03-22-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

Gerald Barchett brings long history to Watervliet’s Hall of Fame

Recently, Watervliet High School inducted 10 members into its inaugural Hall of Fame class. Over the next few weeks, each Hall of Fame member will be introduced here in the pages of the Tri-City Record. Local sports fans may know the inductee very well. To others, they might not be well recognized. But, for every person who knows, supports, or plays sports, those readers will recognize the great commitment, effort, and love of the game put forth by each and every honored member of the Class of 2018.

Gerald Barchett has a rich history with Watervliet, its school, and the students.

He coached varsity football from 1962 until 1982, except for 1977. As head coach, his teams held a 133-45-2 record.

His squads hoisted trophies for 10 conference championships and went undefeated in 1964, 1968, 1979, and 1981.

In 1962, his first year at the helm of the Panthers, Coach Barchett led Watervliet to a 5-2 winning season.

In 1979, Barchett was named Class C Coach of the Year and Coach of the Year for Berrien County.   He has been inducted into the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

In 1974, Barchett had eight consecutive winning seasons on the gridiron.

Barchett led Watervliet to the Class C state championship at the Pontiac Silverdome where the team finished in the runner-up spot.

In 1982, Barchett led Watervliet to a number three ranking in the state.

But, Barchett’s impact was felt far beyond the football field. The coach became the high school athletic director. As the AD, Barchett offered his insight into the renovation and creation of the high school gym, football stadium, softball and baseball fields, and the area’s first all-weather track.

Coach Barchett was first and foremost on the minds of the Hall of Fame selection committee.  In addition to teaching young men to drive downfield, he also taught the school’s driver’s education class.

After reading about his records, the articles in the Watervliet Record, and his impact throughout the community, it might surprise you to know that one of Coach Barchett’s most memorable moments wasn’t one of his best.

“I will always be thankful for the opportunity at age 23 to coach and teach Watervliet for over 20 years. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to have many great [athletes] and young men to coach.

“The fourth year may have been the most important. It was the only losing season, and we did not win a game.  We never gave up and kept trying.  We came back to the school after losing our last game and the band was playing and the Watervliet mayor made a speech on how proud he was of [the players] and the players were crying. It had a great positive effect as we never had another losing season.”

As for his induction into the Hall of Fame, Barchett remained a man of few words. “The Hall of Fame program was extremely well done and will have a positive effect on the Watervliet athletic program for years to come.  I am very thankful to have been selected to be a member of the first class.”

Coloma baseball hosts meet and greet and silent auction

Coloma baseball is teaming up with Modern Woodmen of America Chapter 901 in an all-out team effort to raise money for its program. Join the squad Saturday, March 24 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to meet the team and participate in a silent auction.

The event will be held at the Coloma High School gym, and proceeds raised will benefit the program in terms of new uniforms and new equipment.

Coaches and players will be introduced, and plenty of spirit items will be up for bid.

Coloma’s varsity baseball season swings into 2018 with a double header home opener Tuesday, March 27 against Dowagiac.

Notably, the Comets are hosts for this year’s district tourney.  Teams from Bangor, Bloomingdale, Gobles, and Hartford will join the Comets in district play beginning Tuesday, May 29.

Racers (sham)rocked their way around Coloma Saturday

READY, SET, GO… More than 200 honorary Irishmen participated in Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K Walk/Run. The event started at the Coloma Township Hall and followed a scenic route.                        (TCR photo by Lynn Attila)

Athletes of all ages came together Saturday morning for the third annual St. Patrick’s 5K walk and run in Coloma hosted by the SWMI RACERS.

Participants started and ended the 5K walk, 5K run, and one-mile fun run from Coloma Township Hall. Trekkers had a scenic 3.1 mile route to cover as they raced down Wil ‘O Paw Drive to Paw Paw Avenue, along Curtis Drive, out to two islands, and back to the township hall.

According to mapmyrun.com, the course featured a maximum elevation of 686.45 feet with a total ascent of 108.4 feet.

You could say the St. Patrick’s Day race, which is part of the city’s day-long festivities, has gone to the dogs. This year, dogs were allowed to participate in the race. It was very apropos as Paws for a Cause was one of the recipients of event’s proceeds. The other was HOPE Resources.

FAMILY FUN… Entire families dressed in Irish garb to walk or run in Saturday’s St. Patrick’s 5K race. Pictured here (from the left) are: Randy Frank Jr., Randy Frank holding 7-month-old Jace Frank and Deb Frank. (TCR photo by Lynn Attila)

The first overall and top male finisher in the chip-time 5K run was Boden Genovese, 11, of Coloma.  He completed the course with a time of 19:55.95. Second place went to South Haven’s Gary Haga with a time of 20:10.04.  Nick Bettes’s time of 20:55.73 earned the South Haven resident a third-place finish.

Boden’s sister Ava Genovese, 13, was the first female finisher. Ava was 15th overall with a time of 24:31.79 as she led the ladies across the finish line.

Morgan Paulsen, 34, of Fremont, claimed second place for the women with her time of 25:16.93. Coloma’s McKinleigh Kraemer, 12, took third with a time of 25:23.65.

One hundred-twenty-two participants ran in the 5K. There were 42 walkers.

Pam Behm, 57, of Niles, led the walkers with a first-place time of 39:46.  She was followed by the first male finisher Hartford’s Ron Dixon. Dixon, 61, turned in a time of 39:54.

