the championship. I know that's everyone's goal – everyone's like, ‘Let's go to states and win it’ – but for us it's different because we've been there, we've put in all the hard work, we’ve put in all the extra time, so we can make it happen for ourselves.”

Learning to finish it: “I think my mental game is a lot better this year. I can bounce back from things better than last year. The Clarkston game, when I gave up a grand slam, I had to bat next time up, and I didn't just give up. Last year that would happen, and I would take that with me. This year I can set it aside and I can go to the plate and I can worry about that at bat – not about what's already happened. It took a lot of practice over the years. I had to just sit down and realize I can't let one thing affect the others. I have to move on to the next pitch. There's a book called ‘Finished It’ and there was a quote in there, a quote that was, to me, this is what I need to learn. She was talking about looking over at her teammates, and (saying) ‘This one is coming to you. This is the play,’ and the pitcher would take a deep breath and say ‘This pitch, this at bat, don't worry about the next play.’ We have to worry about what's right in front of us.”

Last year’s lessons: “We learned that we all have to push each other. We all play for each other and not ourselves. Our dugout this year has been incredible. When one of us makes a bad play, we’re there for that girl and telling her ‘You have the next one. Don't let it shake you. You’ve got it.’ In the weight room we’ve been pushing each other. At practice we are all pushing each other, helping each other to do better and letting each other know we've got it.”

Let’s win this: “That would be incredible, to bring (a championship) home here. There’s never been a state championship at our school; to bring that here would be incredible because our whole town supports us. When we go out to the playoffs, everyone gets on the streets, everyone has banners and they are all cheering for us. At the state finals game, you could even see it was just full of red. Our town comes with us and supports us every step of the way. To bring that home to them, that would just be huge.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognizes a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Past 2018-19 honorees

May 9: Nathan Taylor, Muskegon Mona Shores golf - Read
May 2:
Ally Gaunt, New Baltimore Anchor Bay soccer - Read
April 25:
Kali Heivilin, Three Rivers softball - Read
March 28:
Rickea Jackson, Detroit Edison basketball - Read
March 21:
Noah Wiswary, Hudsonville Unity Christian basketball - Read
March 14:
Cam Peel, Spring Lake swimming - Read
March 7:
Jordan Hamdan, Hudson wrestling - Read
February 28:
Kevon Davenport, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Read
February 21:
Reagan Olli, Gaylord skiing - Read 
February 14:
Jake Stevenson, Traverse City Bay Reps hockey - Read
February 7: Molly Davis, Midland Dow basketball - Read
January 31:
Chris DeRocher, Alpena basketball - Read
January 24:
Imari Blond, Flint Kearsley bowling - Read
January 17: William Dunn, Quincy basketball - Read
November 29:
Dequan Finn, Detroit Martin Luther King football - Read
November 22: Paige Briggs, Lake Orion volleyball - Read
November 15:
Hunter Nowak, Morrice football - Read
November 8:
Jon Dougherty, Detroit Country Day soccer - Read
November 1:
Jordan Stump, Camden-Frontier volleyball - Read
October 25:
Danielle Staskowski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep golf - Read
October 18:
Adam Bruce, Gladstone cross country - Read
October 11: Ericka VanderLende, Rockford cross country - Read
October 4:
Kobe Clark, Schoolcraft football - Read
September 27: Jonathan Kliewer, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern soccer - Read
September 20: Kiera Lasky, Bronson volleyball - Read
September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Millington's Gabbie Sherman makes her move toward the plate during last season's Division 3 championship game. (Middle) Sherman huddles with her teammates before their next turns at bat. 

Owosso Ace's Strikeout Total Stacks Up with State's All-Time Best

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.