By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The clouds finally began to break last week. And as expected, teams in every spring sport quickly got started catching up on what they'd had to put off most of this month.
Read on for some of the top headlines from all over the state, plus our favorite story – which highlights a pair of officials who will be recognized this weekend for their dedication to high school athletics.
Good Read of the Week
Father/Daughter rule the diamond: Ralph Burr will be among those celebrated by the MHSAA this weekend for 50 years of service as an official. But the past 20 have been his favorite – his daughter and umpiring partner Jackie will be recognized this weekend for her two decades of service. (Muskegon Chronicle).
McClure strikes again: Manchester pitcher Katie McClure moved into ninth in MHSAA history with 511 career strikeouts after totaling 27 more at Saturday’s Concord Invitational. Her team won the event by beating the host 3-1 in the final. (Jackson Citizen-Patriot)
One vs. One: In what has become arguably the best softball rivalry in the state, Stevensville Lakeshore swept Mattawan 4-2 and 9-4 on Thursday in a matchup of top-ranked teams. Lakeshore is ranked No. 2 in Division 2, while Mattawan holds the top spot in Division 1. (St. Joseph Herald-Palladium)
Another Clinton ace: That’s Cami Prater, who has taken over for graduated standout Tierney Nelson and no-hit the No. 5-ranked host at Saturday’s Springport Invitational. Prater hit a home run as Clinton won last season’s Division 3 championship game. (Adrian Daily Telegram)
Snowbirds down No. 1: Gaylord St. Mary scored in the bottom of the seventh inning to upset Division 4 No. 1 Onaway 2-1 a week ago before settling for a hard-earned split. (Gaylord Herald-Times)
“Play Day” perfection: Rockford hosted its fourth “Play Day” on Saturday, and the Division 1 top-ranked Rams finished it with wins over No. 2 Hartland and No. 3 Brighton. Grand Rapids Catholic Central, No. 2 in Division 2, also beat Hartland, along with Troy Athens and Division 2 No. 3 Ann Arbor Pioneer. (Grand Rapids Press)
Upper hand, DCC: Detroit Catholic Central won what is one of the most competitive regular-season events every spring, claiming the Division 1 portion of the Traverse City Central Invitational by edging reigning champion Muskegon Mona Shores. Mona Shores finished third and DCC sixth at last season’s MHSAA Division 1 Final. (Traverse City Record-Eagle)
Long time coming: Gladstone earned its first wins 4-3 and 5-0 over Negaunee on Friday, and those also happen to be the program’s first victories in more than a half century. The Escanaba Daily Press reports this as Gladstone’s first baseball team in 54 years. (Escanaba Daily Press)
East Lansing rises at Dow: East Lansing needed just about every one of its 16 runs over the final two games of Saturday’s Midland Dow Invitational, but came away with the championship after beating Division 3 No. 4 Saginaw Nouvel 8-7 in the final. East Lansing advanced with an 8-6 win over Dow. (Saginaw News)
Weisenberger throws no-no again: Sanford Meridian had three wins after Thursday, and two were no-hitters by pitcher Jonah Weisenberger. He threw his second in that night’s opener against Beaverton. (Midland Daily News)
Portage Northern rallies: The Huskies look like they could be an emerging force again from the Kalamazoo area, and moved to 5-2 by winning their home invitational Saturday. Portage Northern defeated Division 4 No. 2 Gobles in the championship game. (Kalamazoo Gazette)
Track and Field
Hornets buzz: Williamston’s boys, who tied for ninth at last season MHSAA Division 2 Final, won the Spartan Classic at Michigan State University, finishing eight points ahead of Division 1 power Rockford. Reigning Division 1 girls champion Grosse Pointe South won its side of the meet by a much more significant 51 points. (Playmakers.com (full results), Lansing State Journal)
All-Battle Creek is all Lakeview: Battle Creek Lakeview continues to dominate its city’s track and field scene, and again won its all-city meets Friday. The girls won despite not running standout Sarita Dotson, who was out with an injury. (Battle Creek Enquirer).
Stoney Creek celebrates Fisher: A Rochester Hills Stoney Creek football coach remembered Thursday how Eric Fisher was 6-foot-1 and 150 pounds as a high school freshman. That night, Fisher was selected first in the NFL draft out of Central Michigan University by the Kansas City Chiefs. (Detroit News)
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Registration Process - Listen
We talk a lot about the need for registered officials. But how do you sign up? What does it take to become a referee, umpire, or judge?
The steps are simple. Go to MHSAA.com to the “Officials” tab and identify the sport or sports you are interested in. Next, complete the MHSAA Principals of Officiating and the Officials Guidebook Exams.
The Officials Guidebook covers basic elements and procedures for becoming a sports official. This first step of the process covers playing rules, ejection protocols, game assignments, and payment of game fees.
Once you pass the exams, it’s time to connect with a locally-approved officials association. The local associations are the ones that provide the training – whether it’s on the court, on the field, on the mats, or video training – to get that person completely immersed in the rules, mechanics, and coverages of what it takes to become a good official.
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen
(PHOTO by Gary Shook.)