Kelly Depumpo of Baroda was the second female finisher; she completed the walk with a time of 40:39. Coloma’s Gwen Doneruse, 49, took third with a time of 40:57.

TOP WINNERS of Coloma’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Walk (from the left) Top Walkers: Ron Dixon, Hartford; Pam Behm, Niles; Top Runners: Boden Genovese and Ava Genovese. The brother/sister team from Coloma competed in the under 14 age group. (TCR photo by Lynn Attila)

Kevin Wakeman, 54, of Tinley Park, Illinois finished second for the men; he posted a time of 48:53. Third place went to Sean Juza, 49, of St. Joseph. Juza turned in a 50:14 performance time.

If you missed your chance to put your feet to the street for St. Patrick’s Day 5K event, another opportunity is looming.

Sarett Nature Center’s Spring Stampede will be held in just over two weeks.  The 5K trail run registration is open now. Get additional details at sarett.com.

Spring sports on the schedule for softball and baseball

Spring softball and baseball seasons officially begin next week, although softball teams are getting in some scrimmages this week. All three schools will get the chance to throw some pitches and swing the bat before spring breaks for the schools clear the fields.

SPRING SPORTS STEP UP TO THE PLATE… Hartford pitcher Lainey Goodson lets the ball rip Monday night in the fourth inning of the first of two games at home against Dowagiac. The two teams scrimmaged before the season officially kicks off next week. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hartford baseball will take the field Thursday, March 29 against Red Arrow Highway rival Watervliet.  Double header action kicks off at 1:00 p.m. and then again at 3:00 p.m. so mark your calendars now.

Coloma opens their season Tuesday, March 27 at home against Dowagiac. First pitch of game one of the double header is 4:15 p.m.

Watervliet softball will face off against Hartford Thursday, March 29 in Indian territory. These two games are also early, so pencil in the 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. starts.

Coloma softball welcomes Hartford to town Tuesday, March 27.  The scrimmage begins at 4:15 p.m. The Comets then head to Buchanan April 10.

Softball districts begin May 29 with Coloma hosting Division 3 play. Watervliet and Hartford will compete alongside the Comets.

Watervliet Rec sets pre-season tourney dates

Watervliet Rec Council has announced the dates for its pre-season baseball and softball tournaments.

The boys’ rec teams will hit the Hays Park fields in Watervliet April 21 through 23 and April 28 through 30.

The girls will get their turn at bat May 4 through the 6th and May 11 through the 13th.

Hays Park is located just north of the City of Watervliet at 700 North Main Street.

CYBSA sets baseball and softball tourney schedules

The Coloma Youth Baseball/Softball Association (CYBSA) will host two tournaments this spring and summer.

The Coloma Baseball Memorial Day Madness will be held May 25 through May 27.  The tournament will feature night games under the lights!

The Coloma Girls All-Stars tournament is scheduled for June 15 through June 18.

The association is also seeking volunteers for its annual Field Day. If you are available to lend a hand as the fields are spruced up in time for play, the folks in charge could use a hand – or two. The field is located at the corner of Coloma North Road and East Becht Road in Coloma.

Girls’ soccer makes its debut

The girls’ varsity soccer season begins Tuesday, March 27 for all three local schools. Game times are set for 5:00 p.m.

Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Coloma squad will travel to New Buffalo for a 5:00 p.m. game time.

Southwest 10 conference member Hartford opens their season on the road at LMC.

Watervliet, a member of the SAC, starts the season with a home opener against Covert.

Division 3 district competition for Coloma will be held in Buchanan, while Hartford hosts Division 4 action.  Watervliet will participate in Division 4 tournament play at LMC. District games begin May 28.

MTJ starts and ends Auto Club 400 in first place One might be the loneliest number, but Martin Truex Jr. probably doesn’t mind. Last year’s NASCAR Cup champion earned his first victory of the 2018 season at Fontana in Sunday’s Auto Club 400. Not only did Truex Jr. finish the race in first place, he started the race from the pole position and earned wins in both Stage 1 and Stage 2. Truex Jr.’s performance Sunday harkened his epic 2017 championship win; he dominated every aspect of the race. With the victory, Truex Jr. earned his 16th career win. He led 125 of the race’s 200 laps. As he headed over the finish line, Truex Jr. had almost a 12-second lead over his closest competitor. Dominating doesn’t begin to cover Truex Jr.’s driving ability on Sunday. Trailing behind Truex Jr. – way behind – was second place Kyle Larson. Another Kyle (Busch) finished in third place. Busch led 62 laps. Brad Keselowski picked his second top five finish of the season as he rolled into fourth place. Joey Logano rounded out the top five after he captured his fourth top 10 finish of the season; he led nine laps. The Auto Club 400 marked the fifth race in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Ten drivers finished the race on the lead lap. The race featured five caution periods for 21 laps. There were 16 lead changes during the event. Drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five included: Denny Hamlin (1), rookie William Byron (1), Jamie McMurray (1), and Kasey Kahne (1). Truex Jr. takes over the top spot in the driver standings. Busch trails in second place, just nine points back. Logano is in third, 19 points out of the number one position. After three weeks out west, the teams packed up and headed east to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s STP 500. Brad Keselowski was last spring’s winner at the track. Can he improve on his fourth place finish this week and nab the checkered flag?


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