Performance: St Mary's Meghan Beaubien

June 22, 2017

Meghan Beaubien
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central senior – Softball

One of the most successful careers in MHSAA softball history came to a close Saturday with one last major feat extending an incredible list. Beaubien pitched St. Mary to a third straight Division 3 championship, striking out 16 and allowing two hits and just one walk in a 13-1 win over Napoleon to earn the final Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week” for the 2016-17 school year.

Beaubien, also the team's lead-off hitter, was 3 for 3 from the plate as well, scoring three runs and driving in two. To get the Kestrels back to the title game, she shut out Shepherd 1-0 in Friday's Semifinal, striking out 15 without a walk while giving up two hits. Over 40 innings and three Finals weekends at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium – home of the championships the last three seasons – Beaubien gave up just one run and six hits, and that run was unearned. She also continued to surge in the championship game last weekend despite losing her all-state catcher, senior Kenna Garst, to an injury during the third inning against the Pirates.

Beaubien finished this season 23-1 with a 0.34 ERA and 341 strikeouts with only 11 walks, plus a .458 batting average. While her career numbers are being confirmed for record book purposes, unofficially she went 100-14 and struck out 1,445 batters over four seasons – those career strikeouts would rank eighth in MHSAA history. Beaubien also finished high school with a 4.7 grade-point average and will study and play softball at University of Michigan. She plans to major in biochemical engineering on the way to eventually becoming a doctor.

Coach John Morningstar said: “She’s the most durable, dominating, resilient, tough, strong – all the attributes that you look for in an athlete, she has them. And she doesn’t falter. Even in adversity she stands in there, and I think she actually kinda likes it.”

Performance Point: “Obviously, you don’t want to go down early,” Beaubien said of working out of a first-inning jam against Napoleon, when she stranded two runners with two strikeouts to end a potential rally. “We definitely wanted to prevent them from scoring. Being able to get those strikeouts and keep them from scoring kept us mentally in the game. … (The three championships) have all been different. This one was by the largest margin. It’s just as exciting as the others.’’ 

Switching up: “When (Garst) first got hurt and she stayed in, I was a little concerned. I kept throwing all my pitches. When she went out, our second catcher Brooke (Angerer) did a great job calling pitches and catching the ball. It didn’t affect me greatly because she did a great job.’’

Setting the standard: “Honestly, as a freshman I wasn’t even thinking state championship. I was just thinking league and Districts. I did not have my goals set that high. Sophomore year we thought ‘OK, we’re good enough. We could maybe do it.’ And we did it. Since then we have this standard, and this is our goal every year.’’

Leaving a legacy: “To come into the program and leave it with three straight championships … to know that we (she and senior Grace Mikesell) made a mark. … We’re leaving the program better than we found it. I think that means a lot to both of us.’’

Next level: “Four years of high school were great. The three state championships were great. But every good thing comes to an end. I’m ready for the next level and to go after some championships up there.’’

- Perry A. Farrell, Second Half correspondent; 
Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2016-17 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognized 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. 

Previous 2016-17 honorees:
June 15: Isabelle Scane, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood lacrosse – Read
June 8: Hunter Eichhorn, Carney-Nadeau golf Read
June 1: Grace Stark, White Lake Lakeland track & field Read
May 25: Brendon Gouin, Gaylord golf Read
May 18: Hannah Ducolon, Bay City All Saints softball – Read
May 11: Mason Phillips, Salem track & field Read
May 4: Lillian Albaugh, Farwell track & field Read
April 27: Amber Gall, Shepherd track & field  Read
April 20: Sloane Teske, East Grand Rapids tennis Read
March 30: Romeo Weems, New Haven basketball Read
March 23: Jaycie Burger and Maddie Clark, Pittsford basketball Read
March 16: Camden Murphy, Novi swimming & diving Read
March 9: Ben Freeman, Walled Lake Central wrestling Read
March 2: Joey Mangner, Chelsea swimming & diving Read
Feb. 23: Isabelle Nguyen, Grosse Pointe North gymnastics – Read
Feb. 16: Dakota Hurbis, Saline swimming & diving – Read
Feb. 2: Foster Loyer, Clarkston basketball Read
Jan. 26: Nick Jenkins, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling – Read
Jan. 19: Eileene Naniseni, Mancelona basketball Read
Jan. 12: Rory Anderson, Calumet hockey – Read
Dec. 15: Demetri Martin, Big Rapids basketball Read
Dec. 1: Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech football Read
Nov. 24: Ally Cummings, Novi volleyball Read
Nov. 17: Chloe Idoni, Fenton volleyball Read
Nov. 10: Adelyn Ackley, Hart cross country Read
Nov. 3: Casey Kirkbride, Mattawan soccer – Read
Oct. 27: Colton Yesney, Negaunee cross country Read
Oct. 20: Varun Shanker, Midland Dow tennis Read
Oct. 13: Anne Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country – Read
Oct. 6: Shuaib Aljabaly, Coldwater cross country – Read
Sept. 29: Taylor Seaman, Brighton swimming & diving – Read
Sept. 22: Maggie Farrell, Battle Creek Lakeview cross country – Read
Sept. 15: Franki Strefling, Buchanan volleyball – Read
Sept. 8: Noah Jacobs, Corunna cross country – Read

PHOTO: (Top) Monroe St. Mary's Meghan Beaubien prepares to unload a pitch during Saturday's Division 3 Final. (Middle) Beaubien swings at a pitch against Napoleon; she was 3 for 3 from the plate.

