By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Farmington Hills Mercy advanced to this spring’s Division 1 Softball Semifinals on the bats of two powerful hitters – one a senior recently recognized as the best in Michigan this season, and the other a junior likely to be a candidate for the same award in 2016.
Alex Sobczak earned the Miss Softball position player award from the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association and finished her fourth and final varsity season with five career totals in the MHSAA record listings – a .524 batting average, 40 doubles, 40 home runs, 210 runs scored and 112 walks. Her 40 home runs are fifth on that career list and include 17 she hit as a sophomore to tie for third on the single-season list for that category. Sobczak, Mercy’s catcher and leadoff hitter, will continue her career at the University of Michigan.
Teammate Abby Krzywiecki finished her third varsity season making the single-season home runs list with 12 and moving up the career list with 28 to tie for 19th with one more spring to play. She’s also in the MHSAA records four times with at least six RBI in a game plus hit three home runs in a game including two straight in a May 16 win over Mattawan. A first baseman, she’s approaching the career records lists in hits, RBI, batting average and doubles, and hit .574 this season.
As a team, Mercy again made MHSAA lists with 28 home runs this season and 254 RBI over 31 games.
Click the “Softball” heading below to see that sport's record listings in full, and read on for more of this week’s additions in baseball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse.
- Montague’s 21-9 finish this season included a handful of performances notable for record book inclusion. Junior Jacob Buchberger hit .583 with 11 triples to make those individual lists, while junior Cameron Brayman also made the triples list with eight – those two played large roles as the team finished with 20 triples to tie for third as a team on the single-season list. Junior pitcher Andrew Bobian joined an elite group, walking only five batters in 61 innings pitched. He finished 5-5 despite a 2.52 ERA.
- Mitchell Weber joined a group of players tied for 12th-most doubles in one season, hitting 21 in 37 games this spring. A senior, Weber hit .505 and will play next spring at Kellogg Community College.
- Kaydon Reimer made the single-season hit-by-pitch list with 15 as a junior for Hale, and finished his career in 2014 having been hit with 35 pitches total over four seasons to rank 11th on that career list.
- Nicholas Lucci continued his climb up the MHSAA career records lists in goals, assists and points with his best season this spring. The Bloomfield Hills junior had 69 goals and 43 assists for a combined 112 points – which tied for ninth on the season points list. He also made the single-game points list with 10 three times and the single-game goals list with eight against Walled Lake Central on March 25. His 221 career points rank 12th with a season to play.
- Amy Longe finished her four-season varsity career at Hartland as one of the leading scorers in MHSAA history and with 12 entries in the record book. She made the single-season goals list for the second time, this time with 80, and moved up to third on the career goals list with 254. She again made the single-season points list with 112 and moved up to fourth on the career list for that category with 319. Teammates Annelise Kulpanowski and Maddie Thornley both also made records listings multiple times for single-game assists and single-game saves, respectively.
- Caledonia as a team and freshman Samantha Gehrls among standouts created plenty of buzz this spring as the team advanced past the regional round for the first time, finishing Division 1 runner-up. Gehrls made the record book with seven RBI in a game against Jenison on April 22, and her 15 home runs on the season tied for eighth all-time. Total, Caledonia hit 49 homers – tied for second most by a team, drove in 322 runs to rank sixth on that list and made the team hits list with 429 over 39 games.
- Hudson’s Shian Beekel finished her career with a power-hitting season this spring for the Tigers, driving 23 doubles, which tied for seventh-most for one season. Beekel hit .494 total and also knocked eight home runs.
- Clinton Township Clintondale set a team record for wins in finishing 21-4, and senior Morgan Duda played a starring role. In addition to posting an 11-2 pitching record, she scored the third-most runs in MHSAA history (79), finished the seventh-longest hitting streak (32 games dating to 2014), made records listings with 19 doubles, 10 home runs, and eight RBI in one game and posted the eighth-highest batting average (.692). She will continue her career at Division II University of Minnesota-Crookston.
- Skylar Reed joined an impressive list of Howard City Tri-County players in the MHSAA records with 16 doubles this season, and Alexis Holappa made the list for RBI in a game for the second time, with six April 1 against Evart. They were joined by an older entry now verified – Theresa Dillon had 102 walks from 1983-86, the eighth most now and third most for a career when she graduated. As a team, Tri-County had 397 hits and 249 RBI this season in finishing 16-22.
PHOTO: Abby Krzywiecki (left) and Alex Sobczak teamed up to lead Mercy to a Division 1 Semifinal against Caledonia in June.
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.