By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The Farmington Hills Mercy softball team enjoyed one of the winningest seasons in MHSAA history this spring bolstered by one of most accomplished hitters ever to step into the batter’s box in this state.
The Marlins finished 43-2 – tying for third-most wins in a season – and won their first MHSAA title, clinching in Division 1. Meanwhile, senior Abby Krzywiecki hit a single-season record 20 home runs to go with 18 more listings in the MHSAA record book as she finished her high school career.
Her 82 runs this spring are tied for eighth-most, her 48 career home runs are second on that list, her 94 RBI this season sit third most and her 238 career RBI place second on that list. She was named Miss Softball as the top position player in 2016 and will continue her career at South Alabama.
Two teammates also made the MHSAA records this spring; junior Sophie Van Acker with 82 hits and sophomore Anna Dixon with 72. The team’s 510 hits were second-most in MHSAA history and only two off the record.
Click to see where all three rank in the MHSAA softball record book, and see below for other recent additions in softball, baseball, girls soccer and boys lacrosse. (Click on the sport heading to see those record books in full.)
Traverse City West celebrated its most successful season this spring, including its first trip to the MHSAA Semifinals, and tied for seventh-most wins in a season in MHSAA history with a final 41-3 record. The Titans also made the team record lists with 431 hits, 427 runs, 361 RBI and a .369 team average, and their 70 times hit by pitch were second-most for one season. Individually, senior Alex Strickland was added for 74 RBI this spring and senior Nick Brzezinski for 73 hits, 68 runs and eight triples. Brzezinski will continue at Aquinas College this fall.
Austin Putman earned two record book entries with three home runs against Suttons Bay on May 12. The Charlevoix senior not only made the list for most homers in one game, but also for most in consecutive at bats tying for eighth on that list by hitting them in three straight plate appearances as his team won 7-4.
Dearborn Fordson senior Hassan Jaafar made his way around the bases quite a bit during a 13-12 win over Dearborn Henry Ford Academy on April 13. Jaafar stole seven bases, tying for second most in one game and ending up just one shy of tying the MHSAA record.
Detroit Country Day’s back-to-back MHSAA Semifinal runs the last two seasons were led by a foursome of standouts who are now all over the MHSAA record book for the sport. Emilio Sosa graduated in 2015 and now has five entries including 181 goals, seventh most. Cooper Belanger was a senior this spring and is listed 10 times, most notably for 317 career points, which rank sixth on that list, and 149 career assists, which rank fourth. David Pohl’s three entries before graduating in 2015 included tying for second-most assists in a game, nine, against East Grand Rapids his senior season, and 116 career assists that tie for eighth. And goalie Jackson White finished up this spring with 11 entries including four seasons on the single-season saves list – his 257 in 2015 rank second – and 872 career saves, which also rank second. Sosa played this spring at Kenyon College in Ohio, and Belanger is slated to begin his collegiate career this fall at Colgate in New York.
New Baltimore Anchor Bay’s William Moses joined the single-game scoring list in April. The recent graduate netted eight goals in a 16-1 win over Warren Mott to break his school’s record by two goals.
Fenton goalkeeper Abby Quesnelle earned her second entry for shutouts in one season with 13 this spring as a junior in 24 games to go with 15 shutouts as a sophomore in 2015. Fenton reached the Regional Final in Division 2 before falling to eventual MHSAA champion Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
Her team may have fallen 3-0, but Jennifer Gutierrez did her part to keep Caro close to Millington on May 4. The recently-graduated keeper had an MHSAA record 50 saves for the Tigers as the Cardinals put 53 shots on goal.
Lauren Kanai was perfect in her team’s 17-0 five-inning win over Greenville on May 19 – the Ada Forest Hills Eastern junior pitcher tossed the perfect game in part by striking out 14 of 15 batters faced to make the MHSAA list for most strikeouts in a five-inning game. She also had two RBI.
Howell’s Veronica Pezzoni is a perfect 75 of 75 on stolen base attempts over the last two seasons, good for the fourth-longest streak in MHSAA history. The senior-to-be needs only 25 more without getting caught to set the MHSAA record. Junior teammate Jordan Humitz also made the MHSAA records with 13 home runs this spring. Howell as a team made lists in multiple categories over the last two seasons – with 454 hits, 93 doubles, 339 RBI and a .400 team batting average in 2015 when it finished 32-9-1; and for 493 hits, 93 doubles, a .415 average and 330 RBI this spring in finishing 30-11.
PHOTO: Farmington Hills Mercy's Abby Krzywiecki steps in against Macomb Dakota during this spring's Division 1 Final.
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.