By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Michigan has a new softball career home run leader.
Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard’s Julia Kennedy hit 22 this spring – tied for third most in a season – to finish her four-year career with 55 homers over 125 games. That’s one more home run than Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse’s Brooke Nadolny, who will enter her senior season in 2019 with 54.
Kennedy also was added for 18 doubles this season, and freshman teammate Savannah Wing made that list with 22. Kennedy will continue her career at Miami University of Ohio.
See below for more recent record book entries in softball and football, and click the headings to see those record books in full.
A handful of teams made the move from 11 to 8-player football for the 2009 season, making Nick Zaleski’s performance of Oct. 10 of that season one the earliest to grab headlines in the new format. Zaleski scored 11 touchdowns – nine rushing and two on kickoff returns – to lead Owendale-Gagetown to a 90-52 win over Posen. He also gained 431 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Grant Dittmer grabbed four interceptions in an Oct. 23, 2015, win over Mesick to help Bay City All Saints clinch its first playoff berth at the time since 2010. Those interceptions are tied for fourth most in one game (three players grabbed five in a game).
Auburn Hills Avondale enjoyed three highlight-reel returns that made the MHSAA records in 2017. Derrick Hinton Jr. produced two of them – a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown against Troy on Aug. 24 and a 97-yard punt return touchdown against Macomb Lutheran North on Oct. 20. Zeke Ringstaff also added to the scoring in that Week 9 win over Lutheran North that put Avondale into the playoffs – he brought back a fumble 100 yards for a score. Hinton’s kickoff return and Ringstaff’s return tied MHSAA records. Both are seniors this fall.
Anna Dixon closed her Farmington Hills Mercy career this spring on career lists with 177 runs, 226 hits and 42 doubles. She also made the hitting streak list with at least one in 33 straight games from May 12, 2017, through May 5 of this spring. Dixon will continue her career at Hillsdale College.
Pinckney’s Elizabeth Kramer hit her way nearly to the top of one of the longest category lists for any sport in the MHSAA record book, knocking 28 doubles as a sophomore in 2017. That total ranks third all-time for one season. Kramer is a senior this fall.
Brownstown Woodhaven’s Alyssa Harris capped her four-year varsity career this spring with 46 doubles, 27 homers and 150 RBI over 137 games. She’s continuing her career at University of Findlay.
Tessa Nuss’ junior season for Lake Orion was one of the most impressive in MHSAA history. She hit .654 this spring with 89 hits and 79 runs scored – the hits were the fourth most all-time and the runs tied for sixth most in one season. Nuss will sign with Binghamton University in New York.
Faith Howe capped her four-year Beaverton career this spring on the strikeouts list with 1,037, which included a career-high 397 in 2017 when she went 34-4. Teammate Ann-Marie Hicks was added for 42 career doubles over her four-year run with the Beavers, and senior Amaya Ware was added for six RBI in a game this April against Breckenridge. Howe also was added for three homers – including two consecutive – against Pinconning in May. Beaverton made team record lists going 38-4 in 2017 with 68 doubles, 250 RBI and 432 pitching strikeouts. Howe is continuing her career at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, and Hicks will continue at St. Clair County Community College.
Averi Munro completed an incredible four-year career in 2016 among the MHSAA’s best all-time in a number of categories. The Morrice standout earned 25 record book entries. Her 81 runs scored in 2015 rank fourth, her 266 career runs are third, her 271 career hits are tied for fifth, her 67 career doubles rank eighth, her 93 RBI in 2016 came in fourth, while her 287 career RBI are second most and her .630 career batting average ranks fourth as well. She continuing her career at Alma College.
PHOTO: Gabriel Richard’s Julia Kennedy powers through a pitch this spring. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard softball program.)
Jada Bolhuis finished up her Otsego softball career this spring all over the MHSAA record book – and despite playing only three seasons because 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19.
Bolhuis owns 12 entries in the MHSAA record book including for 228 career runs (16th all-time), 230 career hits and a .622 career batting (sixth all-time) over 112 games and three varsity seasons.
She also made the hitting streak list twice, with a run of 44 straight games with a hit from April of her freshman year until the end of April of her junior season, and for a 33-game hitting streak during her junior and senior springs. The 44-game streak is the second-longest in MHSAA history.
Bolhuis also is a track sprinter and is slated to run at University of Tampa.
We’re continuing to catch up on adding record book listings. See below for more of the most recent added for softball.
Richland Gull Lake’s Savanna Disbrow had a par of significant run-producing games over the course of two weeks in May 2021. She drove in seven runs against Mattawan that May 5, then eight in a win over Delton Kellogg on May 20. She played this past season at Bemidji State in Minnesota.
Gabby Schloop put up a senior season to remember for Midland in 2021, posting the fifth-most runs scored (83) and tying for the fifth-most doubles (27) in MHSAA history, while also making the single-season hits list with 70 and career doubles list with 49 over three seasons. Taylor Sanborn also made the single-season hits list in 2021 as a senior, and also with 70. Sanborn continued her career at Calvin University, and Schloop at Northwood.
Maddisyn Miller also was added for RBI in a single game, driving in seven May 12, 2021, for Ovid-Elsie against Laingsburg. She is a junior this fall.
Rochester Adams earned its first softball record book entries in 2021. Then-junior Sabrina Lee was added for getting hit by 17 pitches over 34 games. Teammate Elizabeth Blaine, a senior that season, hit home runs in consecutive at bats, both in the second inning, of a game against Auburn Hills Avondale.
Potent offense helped drive Grandville to a 31-5 finish in 2019, with a number of top hitters in the record book. As a team, the Bulldogs are listed for 399 hits, 76 doubles, 34 home runs and 292 RBI that season. Then-senior Taylor Buiter was added for 10 home runs, including a pair in consecutive at bats, and then-junior Maddi Ungrey was added for three home runs in the same game all in consecutive at bats as well. Then-senior Lexi Dukesherer became the first player listed for being hit by a pitch twice in the same inning, and she also made the single-game list in that category for three. Additionally, former Grandville standout Carrie Mesman was added for her 17 doubles in 2015. Mesman went on to play at Aquinas College, and Buiter played at Ferris State.
Bath’s Bailee Buck has become the first entry for career times hit by pitches, as she totaled 30 over 99 games from 2017-19 (with her senior season of 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). She also made the single-game list with three HBPs as a junior. Teammate Ally Estrada was added twice for hitting consecutive home runs, five days apart during the 2019 season, and also for driving in seven runs in the first of those games May 18, 2019, against Algonac. Estrada graduated this spring.
Grosse Pointe South’s Shannon Dame became the second player added to the single-season hit-by-pitch list. She was hit by 20 pitches during the 2021 season, when she was a junior.
A trio of New Lothrop hitters were added for hitting during the 2021 spring, led by then-junior Jersey Hemgesberg who was added for 73 hits, 25 doubles and 12 home runs over 38 games – with the 25 doubles tying for seventh-most in MHSAA history. Additionally, Brynne Birchmeier was added for 20 doubles and Marissa Rombach for 17. Both are juniors this fall.
Bloomfield Hills sophomore Hannah Grant made the single-game lists for home runs and RBI during a win over Berkley on April 7. She had three homers and six RBI in the 9-7 win; the three homers tied for second-most in one contest.
Buchanan sophomore Hailee Kara also joined the single-game RBI list with nine during a 19-7 win over Vicksburg on April 21. The nine RBI tied for seventh-most in one contest.
PHOTO Jada Bolhuis makes a throw to first base during Otsego’s District Final win over South Haven this spring. (Photo by Gary Shook.)