Performance: Three Rivers' Kali Heivilin

April 26, 2019

Kali Heivilin
Three Rivers sophomore – Softball

Heivilin, coming off 18 home runs last season as a freshman, already has hit 12 more over 17 games this spring including six over five games last weekend to earn the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.” The sophomore shortstop drilled three in Friday’s doubleheader sweep of Plainwell and then one each in all three games as her team went 2-1 at the Constantine Invitational.

Heivilin made the Division 2 all-state first team last spring and is hitting .667 this season with 33 RBI and 46 runs scored to go with her 12 homers. She's been walked 15 times and hasn't struck out; she's carrying an incredible .731 on-base percentage. Three Rivers is 15-3 with its only losses to No. 10-ranked Edwardsburg twice and once to Portage Central. Her athletic talents are not exclusive to the softball diamond; Heivilin is a starting outside and middle hitter on the varsity volleyball team and two-time all-league honoree in basketball. Also this winter, she earned a fifth place at the Michigan High School Powerlifting Association championships.

She also excels academically, carrying a 3.89 grade-point average with her favorite classes in science – particularly anatomy – and aspirations of studying something in the medical field down the road. She’s following the example of senior brother Jalen Heivilin, himself a multi-sport and academic standout at Three Rivers this year, and sports stardom runs in the family – their grandfather Al, a longtime MHSAA official, was a Three Rivers record holder in track & field and competed at Ferris State University after high school. Kali has lots of time to figure out her college future, of course – but is receiving interest from softball programs both north and south. Her big week also earned her recognition from Extra Innings Softball, which named her its National Player of the Week on Monday.

Coach Kendra Kutz said: "She just has a passion and drive for what she does, not just in softball but in life. She's very dedicated to herself and her well-being. She takes care of herself; I had the honor of helping her during basketball season when I was an assistant coach this year, and even on game days she'd go to CrossFit at 6 a.m. before school. She's just a beast -- not a typical 16-year-old girl. She's focused, she has a passion for what she does with her life and she's a great student, and she comes from a very well-rounded family that is very supportive of her. As a freshman, she just had a breakout to begin her career. She's not one of those types of leaders that's verbal. She's just a silent leader; she's young, and she's still trying to find her place as far as what she can say to her players and to feel comfortable in that atmosphere. (But) when she's focused, it's game time, and that to me is the start of leadership. ... I can put that girl anywhere on the field and she can get the job done. She's just a kid every coach wishes they had."

Performance Point: “I’m just having a good spring. I trained really hard in the offseason to make sure I improve from last year and don’t go downhill. I have a really big summer ahead of me. … I’m just doing really good right now, and hoping I stay where I’m at. Since we do CrossFit, and I do powerlifting, it makes me a lot stronger, helps me more at the plate approach and attack the ball. And then in the field it makes me more mobile and able to get places faster and more efficiently because I have more mobility.”

Workout warrior: “I get up every morning and work out before school. It’s just a big motivator for me because I see what it’s done for me in the past. I really like the outcome of it. The place I work out at, we’re all like a family, so we all push each other. We’re cheering for each other. … My brother, his best friend did CrossFit for a long time working out, so my brother joined. I look up to my brother, so I want to do what he did. So I started about four and a half years ago, and I haven’t stopped since.”

We manage: “I love playing everything because I like having things to do. I like my rest time, but I like staying active. So that’s why I do all the stuff I do. I manage it; I talk to my coaches, like I have to be at this place at this time, and they’re like, ‘OK, we’ll do practice from this time to this time.’ I like to make sure I do everything I need to do and want to do … because I like to stay busy. My dad (Shawn) likes me and my brother to be independent and wants us to learn how to manage our time, so he really helped me with it – like, ‘You’re responsible for this. If you want to do it, you have to figure out how to do it, how you’re going to be able to do it.’ So I give credit to my dad for helping to figure all of that stuff out.”

Brotherly love: “I learned a lot of responsibility and confidence from my brother. He’s so good. He’s worked hard to get to be where he wants to be, and I looked up to him to be like, ‘Oh, he did that. I want to do that.’ I learned how to work hard, how to be confident, how to be humble.”

Colleges are watching: “I want to play down south for softball for college … but I will stay up north if that is what fits me best. It’s weird. (Recruiting) comes fast. My parents and my brother are the ones that help me. My dad and brother are probably having the biggest impact – my brother is going through it right now and my dad has experience going through it, and my mom (Crystal) is there for me too. They are the ones helping me do what I need to do, make the right decisions and keep my head where it should be.” 

- 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

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) Three Rivers' Kali Heivilin powers through a pitch. (Photo courtesy of Three Rivers' athletic department.)

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.