Press Box Player of the Week
By Jerrod Birmele
Jaelyne Galvan, a junior at Hartford High School, is this week’s Press Box Player of the Week.
The spring is still young, but Jaelyne has already been lighting it up on the softball field for the Green and White. In the Lady Indians first four games, which have seen the team start 2-2, she has pounded the ball to the tune of a .462 batting average. That includes six total hits made up of four singles and a pair of doubles.
Jaelyne has also been clutch with runners in scoring position, as she has racked up four RBIs in as many games. She has been as steady as anyone on the defensive side of the ball, making nine putouts in nine attempts. Because of that, she currently carries a team-high 1.000 fielding percentage.
Outside of playing softball, Jaelyne can be found playing sports during both of the other two seasons. In the fall, she can be found bumping, setting and spiking on the volleyball court, serving as one of the team leaders for a Hartford Volleyball program that earned Team Academic All-State honors last season. In the winter, she can be found on the basketball court, and is known best for coming up with clutch baskets from beyond the arc for the Lady Indian Basketball team.
Jaelyne represents the term “student-athlete” well, as she has been featured on the Hartford High School Honor Roll.
Congratulations on this great honor, Jaelyne!
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
The entire sports program at Watervliet Public Schools was on hiatus last week due to the school being closed for spring break. A full schedule for all five spring sports resumed this week with coverage in Watervliet Press Box in the coming weeks.
Preview of 2019 track season
The 2019 Watervliet track season began this week at Panther Stadium when the boys and girls teams hosted Constantine and Lawrence on Wednesday. Results of that meet were not available at press time.
Meanwhile, a busy spring schedule continues as the teams travel to Marcellus on Friday, April 12, and to Hartford on Saturday for a freshman/ sophomore meet. Next week Gobles comes for a Panther Stadium visit on Wednesday April 17. Looking ahead, don’t miss the Watervliet Relays on Friday, April 19.
The track and field team boasts 35 members this year, and should be competitive in all their meets. Leading the way for the boys are the sprinters, with Robert Kraklau, Diego Martinez, Aaron Nave, and Austin Wilmoth running the 100 meter dash. Joining them in the 200 are Saul Bergos, Korben Camp, Logan Geisler, Jarvis Grzanich, Manny Guzman, and Isaiah Yazel. The 400-meter race will be led by Austin Roberts and Don Smith, along with Bergos, Geisler, Martinez, and Austin Wilmoth.
Eleven runners are slated to run the middle distance 800 meter race, including German Casiano, Camdon Geisler, Matthew Hanks, Gus Hinch, Alex Isbrecht, Jimmy Kolosowsky, Jake Kroepel, Trever Pelton, Mason Pennington, Kade Van Neil, and Issa Yamaguchi.
Running the 110 hurdles, as well as the 300 hurdles are Isaac Bultema, Collen Doneruse, and Jarvis Grzanich.
The 1600-meter race includes all the 800 runners plus Kody Edmonds and Ezra Troyer. Most of these runners are also slated to go in the 3200-meter race.
In the field events the pole vaulters include Collen Doneruse, Logan Geisler, and Trever Pelton. Mason Pennington and Kade Van Neil are this year’s high jumpers. In the long jump, look for Isaac Bultema, Robert Kraklau, Aaron Nave, Don Smith, and Austin Wilmoth.
The big guys throwing the shot put and discus include Derrick Burkhardt, Allen Chapin, Nick Orlando, Norberto Palacios, Santi Wilkinson, Isaac Wilmoth, and Jacob Wilmoth.
The girls’ team is smaller and younger than in previous years and each of the girls will be running in plenty of events this season. The 2019 team includes Alissa Abney, Annabel Farlow, Lauren Gustafson, Kayla Hoy, Destiny Kerr, Alyssa Melcher, Jodi Prillwitz, Lunas Ramirez, Brenda Romero, Saara Schaefer, Caley Simmons, Jovanna Solis, Olivia Sutherland, Bailey Swisher, Sophia Tavolacci, Alexa Warren, and Emma Yazel.
Upcoming games for baseball, softball and girls’ soccer
The varsity baseball and softball teams resume play this week with home games against Martin Thursday, April 11 at 4:30 p.m. The JV baseball team is playing at Berrien Springs April 11. The baseball team travels to Bethel College to play Brandywine on Saturday at 10 a.m., and the softball team travels to Dowagiac for games at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.
The two varsity teams play again at home on Monday, April 15 against Kalamazoo Hackett, while the JV teams travel to Hackett for a pair of games each.
The girls’ soccer team travels to Bridgman on Saturday for a match at 10 a.m. They host Fennville at Panther Stadium on Monday, April 15, and then travel to Saugatuck on Wednesday, April 17.
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Like a rocket on the launching pad, Comet spring sports ready to take off!
It seems like a lifetime ago since the basketballs were put away, and the wrestling mats were replaced on the gym floor with the batting cages and indoor pitching mounds. The spring sports teams have made their move to the fields outside several weeks ago, but there has been little competition on them outside of practices and scrimmages. However spring break is now over and full slates of competition on all the athletic fields will finally help usher in our warm weather sports.
