EAST LANSING — Richmond senior Makayla Revord did what she’s been taught since first lacing up the cleats as a young ball player.
Keep your head down and run hard.
So when she blooped a double down the right field line during the sixth inning of her team’s Division 3 Final against Buchanan on Saturday, she missed all the exciting action.
“I saw the ball land, and I kept going. I didn’t look at anybody else running. I just wanted to keep going to get more runs,” said Revord, whose hit drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run in her team’s 2-1 victory over the Bucks. “When I popped up (at second base), I had no worries anymore. I knew that we had this.”
Indeed they did. The Blue Devils scored twice in that sixth inning to rally from a run down and capture the second Finals championship in school history. The first came back in 2016 — also under current head coach Howard Stuart.
Richmond struggled against Buchanan starting pitcher Sophia Lozmack for the better part of six innings. The senior allowed just four hits while striking out six through five innings.
“She’s a great pitcher. You can’t take that away from her,” said Revord, speaking of Lozmack. “She’s got a great rise ball. She hits outside corners like nobody’s business. We don’t see a lot of that, so it took us a minute to catch up to that.”
Eventually, the Blue Devils did catch up in the sixth. Sophomore Piper Clark started things off with a one-out double and moved over to third on a single by junior Lauren Creon. Senior Jaelyn Amhdar then singled down the left field line, scoring Clark and tying the game up at 1-1. One out later, Revord came up with the eventual game-winner.
“The first half of the game, we were scared to death, which is not like us at all,” Stuart said. “(Revord) was shaking, she made two errors. It just wasn’t us. Finally, we got our act together and said, ‘Hey, we’re Richmond. Let’s do something.’”
Buchanan scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman first baseman Hailee Kara took a 1-2 pitch deep to right, clearing the fence while hitting the fair pole to give her team an early 1-0 lead. But from that point on, hits were hard to come by for the Bucks.
Richmond senior Shea VanScoter locked things down, retiring eight of the next nine Buchanan batters and 10 of the last 11 she faced. She had a complete game, allowing just one run on three hits while collecting nine strikeouts.
“She stymied us for seven innings, and that hasn’t really happened all year,” said Buchanan head coach Rachel Carlson, whose team finished with a 36-5 record. “So congratulations to her. She pitched great.”
Offensively, Clark led Richmond with three hits, including a double. She also had a stolen base.
“She’s a star. She’s a great sophomore who can run like the wind,” Stuart said. “And she’s a great pitcher too. She’s just a great kid.”
Stuart said Saturday’s win was a great way to cap off a season that may not have started off exactly the way he had hoped. It took a few weeks for the Blue Devils to get things going.
“The first week, I was like, ‘We’re terrible.’ We were making six errors a game. We were pathetic,” Stuart said. “All of a sudden we went from a fielding percentage of .700 to a fielding percentage of .900, which is just huge. I felt like in the middle of the season we had a really good team. We didn’t show it that first week, but we started getting better, and better and better.”
Buchanan was making its first appearance in an MHSAA Final game. The Bucks were coming off a 9-4 win over Standish-Sterling in Friday’s Semifinal. Carlson said she couldn’t be any more proud of the way her team competed this season.
“They made a commitment to play as a team and as a unit. That’s what I’m most proud of today,” said the fourth-year head coach. “They cheered each other on all day. They never stopped. That is a success in itself.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Richmond's Olivia Theut pulls in a fly ball during the Division 3 championship game Saturday evening. (Middle) The Blue Devils’ Piper Clark (10) shows some excitement after reaching second base.
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