Grass Lake Slugger Turner Writing Name All Over MHSAA Record Book

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

May 7, 2024

Bill and Julia Turner have not only put in a lot of miles on the road, but they’ve also put a lot of miles in on the softball field.

Greater DetroitBefore Olivia Turner was hitting the cover off the ball and becoming Michigan’s career RBI leader for the Grass Lake softball team, Bill and Julia were taking her to the field for batting practice.

“I always wanted to go to the field, and my dad would take me and my mom would shag balls in the outfield,” Olivia said. “They’ve spent countless hours, especially traveling around the country. They’ve been my biggest support system. They are awesome.”

Her Warriors teammates are grateful, too. Last week Turner became Michigan’s all-time leader in runs batted in, surpassing Taylor Light & Life Christian’s Kelly Kennedy, who held the record with 304 RBIs from 1991-94.

“It was crazy to think I beat a 30-year-old record,” Turner said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I’m just super thankful.”

Having her name on the state record book for softball is nothing new to Turner. She barely missed the state mark for RBIs in a season last year when she had 102 and is the state’s all-time career doubles leader already.

Grass Lake head coach Roger Cook said Turner never talks about hitting home runs or driving in runs – just about being a teammate.

“I’m going to tell you, she’s one of the most modest people you’ll ever talk to,” Cook said. “She just talks team, team, team. She always has since I’ve known her. She has never said one thing about a home run or a base hit.”

Turner, who plays third base, has been around the Grass Lake program for a long time. When her sister Madeline was playing for the Warriors before heading off to play at Findlay University in Ohio, Olivia would tag along.

“I just wanted to be at the field, be around softball,” she said.

Turner first picked up the game when she was on an 8-and-under team.

“I fell in love with it,” she said.

Turner will graduate this spring with multiple MHSAA records.She started as a pitcher, but quickly converted to infielder, where she has played with Grass Lake and various travel teams. She also plays volleyball and basketball for Grass Lake, but softball is her sport.

“We’re all one family,” she said. “I love that you get to play with girls that you may not be friends with at school. It shows you who you are. Softball gives you a lot of life lessons – dedication, teamwork, how to work with others.”

She loves to hit, too.

“Every at-bat, even if there is no one on base, I want to get on base,” she said. “I’m always going up to the plate doing it for my team, not for myself. The RBIs are pretty cool. My team gets on base for me. All of the girls are phenomenal.”

Cook said he sometimes gets worried that opponents will just pitch around Turner. But because of who is in the lineup in front of and behind her, he doesn’t have to worry about that.

“We have Rylee Fitzpatrick, Emily Brown, then Olivia,” Cook said. “After Olivia we have (junior) Bree Salts, who has committed to Central Michigan. It’s hard to pitch around her. When we get to some of these big games, teams will have to throw to her.”

Last year’s Division 3 runner-up Ottawa Lake Whiteford has faced Grass Lake multiple times over the past couple of seasons, and coach Matt VanBrandt is plenty familiar with the damage Turner can do.

"You'd better have a plan when you are pitching to her,” VanBrandt said. “She’s a dangerous hitter. She’s someone you need to think about before the game starts.”

Turner hit .714 last season with 30 doubles and those 102 runs batted in. For her career, she’s belted 48 home runs and knocked in 309 runs after Saturday’s tournament. She’s never hit below .535 for a season and is nearing 100 career doubles.

Grass Lake currently is 22-1 and leading the Cascades Conference.

“It’s crazy to think I am actually a senior now,” Turner said. “Now that it is my senior year, I just want to work hard and play for my team. We’ve had great seniors the last couple of years. It’s crazy to think this is my last season.”

Turner will attend Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. She chose Bradley because of its nursing program.

“Academics has always been first for me,” she said. “I fell in love with the campus. It’s not too big or too small. The staff there is great.”

Before taking her swing to college, Grass Lake wants to make a deep tournament run this season. And the more games the Warriors play, the more RBIs Turner is likely to add to her record.

“Olivia has one of the smoothest, most beautiful swings I’ve ever seen,” Cook said. “She’s one of the girls you want up there at bat with the game on the line. She can do it all. If you need a single, she’ll get you a single. If you need a walk-off, she can do that, too.”

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Grass Lake’s Olivia Turner focuses on a pitch coming her way. (Middle) Turner will graduate this spring with multiple MHSAA records. (Photos courtesy of Pictures by Marisa and the Grass Lake softball program.)