05-11-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

From polesitter to race champion

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a race to remember Sunday in the GEICO 500. The Monster Energy Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway featured a little bit of everything – 14 drivers led at least one circuit, a huge accident on lap 168 forced the race into overtime, and a red flag race stoppage, courtesy of a huge mess of sheet metal.

Stenhouse Jr., though, seemed to lead a charmed race. He began the event from the pole position, avoided the huge wreck, and led 14 laps before claiming the checkered flag in the 10th race of the 2017 NASCAR season. The win was also Stenhouse Jr.’s first career victory.

Jamie McMurray finished in second place and earned his first top five of the season. McMurray last won a race in 2013.

Kyle Busch, who battled for the lead late in the race, took third and notched his third top five finish this year. Busch led 48 laps.

Aric Almirola finished third. Almirola has one career victory, which he scored in 2014. He earned his second top five finish of the season on Sunday.

Kasey Kahne took fifth place. He, too, has two top five finishes this season.

The nearly 30-minute red flag stoppage occurred on lap 168. A total of 18 cars were involved in the melee that ended with AJ Allmendinger’s race car upside down on the track.

With no major injuries from the dustup, there continues to be something said for the safety equipment each car has in place.

Out of the 40 competitors on the track 23 finished on the lead lap; drivers who did not finish in the top five but led laps included: Paul Menard (1), Ryan Newman (2), Elliott Sadler (2), Jimmie Johnson (3), Ty Dillon (3), Matt Kenseth (4), Trevor Bayne (5), Clint Bowyer (10), Joey Logano (10), Kevin Harvick (15), Brad Keselowski (31), and Denny Hamlin (43).

Kyle Larson leads the driver standings not quite one-third of the way through the season. Martin Truex Jr. trails Larson by 54 points. Keselowski is in third place, back 61 points.  Chase Elliott is 75 points behind the leader. Joey Logano and McMurray are tied for fifth place. They are 110 points out of first place.

The drivers are now at Kansas Speedway for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400. The night race features 267 hard-charging laps for the fearless drivers. You can bet the drivers’ number one fan – their mothers – will be cheering for their son’s victory. To all the moms out there, including my very own, Happy Mom’s Day!

Wins on the diamond at host Hartford go to Watervliet

 Hartford softball hosted Watervliet in Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division action Wednesday, May 3. Watervliet walked away with two wins.

In the first game, Watervliet topped Hartford 9-6.

Watervliet blasted their way to a 5-1 lead after the first inning. The Indians scored two runs in the third inning and three in the sixth and held Watervliet scoreless to take a 6-5 lead into the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, however, the Panthers mounted a rally and scored four runs for the 9-6 win.

Ariana Rowe pitched for Watervliet. She allowed six runs on nine hits and struck out five. Rowe collected her eighth win of the season.

Celina Klimkiewicz and Taylor Shafer each hit two singles and scored three runs for Watervliet. Kara Liles smacked a double, while Rowe hit two singles.

Top hitters for Hartford in game one were Mikenzie Chambers who cranked out a triple, while Madison Birmele, Amara Wesaw, Cora Wesaw, and Regan Sinclair had multiple hits in the game.

In the second game, Watervliet led early and stayed in control of the game. The balanced effort between offense and defense proved to be tough to beat, and the Panthers posted the 9-3 win.

Watervliet scored one run in the third and one in the fourth before adding five runs in the fifth inning. A two-run sixth inning, courtesy of back-to-back home runs by Kara Liles and Mercede Daugherty, proved to be all the run required for the win.

While the Watervliet bats were hot, Hartford was stymied at the plate. The squad was held scoreless until the sixth inning where they scored three runs.

Hartford’s three runs came off seven hits. Sinclair led the Indians with two RBIs.

LOPEZ LOCKS ON… Hart-ford’s Abigail Lopez is locked on the soccer ball as Coloma’s Hannah Guntz moves in for the steal. The Southwestern Athlet-ic Conference – Lakeshore Di-vision rivals took to the field Wednesday, May 3. The visiting Indians topped the Comets 2-1. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Watervliet’s nine runs were courtesy of 15 Panther hits. Daugherty hit two singles and a home run – her seventh this season – and scored two runs. Liles had a single, homerun, and one RBI.

Jaelyn Pitre hit a single, triple, and scored three runs, while Ariana Rowe scored one run and hit one single.

Liles took the mound for Watervliet. She pitched seven innings in her sixth win of the season. She allowed three runs on two hits and struck out four.

Comets trail Indians 2-1 on soccer field

 The Hartford Indians traveled to Coloma for Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division action Wednesday, May 3. The visiting Indians defeated Coloma 2-1.

Abigail Lopez scored two goals for Hartford, with Olivia Ziemer getting credit for one assist.

Coloma’s lone goal was scored by Grace Gagliardo.

Sarah Barajas recorded 15 saves in goal as keeper for the Indians.  Emma Watson was keeper for Coloma; she recorded six saves.

The Comets had 26 shots on goal compared to seven by Hartford. The Indians were called for fouls 17 times, while Coloma was only whistled twice.

