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05-16-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Changes approved by MHSAA regarding football playoffs, and basketball post season

There were some big changes approved last week by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, and the overall consensus should be one of approval. Starting with the 2020 football season, just getting six wins will no longer guarantee a team to get into the playoffs. MHSAA will be instituting a point system for all teams, and the eight divisions will be determined before the season starts, instead of at the time the teams are drawn, as is currently the case.

This could certainly slow down a lot of the year to year conference jumping, as schools try and find the best way to formulate a schedule that would be favorable for them to get to six wins and an automatic berth into the playoffs.

Starting this next fall, 2019-2020, the basketball districts will seed the teams so the best two teams in any district would not face each other until the finals of that week. Currently, the teams are basically drawn out of a hat and there would be many instances where the top two teams in a district could face each other on the first night. The newly instituted system should be much more fan friendly, which is always a positive thing.

Comet baseball wins a pair at Fennville

The Coloma Comet baseball team traveled to Fennville last Monday, May 6, and came home with a pair of victories, which kept them undefeated at 6-0 in the SAC conference.

The Comets used the same formula for each game as they won game one by a 7-1 score, and game 2 by a 5-0 shutout. Game one had the Comets leading 2-1 going into the seventh inning, and then they erupted for five big runs. Hunter Crist, who went all the way on the mound for Coloma, shut the Blackhawks down in the seventh to gain the victory.

PITCHERS’ DUEL… Coloma’s Hunter Crist lets a pitch fly Friday evening as Watervliet pitcher Garrett Matthews readies in the batter’s box. Both pitchers completed their respective seven-inning efforts, with Crist taking the win 4-2. Watervliet would go on to win the nightcap 5-2. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hunter only gave up two hits in the game as he struck out seven and issued only one base on balls. Leading the Comet offense was Nate Wilder who banged out a double and had 2 RBI, as Ian Ishmael also had a double.

Ethan Price then pitched a 3-hit shutout against the home team, as Coloma only had a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh. Coloma then plated four big runs to go on to earn a 5-0 win. Price struck out eight and issued one free pass. The Comets played outstanding defense in both games in backing their pitchers. Price, Nick Eastman, Ian Ishmael, Kenyon Boyd, and Jake Ickes each picked up a hit for the Comets.

Comet boys lose first conference game of year as they split with Watervliet

The Comets played host to their neighbors Friday May 10, and came away with a split as they won the first game 4-2, before falling 5-2 in the night cap. Hunter Crist pitched another gem for Coloma as he gave up only three hits, and struck out nine, while not giving up a walk.

The Comets had just enough offense with some timely hits to win the first game. Ethan Price and Nick Eastman each knocked in two runs for Coloma, as Price had a double and Eastman two singles. The second game started with the Comets offering up some early runs to the Panthers courtesy of a couple of errors, and Coloma trailed 5-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.

The Comets plated one run and had the tying runs on base and the winning run at the plate, but couldn’t get the big hit they needed, as they lost 5-2. Ethan Price had three hits for Coloma including a double, and Kevin Hearn added two hits to the Coloma attack. Ethan Price was the starting pitcher for the Comets and took the loss. Hunter Crist pitched two scoreless innings in relief giving the Comets a chance at the comeback that didn’t quite materialize. The Comets are now 10-11 overall and 7-1 in the SAC Lakeshore Division.

Comet softball wins big in taking a pair from the Panthers

The Coloma Comets stayed undefeated in the SAC Lakeshore Division, as they defeated the Watervliet girls by scores of 15-5, and 9-5. The Comet bats were hot, even though the temperature was a rather cool 40 something degrees, as the local teams still are playing games with the fans wrapped in blankets entering the middle of May.

OPPOSING FORCES… Coloma’s Hannah Mathis (3) returns to second base as Watervliet shortstop Alex Worley fields the ball during the first card of doubleheader action Friday. Coloma won both contests, 15-5 and 9-5. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Megan Koenigshof again led Coloma from the mound, as she picked up two complete game victories and struck out 15 total batters on the night. Megan also had six hits at the plate. She is now hitting well over .600 for the season, and creates havoc with her speed every time she is on the base paths.

Also having a good offensive showing in the first game were, Hanna Mathis with two singles and a triple, Kelsey Ellis had three singles, Grace Whitaker had two hits including a double, and Phoebe Brown had a single, two doubles and 3 RBI. The second game leaders at the plate included Koenigshof with two singles, a triple, and an inside the park home run. Taryn Blazier had three singles and a home run, and Gracie Whitaker had two singles and a home run.

