USA, K-Christian Power Way to D4 Final

June 14, 2019

By Jason Schmitt
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – It may have taken six-plus innings, but Kalamazoo Christian coach Kevin Lewis eventually had a chance to take it all in Friday morning.

And he had an opportunity to exhale as well.

All it took was a three-run home run from senior Jayme Koning, a shot which served as an explanation point on the Comets’ 6-1 victory over Coleman in a Division 4 Semifinal at Secchia Stadium.

“It was very relaxing after that sixth inning. It was then I knew,” said Lewis, referring to a four-run sixth that gave his team a five-run cushion. “(Koning) was hot all day. When she came up to the plate, I had that gut feeling, like, ‘If she drops a bomb right here, it’s done.’ And she did it. That’s not the first time. She did it against (Stevensville) Lakeshore. When you’re facing teams like that, for her to come up clutch in two situations like that shows me what kind of ballplayer she really is.”

Koning was 3-for-4 in the game, reaching base on all four of her plate appearances. She also had a double and an RBI single which tied the game at 1-1 in the first inning. Her home run was her 14th of the season. She went the distance on the mound, allowing just four hits while striking out four, including the last Coleman batter of the game – setting off a grand celebration for her team.

“Both (the home run and game-ending strikeout) were different excitements,” Koning said, answering which was more special to her. “The home run gave us a little insurance that I really like, and getting that out is just in-the-moment awesome.”

The game was extremely tight through five innings, the difference coming on an RBI single by freshman Faith Kline – scoring courtesy runner Nyla de Jong – which gave her team a 2-1 lead. To that point both Koning and Coleman starting pitcher Jaden Berthume were cruising along.

Berthume scattered eight hits through the first five innings, allowing just two runs. Coleman’s defense struggled throughout the game – collecting four errors – while Kalamazoo Christian was flawless in the field.

“Defense is obviously the name of the game,” Lewis said. “We have a really good defense. We have freshmen in the lineup. We’ve got sophomores in the lineup. We’re deep all the way up through. It came down to defense and our pitching on the mound. Jayme held them tight, and we got the job done.”

Senior Sydney Duong was 3-for-3 with a walk for Christian (31-8), and scored a pair of runs. Sophomore Zoe Hazelhoff collected a pair of hits and junior Megan Snook had an RBI single and scored a run for the Comets, who will face Unionville-Sebewaing in Saturday’s championship game.

Berthume and freshman Katelyn Pnacek each had two hits for Coleman (35-8), which entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in Division 4. It was the Comets’ third straight trip to East Lansing. Last year they fell to Centreville in the championship game.

“When we’ve got chances to score, we’ve got to be able to get the hit,” Coleman head coach Chad Klopf said after the game. “We’ve been doing that all year. We’ve been able to keep the bats going when we needed them (this year). If it was tomorrow or if it was yesterday, we might have won it. But it was their day today.

“This was our third straight year down here. We’ve had lots of experience. That’s why we’re here again. It gave us so much experience the last two years, and it gave all of our young girls this year more experience. Hopefully we can do what we do and get back (here) again.”

Click for the full box score.

Unionville-Sebewaing 8, Rogers City 3

Changing things up a bit from last year’s Semifinal appearance seemed to do wonders Friday afternoon for Unionville-Sebewaing.

The Patriots, limited to just four hits in last year’s 4-0 loss to eventual champion Centreville, exploded for eight runs on 16 hits in their win over Rogers City.

“The last couple days, I’ve liked where we’re at offensively,” USA head coach Isaiah Gainforth said. “We had two really good days of preparation. To put 16 hits up in the semis, you can’t ask for much more offensively. I’m extremely proud of the girls’ approach, their discipline. Hitting is contagious. When someone starts it, everybody else is ‘Let me get the bat and see what I can do.’ That was kind of our mentality there.”

Sophomore Maci Montgomery was a perfect 4-for-4 against the Hurons, collecting three doubles and a triple, scoring twice and driving in three runs. Her leadoff triple to start the game got things going for the Patriots (30-9), and her two-run double in the fifth capped off the scoring for her team.

“Couldn’t ask for a better start,” Gainforth said. “It’s so important, getting that first run in any game. Being able to score first was big because it just loosens everybody up. When you get production from top to bottom, that’s a dangerous team right there.”

The team’s No. 9 hitter, junior Danielle Harper, also had quite a game. She was 3-for-3, scored three times and added a two-run home run to give herself a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Brynn Polega and freshmen Macy Reinhardt and Laci Harris all collected two hits each in their team’s victory. Polega also pitched a complete game on the mound, allowing just two earned runs while striking out four.

“We kind of learned from some of our mistakes last year,” Gainforth said. “A lot of these girls are back, but you’ve got some new girls. We weren’t in awe (today). The experience factor. Last year we were kind of consumed by it, and I don’t know if it kind of got to us a little bit. Today we kind of switched it up a little bit, got down here this morning and tried to keep our same routine and same approach that we’ve had in all our tournaments.”

Rogers City (27-8) was led by senior Taylor Fleming, who was 2-for-4 at the plate. She connected for a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Senior Linnea Hentkowski was 1-for-2 with a run scored in the loss.

“They hit the ball well. Give them credit,” Hurons head coach Karl Grambau said. “We’ve shut teams down all year long. They outhit us today, no doubt about it. They’ve got a great tradition, and so do we. Hopefully we’ll meet again someday.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Kalamazoo Christian’s Sydney Duong makes a throw to first base during her team’s Division 4 Semifinal win Friday. (Middle) USA's Macy Reinhardt circles third base during her team's victory over Rogers City.

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.