Watervliet baseball scores two wins over Hartford

 Watervliet baseball belted and pitched their way to two victories in Hartford Wednesday, May 3. In the first contest, Watervliet shut out the Indians 12-0. In the late game, the two teams battled to a 3-2 Watervliet win.

Game one found Watervliet’s bats on fire. The squad scored two runs to open the first inning. They added three in the third, one in the fourth, and three in the sixth and seventh innings. Their 12 runs came off 14 hits.

Garrett Matthew, Zack Pickens and Bryant Kieft led Watervliet at the plate as each hit a double and single.

Hartford was unable to come up with much offense. The Indians had one hit in the game.

Matthew of Watervliet got the win after pitching the one hit shutout. He struck out 13 batters.

In the second game, both teams’ pitchers went to work. Luke Manning of Hartford and Jakob Aldrich of Watervliet squared off on the rubber. Aldrich got the 3-2 win for Watervliet, with Ryan Chisek picking up the save.  The Watervliet pitchers allowed two runs on eight hits.

Manning pitched a complete game for Hartford. He allowed three runs on four hits.

The Panthers drew first blood as they scored one run in the second inning and one run in the third. Hartford got on the scoreboard with one run in the third inning.

Watervliet added a third run in the fifth. Hartford attempted a rally in the seventh inning but fell short after they scored only one run.

Aldrich, Kieft, Cam Rendo, and Matthews each hit one single for Watervliet.

Hartford was led at the plate by Jared Henslee, Jake Griffith, and Mike Boyd with two hits each.  Manning and Garrod Johnson had RBI hits in the contest.

STRONG… Coloma’s Jonah Jones gets ready to send the dis-cus flying during Friday’s Ben-ton Harbor Rotary meet. Jones set a new personal record in the discus with his throw of 135’ 3.5”. Jones took third in the event. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Hartford and Coloma superstars fare well at Benton Harbor Rotary meet

 The track and field talent was deep Friday, May 5 as Benton Harbor High School hosted the 60th annual Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Rotary meet. Seventeen schools in three divisions were represented including: Benton Harbor, Dowagiac, Niles, Paw Paw, St. Joseph, Lakeshore, Berrien Springs, Bridgman, Buchanan, Coloma, Brandywine, Watervliet, Cassopolis, Eau Claire, New Buffalo, Lake Michigan Catholic, and Three Oaks-River Valley.

Watervliet’s Jade Miller set a personal record in the 400 meters where she took fifth place with a time of 1:06.61.

Teammate Allie Pazera finished sixth in the 800 meters (2:45.31). Pazera also took fifth place in the 1600 meters (6:00.71).

The 4×400 meter relay team of Stephanie Cox, Miller, Pazera, and Caley Simmons gave Watervliet a fifth place finish (4:50.93).

Karli McClendon tossed her way to a bronze in the discus. Her throw traveled 96’ 11” for third place.

Stephanie Cox set a new personal record in the pole vault. The Panther notched a 7’0” finish for fifth place.

Coloma’s Derek Plitt continues to blaze around the track. He set a new personal record with a time of 11.42 seconds in the 100 meter dash and won a bronze medal.

Plitt continued his fast pace by scoring another bronze in the 200 meters (23.75 seconds). Watervliet’s Lamarrius Smith took fourth place, just eight-tenths of a second behind Plitt (23.83).

Coloma’s Josh Young grabbed gold in the 400 meters. His effort of 51.71 seconds also earned him a new personal record.

Teammate Caleb Ellis finished fifth (53.72) and also set a new PR.

Smith finished sixth in the 400 with a time of 53.90, also a new PR.

In the 800 meters, Watervliet’s Jobe Kerr took third place with a time of 2:04.85. Kerr also claimed fourth place in the 1600 meters. His time was 4:41.85.

Coloma’s Brandon Bower leapt his way to first place in the 300 meter hurdles. He finished with a time of 42.54 seconds.

Watervliet’s Haydon Richards took sixth in the 300 meter hurdles (44.61 seconds).

Coloma’s relay team of Bower, Ellis, Kobe Hunter, and Young took gold in the 4×400 meter relay. Their combined time was 3:33.06.

Ellis, Michael Dancer, Plitt, and Young teamed up in the 4×200 meter relay and won silver with a time of 1:34.52.

Jonah Jones threw the shot put 42’ 2”, a new PR, for sixth place. He also set a new PR in the discus. He threw the discus 135’ 3.5” for third place.

Watervliet’s Smith finished second in the high jump at 5’ 11”. Smith also took gold in the long jump. His 20’ 2” effort resulted in the top spot at the relay.

Watervliet’s Klayton Marshall leapt into sixth place by clearing 10’ in the pole vault.

SWIFT KICK… Victoria Smith of Watervliet’s varsity soccer squad gives the ball a swift kick Wednesday evening, May 3 as the Panthers hosted Saugatuck. Watervliet won 5-4 in the second overtime period. Smith had two goals and three assists. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Lopez scores goal in 3-1 loss to Bangor

 The Indians headed into Viking territory Monday, May 1 for a matchup against Bangor. Hartford lost the battle 3-1.

Abigail Lopez scored Hartford’s single goal in the second half. Sylvia Perry and Sarah Barajas were in the net for Hartford and recorded six saves apiece.

