Richmond, Ida Earn Saturday Return

June 15, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Even reigning champions get a little nervous returning to the diamond of their greatest accomplishment.

But it took Richmond only a couple innings to get comfortable again at Secchia Stadium while kicking off Thursday’s Division 2 Semifinals.

The Blue Devils, ranked No. 2 at the end of the regular season and expected to reach this point all season after emerging to win their first title a year ago, will get a chance to play for another thanks to a 4-2 win over No. 3 Escanaba – last year’s Semifinal opponent as well.

Richmond had won its last three games all in extra innings, but put up four runs during the third Thursday. Escanaba rallied for two runs in the fifth inning before sophomore pitcher Erin Shuboy – the star of last season’s championship run – finished locking down the Eskymos for the second year in a row.

“Making it here once is something special. And now to be here twice … I think the returners got rid of the jitters a little bit, (and) all of the other people are starting to settle in,” Richmond senior shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich said. “They score a couple of runs (and you tell yourself) relax, you’ve got a little bit of cushion. You’ve got another at bat. I wasn’t nervous at all. I know Erin; she’s going to bear down and she’s going to get it done. And we go back in and we have our bats.”

Richmond (33-4) will face Ida (36-7) in Saturday’s first championship game, at 10 a.m.

A year ago, the Blue Devils entered the tournament as honorable mentions in the final state rankings, but reached MSU and downed Escanaba 6-2 in a Semifinal.

The teams should have recognized a number of faces in the opposing dugout. Longtime Richmond coach Howard Stuart also caught up with Saginaw Swan Valley’s Tom Kennelly, whose top-ranked Vikings were downed by Escanaba in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal, and felt as prepared as possible heading into the rematch.

Richmond got to Eskymos senior starting pitcher Katie Ross only in the third inning, and freshman Gabbi Salo threw three scoreless to finish the game. But that one frame was enough. A walk, infield single by Barjaktarovich and error loaded the bases, and after a fielder’s choice knocked in the first run junior catcher Evelyn Swantek doubled in the next three.

Escanaba scored its two runs in the fifth inning and loaded the bases again with two outs. But Shuboy got a pop out to end that rally and allowed only one hit in each of the final two innings.

“I felt sorry for (Escanaba), because I thought that was a great team,” Stuart said. “We just had one good inning. We had one key hit, and that’s all it took.”

Barjaktarovich finished 2 for 3, and junior leftfielder Emma Caperton also had a double. Shuboy struck out seven and gave up four hits.

Sophomore rightfielder Lexi Chaillier and senior centerfielder Emily Bruntjens drove in runs for Escanaba (33-5). Junior Maddie Griffin walked twice and scored. 

Click for the full box score

Ida 3, Stevensville Lakeshore 2

How did it feel for unranked Ida to down No. 6 Lakeshore in its first Semifinal since 2006, to make its first MHSAA Final in softball since that spring more than a decade ago?

“This is what you play for. This is what they started out wanting when they were kids. Look at their parents – they wanted the same thing, and here we are,” Ida coach Dawn Forter said, pointing out an enthusiastic bunch waiting to greet the team. “I’m numb. I’m proud of every one of those kids, all 15.”

The Bluestreaks came back after Lakeshore jumped in with a run in the first inning, scoring one in the fourth and two in the fifth, and then withstood a last-inning Lancers rally to close out the victory.

Lakeshore scored that run when junior leftfielder Karlee Lambert misplayed a single by senior Olivia Freehling. But Lambert certainly made up for the brief miscue with a pair of triples, the second setting up her score on junior Hannah Tuller’s triple.  Tuller kept going and scored on a throwing error to take the advantage up to 3-1.

“That’s a hard-hit ball and the field plays fast, and it got to (Lambert) a little quicker than she thought it was going to. She stuck with it though – she knocked it down,” Forter said of Freehling’s hit. “That’s the way every kid wearing a Bluestreak shirt has been all year. If they make a mistake on one side, they pick it up on the other.”

Ida’s first run came when senior Mallorie Duvall drove in senior Brooklyn Woelmer in the fourth inning. Woelmer, Lambert and Duvall all were 2 for 3 at the plate, and junior Lauren Kreps gave up only one earned run throwing all seven innings.

Junior third baseman Cassidy Zavoral and freshman designated player Sierra Ciesielski were 1 for 3 and scored for the Lancers (33-7-1). Junior Taylor Simon struck out four allowing only two earned runs while tossing a complete game.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Richmond pitcher Erin Shuboy prepares to fire during Thursday's Division 2 Semifinal win over Escanaba. (Middle) Ida's Karlee Lambert gets to third base ahead of a tag after hitting one of her two triples Thursday. 

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.