Coloma Comet Baseball wins one, loses two at the Coldwater Invitational Tournament
The Coloma Comet baseball team hit the road last week, traveling over to Coldwater, for their annual pre-season baseball tournament. It turned out to be a day worth waiting for as the temperatures hit the mid 60s for the first time in our part of the world.
COLOMA BALLERS CELEBRATE SAC ALL CONFERENCE AWARDS… The Coloma boys’ varsity basketball team celebrated Southwestern Athletic Conference honors recently during the team’s awards banquet. SAC Lakeshore Division winners included (from the left): sophomore Drew Goodline, First Team; senior PJ Caldwell, First Team; senior Zach Goodline, First Team; senior Kenny Crowder, Honorable Mention; and junior Mike Dancer, First Team.
The first game of the day had the Comets facing the home team, Coldwater Cardinals. The game started well for Coloma as they plated a run in each of the first two innings, and after Coldwater scored once in the third, Coloma led 2-1 going into the 5th.
The top of the fifth inning Coloma managed to push five runs across the plate, in spite of getting only one hit. Coldwater was using their third pitcher in the game, and he was having a lot of trouble finding the plate, as he walked five and hit one batter. The Comets took a 7-1 lead. The depth of that lead wouldn’t last long however, as the Cardinal bats started coming alive.
Hunter Crist started on the hill, and picked up the win for Coloma and was hitting his spots and pitching well the first four innings. Hunter started leaving his pitches up a bit in the bottom of the fifth, and Coldwater was able to come up with four runs before Nick Eastman came in to get the final out.
Coloma was still leading by a 7-5 count and then put the game away in the 6th as they scored another three runs, with the highlight of the inning being a perfectly placed suicide squeeze bunt by Kevin Hearn, the Comet first baseman. The game was called by a 2-hour time limit following the 6th inning and Coloma had their first win of the season, 10-6.
The Comets in spite of only five hits, showed great patience at the plate, and the hosts were generous in walking 10 batters, hitting two, and committing six errors.
Ethan Price and Hunter Crist each had two hits for the Comets, as Kevin Hearn added two RBI. Price also scored three times, while Hearn and Dylan Nelson each scored twice. Nathan Wilder had a great game behind the plate, and threw out two runners attempting to steal second base. Crist pitched four and two-thirds innings and gave up four earned runs while striking out six and walking only one.
The second game of the day for Coloma was against Traverse City West, and even though the Comet starting pitcher Ethan Price pitched well, the Comets made three errors in the game that led to four unearned runs for Traverse City. Coloma wound up on the wrong end of a 5-1 score.
Coloma only managed three hits off the TC West pitcher, who went all seven innings. Nathan Wilder had two of those hits, both singles for Coloma. Price pitched 5-1/3 innings and gave up five hits, two walks and struck out three, in taking the loss. Jake Ickes pitched the other two-thirds and gave up one unearned run on one hit and struck out one.
In Coloma’s final game of the day they faced another team from up north in Traverse City St. Francis. This game was the closest game of the day as Coloma lost a heartbreaker by the score of 5-4.
The Comets took a 4-3 lead as they scored two runs in the third inning, and single runs in the fourth and fifth but they finished the game with 11 runners stranded on base. St. Francis scored a run in the sixth to tie and another in the seventh to win, in a game that was close throughout.
GOODLINE WINS JOHNNY COLE AWARD… Senior Zach Goodline received the Johnny Cole Leadership Award during the Coloma varsity basketball awards banquet recently. According to head coach Paul Marfia, the award is presented to a “player that demonstrates positive school spirit, strong leadership qualities on and off the court, along with a tremendous work ethic.” Cole graduated from Coloma High School in 2014, was the school’s prestigious Green & Gold Award winner, and is set to graduate from the University of Michigan this spring.
Leading the Comet hitting attack was Nick Eastman and Isiah Reinhart who each had two hits. Ethan Vandermolen, who is just a freshman, was called on to start and did a fine job pitching three innings. He gave up three runs, but only one was earned, and he struck out one and walked one.
Jake Ickes, another Comet freshman, also pitched three innings, giving up just one run. Hunter Crist pitched the final inning and took the loss.
Coloma Head Coach Kevin VanPeteghem said of Coloma’s long day, “I felt like we pitched well overall, as a staff, and outside of one bad inning in the second game we played well defensively.” Coach V also believes that by facing these high quality teams early in the season, it will pay big dividends down the road.
The Comets faced several excellent pitchers over the course of the day, and they were getting better at recognizing the pitches which is very important. Ethan Price with his all around play in hitting, pitching, and defense, and Nathan Wilder catching all three games were the stand out performers for the Comets.