Bangor scored their three goals in the first period and was held scoreless in the second half of the game.

Coloma softball 6-1 for the week

Coloma softball posted a 6-1 record for the week including two shutouts, while remaining undefeated in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division.

On Monday, May 1, the Comets faced Kalamazoo Christian and won 10-0 and 10-1.

In the first outing, Coloma scored 10 runs on 16 hits. Mya Potter had two doubles and a single.  Alyssa Dillenbeck blasted a homerun and scored two runs. Megan Koenigshof, Nicolle Larson, and Skylar Crisenbery hit two singles apiece. Morgan Wagner hit a single and double for the Comets.

Crisenbery picked up her eighth win for Coloma. She did not allow a hit in the four innings she pitched.

Coloma’s squad put forth a similar effort in game two. Coloma limited Kalamazoo to just one run, which was scored in the fourth inning.

Coloma, meanwhile, continued to take charge at the plate. The Comets scored two runs in the first inning, four in the second, and two more in the fourth and fifth innings. The Comets’ 10 runs came off 14 hits, including three singles and two RBIs by Kayla Yore.

Wagner and Larson both hit a single and double and scored one run. Jaidyn Hutsell had singles and two RBIs. Koenigshof hit two singles.

Crisenbery earned her ninth win.

On Thursday, May 4, the Comets traveled to Fennville and took two from the Blackhawks.

The early contest found Coloma in control yet again as Crisenbery pitched a one-hitter. She struck out nine and walked three.

Fennville’s lone run came in the third inning.

Coloma led 2-0 after the first, 6-0 after the second, and 10-1 after the third on their way to the 17-1 victory.

Koenigshof hit five singles and scored three runs. Yore cranked out three singles and a double with five RBIs. Larson hit two singles with four RBI, and Hutsell stroked two singles with three runs batted in. Dillenbeck had a single and double.

In the second game, Hutsell proved to be the star of the show. She pitched a perfect game; she did not allow a hit or walk over the six innings of play. Hutsell struck out 13 of the 18 batters she faced.  She also hit three doubles for Coloma and scored three runs.

Jenna Walter hit two doubles and scored three runs for the Comets. Crisenbery scored three runs and hit two singles. Dillenbeck hit two singles and a double, and Larson had a single and double.

Saturday, May 6 found the Comet squad participating in the Lakeshore tournament. The Comets went 2-1.

WATERVLIET MINORS ARE #1… The Watervliet Minors baseball team took first place in the Watervliet pre-season tourney. Team members include (from the left): Back row – Coach Jamie Riley, Coach Clint Jewell, Coach Mark Epple; Middle row – Gavin Collins, Ayden Hewitt, Sean Lenox, Owen Epple, Chayse Ott, Caleb Jewell; Bottom row – JD Zuniga, Alex Riley, Noah Prince, Jacob Janke, Carson Under-wood, and AJ Winters.


Coloma took on Dowagiac and won 5-2 in their first contest of the day.

Dowagiac led 2-0 after the first inning. Coloma got one run back in the second inning and game proceeded with a 2-1 score until the fifth inning. Coloma’s offense went to work and scored two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, and a final run in the seventh for the 5-2 victory.

Crisenbery got the win; she allowed two runs on five hits and struck out six.

Hutsell tattooed a home run, while Yore hit a double and scored two runs. Potter also chipped in a double, while Koenigshof had two singles.

In their second game of the day, Coloma was shut out 1-0 by Portage Central.  Central got on the board in the fourth inning.

Hutsell took the loss for Coloma. She gave up one run on six hits. Her record this season is 7-2.

Coloma had two hits, including a double by Yore.

The tourney ended on a high note for Coloma as they rebounded by shutting out South Bend St. Joseph. Coloma needed one run in the first and one in the second in the 2-0 win.

Crisenbery served up the win for Coloma. She allowed just six hits and now holds a 12-1 record.

Coloma’s two runs came off three hits which featured a triple by Yore and double by Kya Potter.

Coloma’s record is 19-3 overall.

Watervliet has rough three-game loss in tourney action

 The Watervliet varsity softball squad headed to Lakeshore for the host’s tournament Saturday, May 6.

The Panthers faced the Grandville Bulldogs and were shut out 10-0.

Grandville opened the game with a three-run first inning to put Watervliet in catch-up mode early. But, with only one hit, courtesy of Taylor Shafer’s bat, the Panthers never staged a rally.

Grandville scored two more runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth to take the 10-0 win.

Watervliet pitchers gave up 10 runs on 10 hits.

In the early afternoon game, Watervliet took on Lakeshore and lost 15-4.

Early on, it looked good for the Panthers. They led 4-0 after two innings and 4-3 after three. But, Lakeshore added six runs in both the fourth and fifth inning for the win.

Watervliet scored four runs on seven hits. The squad committed five errors.

Zoe Smith led Watervliet at the plate with a single, double, and two RBIs. Kara Liles hit one single and scored two runs. Shafer tallied two singles and one RBI.

In their third game of the day, Watervliet lost 13-3 to Lake Orion.

The Dragons