Comets drop 2 at St. Joe softball invitational

The Lady Comets lost two on Saturday May 11 playing at the St. Joseph invitational. Coloma lost in the first round to Lakeshore by a score of 7-2, and in the second round to the host 6-2. Megan Koenigshof took the loss on the mound in both games, as the offense struggled. Leading hitters on the day were Mia Cole, Nicole Swisher, Megan Neubecker, and Hannah Mathis. Coloma’s record is now 16-6 overall as they remain undefeated 8-0 in the SAC Lakeshore Division.

Coloma girls soccer defeats Saugatuck

The Comet girls soccer team defeated Saugatuck on Monday, May 6 by earning another shutout 2-0. Cali Grenon and Grace Gagliardo each netted a goal for the Comets, as Samantha Trousdale had an assist on each goal. Emma Watson was in goal for Coloma as she stopped nine shots in earning the shutout. The Comet girls now have an overall record of 13-1-1, and a league mark of 5-1-1.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

After a dismal, rainy, wet week in the Tri-City area two weeks ago that cancelled all but just a handful of contests, Hartford’s student-athletes were more than ready to get back in the groove of things. And, thanks to some timely breaks in the weather, as well as the hard work of grounds crews across the area, this past week in Hartford Athletics was action-packed and full of excitement!

Hartford Baseball takes on conference foes, finishes week 1-3

The Hartford Indian Varsity Baseball team returned to the fields last week, albeit somewhat wet and soggy at times, to compete in a pair of Southwest 10 Conference doubleheaders. With the season winding down and the postseason looming, the Indians may have a run in them, but it must start now.

In Monday night’s doubleheader on May 6, a road trip to Cassopolis, the Indians took two defeats at the hands of the host Rangers. Hartford suffered a tough 12-10 loss in game one, before the bats went silent in the nightcap, leading to a 3-0 defeat in game two.

In Wednesday night’s doubleheader, which saw the Indians travel just a few miles north to take on Bangor, the teams split a pair of games. Hartford dominated in the opener, taking game one pulling away, 8-0. However, the host Vikings returned the favor in the nightcap, taking game two by an 11-3 score.

Hartford was scheduled to host Centreville on Thursday for another conference doubleheader, and to celebrate “Senior Night”. However, weather foiled that plan and due to field conditions, the games were postponed. They are currently scheduled to be made-up on Monday, May 20, with first pitch at 4:30 p.m.

This week, the Hartford Baseball team will stay busy, playing three conference doubleheaders in six days. All six games, however, will be in the comfort of home sanctuary. On Monday, May 13, they will have hosted Bloomingdale, before a mid-week matchup with Decatur commences on Wednesday, May 15. They will finish out the stretch with a weekend affair against White Pigeon on Saturday, May 18. Check back next week to see how the team did!

Hartford Softball plays six games in four days, finishes week 4-2

The Hartford Indian Softball team was eager to return to the softball diamond last week, and with good reason. The ladies had not played a game since April 27, but be mindful that they were coming in to their games with good vibes, with their last contest netting them a divisional victory in the Gull Lake Tournament. With three conference opponents, including a defending state champion on the calendar, the team was in for a stern test, especially at week’s end.

I’LL PASS… Hartford’s Regan Sinclair watches as a high pitch passes her by Wednesday night, May 8 in a game against Bangor. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

In Monday night’s doubleheader, which saw the team travel to Cassopolis to take on the Lady Rangers, the Lady Indians kept the positive vibes and momentum rolling, as they dominated both games to earn a sweep. In game one on May 6, Hartford used a 15-hit effort to take an 11-1 victory, before cranking out 13 hits in the nightcap, as well as holding Cassopolis to just two hits, to win by a score of 16-0.

In the May 8 doubleheader, a scheduled road trip to Bangor that ended up being two home games for Hartford due to field conditions, the Lady Indians rolled to two big victories against the Lady Vikings. Hartford won game one by a 21-6 score, before shutting out Bangor, 12-0, in the nightcap to complete the two-game sweep.

In game one, Hartford trailed 1-0 early on, but made their presence felt with a seven-run bottom of the third inning that blew the game open, courtesy of a walk, RBI groundout and a pair of run-scoring hits. The Lady Indians also managed one more seven-run inning in the bottom of the fifth, as five players contributed run-scoring plays.

Lainey Goodson earned the victory in the circle for Hartford. She pitched five innings, giving up six runs on eight hits, while walking no batters and striking out six. The Lady Indians pounded out 16 hits, with Alexis Griffith and Megan Nelson contributing three hits each in the winning effort. Goodson, Vanessa DeLaRosa, Ariah Jordan and Jaelyne Galvan also had multi-hit games for Hartford. The team committed no errors in the field.

In game two, Hartford scored early and often, with their biggest scoring inning coming in the bottom of the sixth. In that frame, the Lady Indians scored four runs on two hits and a fielding error. Meanwhile, the Bangor bats were cold all game long, and the Lady Indian defense only surrendered just one hit in this contest.