Comet Soccer girls move to 3-0
The Coloma girls’ soccer team remains undefeated at 3-0, following an 8-0 thrashing of Buchanan on the road. Coloma outshot the lady Bucks by a whopping 25-4, and once again the Comet goalie held the opponent scoreless by stopping those four shots. Cali Grenon scored three times for the Comets, and Samantha Trousdale, Mackenzie Ecker, and Emma Vandermolen each netted two goals.
Please check out the Coloma Comets website for a schedule of upcoming events for all of Coloma athletic teams.
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
Last week, Hartford’s student-athletes spent spring break in a multitude of places – at home, hanging out with their friends, and even on vacation. This meant that no athletic activities occurred, and on normal weeks, this column might be “bare bones”. However, there are some recent awards that have been given out, and with nothing to report this week in the current, look back and take a moment to honor a couple basketball players that made headlines recently statewide. Without further ado, it’s time to open the door to the Press Box and jump right into the highlights of all things Indian Athletics!
Ackerman, Chambers earn basketball All-State honors
Basketball ended just over a month ago, but two Hartford student-athletes were recently honored by the Associated Press as members of the 2018-2019 Michigan High School All-State teams. Seniors Trey Ackerman and Mikenzie Chambers both received Honorable Mention All-State honors by the AP. To make the All-State list, players must be selected and voted on by one of 11 sportswriters statewide.
ACKERMAN NAMED MVP… Senior Trey Ackerman received the Hartford boys’ varsity basketball team’s Most Valuable Player award recently; he averaged 21 points and six rebounds per game. He was also named First Team All-Conference for the Southwest 10.
Ackerman was a dominant force from his shooting guard position for the Indian men this year, in a season which they finished with an 18-4 mark, the schools best record in many years. In 22 starts, Ackerman scored double-digits in all but one game, and that was because he was in foul trouble for much of the night. He scored 20-or-more points in twelve contests, and recorded several double-doubles along the way. Indian fans will not soon forget his 32-point appearance at White Pigeon back in February, which was his season-best performance in a tight Hartford victory. Ackerman finished the season leading the team in scoring, totaling 446 points, which brought him to an average of 20.3 points per game.
LIGHTING UP THE COURT… Elijah Ledesma, a junior, received the Most Improved Player award during the Hartford varsity boys’ basketball awards banquet.
Chambers was also that same dominant force for the Indian women this year, as she had a stellar season down on the low block, despite the roller-coaster that was an 11-10 season for the Lady Indians. Chambers started every game for Hartford this season, and her hard work both during the offseason and during the season paid off in spades. She scored in double figures in 13 of the team’s 21 games, and also posted a career-high eight double-doubles along the way. She scored a season-high 26 points in a victory over Decatur back in December, and put up a memorable 22 rebound effort late in the season against Lawrence. Chambers finished the season scoring 268 total points, which gave her an average of 12.7 points per game. She also averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game this season, as well.
Congratulations to Trey and Mikenzie on your hard-earned and well deserved All-State honors! Look for their plaques to be displayed prominently in the hallways of Hartford High School sometime during the next school year.
Mikenzie Chambers signs with Kalamazoo Valley Community College
To go along with the excitement of receiving her All-State honors, Mikenzie Chambers was just as excited to sign her letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Kalamazoo Valley Community College next year. On Mar. 26, with her parents and teammates looking on in the Hartford High School gymnasium, Mikenzie put pen to paper and officially became a member of the next crop of Cougar Basketball players. She had been under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff at KVCC for some time, and signing with the school was just icing on the cake.
MOST IMPROVED ON THE COURT… Freshman Alexis Snodgrass was named Hartford girls’ varsity basketball’s Most Improved Player at the team’s recent awards banquet.
Despite her accolades on the court, Mikenzie was quick to shun the attention away from her, and direct it towards the people who have supported her along the way. She was quick to thank her parents and extended family for all of their support throughout her high school journey. They have traveled to almost every single contest throughout her high school athletic career, whether it was home or away.
Mikenzie also thanked her coaches at Hartford High School, Kailee and Neil Friday, for making her high school basketball playing career fun, being there for her through it all and allowing her the opportunity to have the time of her life. She also singled out another coach, Alton Tucker, who runs the Attack Basketball program. He has been her coach and teacher during the offseason, and has pushed her to reach her fullest potential.
CHAMBERS WINS TEAM MVP… The girls’ varsity basketball team at Hartford recently heralded senior Mikenzie Chambers as team Most Valuable Player.
This past season, the Lady Cougar Basketball team finished with a 13-16 record, and posted a 6-12 mark in conference play. However, the team will be returning all but three players, so the Lady Cougars will be much more experienced and have the potential to make a run at far bigger heights next winter.
Congratulations, Mikenzie, on your signing and all the best in your collegiate academic and athletic career!
GRAPPLER GETS MVP… Hartford junior James Terry received the team’s Most Valuable Player award for his efforts during this season’s varsity wrestling season.
HARTFORD HARDWARE FOR RUXLUR… Gus Ruxlur earned the Most Improved Player award this season from the Hartford varsity wrestling team.