Karly Manning earned the victory in the circle for Hartford, and she was flat out dominant. The freshman pitched a complete-game one hitter, walking just one batter and striking out 13. The Lady Indians punched out 12 hits, with Regan Sinclair and Mikenzie Chambers leading the way with three hits each, while Alexis Griffith contributed two hits. The team committed two errors in the field.

In last Thursday night’s doubleheader, Hartford’s “Senior Night” clash with defending state champion, Centreville, the Lady Indians got a taste of why the Lady ‘Dogs won the whole enchilada last spring. Hartford was swept by Centreville this night, as the visiting team won both games by scores of 20-4 and 10-1.

Full game statistics were unavailable; however, in game one, Hartford managed 14 hits, but lapsed defensively, committing five errors. In game two, Hartford could only muster just four hits, and committed four errors in the field.

This week, the Hartford Softball team will be going nonstop from start-to-finish, as they will play in three conference doubleheaders, as well as complete a game from earlier in the season. Six of these games will be in front of the home crowd at the Indian Softball diamond. On Monday, May 13, the Lady Indians will have hosted Bloomingdale, before Decatur comes to town two days later, on Wednesday, May 15, for a pair of games. The team finishes a tiring stretch with a matchup against White Pigeon on Saturday, May 18.

In between, on Tuesday, May 14, the ladies will have to travel to Mendon to complete a conference game, which is currently in extra innings and tied, 4-4. Check back next week to see if the team continues its recent good play!

Hartford Girls Soccer has successful stretch, finishes week 2-0-1

The Hartford Indian Girls Soccer team did not mind splashing through the mud and the muck last week, as they competed in three matches, including a critical conference match. The season so far can be characterized as being up-and-down, but considering where the program is right now, they are seeing plenty more ups. The season is in the waning stages, and with a potential conference title and the postseason looming, the team needs to play its best in the stretch run.

Last week in Monday night’s non-conference road match at New Buffalo, the Lady Indians dominated from start-to-finish, winning 5-nil. The team scored all of its goals in the first half, and never allowed the Lady Bison to have many good scoring chances.

Hartford got a hat trick from Abigail Lopez, who scored three goals, while Brianna Morseau and Madison Hays each added a goal apiece. Assists came from Mercedes Requenes (2) and Hays (1). Goalkeepers Mary Pultz and Sarai Garcia combined for the shutout in net, with Pultz making two saves and Garcia three saves.

In Wednesday night’s critical conference match at home versus Bangor on May 8, Hartford continued their winning ways, scoring a 5-nil victory over the Lady Vikings. The Lady Indians led 4-nil at halftime, scored one goal in the second half and never looked back. Hartford scored their five goals courtesy of four different players: Abigail Lopez (2), Madison Hays (1), Lyla Rosses (1) and Mercedes Requenes (1). Assists came from Hays (1) and Monserrat Requenes (1).

In Thursday night’s non-conference match against rival Watervliet, both teams played a very competitive match from the first whistle to the last whistle. Some would say neither team deserved to lose, and that is exactly what happened, as the Lady Indians and the Lady Panthers ended in a 2-2 tie. Hartford led 1-nil at halftime, and Watervliet managed to score two goals to the Lady Indians one in the final 40 minutes to seal the draw. Abigail Lopez scored both goals for Hartford, while Mercedes Requenes assisted on both Lady Indian tallies. Goalkeeper Mary Pultz made 10 saves in net.

This week, the Hartford girls soccer team will remain active, as they once again have three matches on the docket. On Monday, May 13, they will have hosted Cassopolis in another critical Southwest 10 Conference tilt, before they host non-conference and possible district opponent, Saugatuck, on Wednesday, May 15 for “Senior Night”. They will conclude the stretch run on Friday, May 17 by traveling to Bridgman for a non-conference match with the Lady Bees. Check back next week to see if the recent success is sustained!

Hartford Track teams compete in Southwest 10 Conference competitions

The Hartford Indian Track teams managed to take to the track twice last week, as they look to continue their improvement each meet. As stated before, the Indians are dealing with a mix of upperclassman experience, youthful inexperience and a lack of bodies in many events, especially with both teams sporting between 20-25 participants. However, they are getting better, and most recently, the ladies had a meet just two weeks ago where they had 15 season-best performances.

In Monday night’s competition on May 6, a Southwest 10 Conference meet at Cassopolis featuring the host Rangers and White Pigeon, Hartford competed very well. While results for the boys’ meet were not available as of press time, the girls’ team defeated Cassopolis, 84-38 and White Pigeon, 79-40.

Marissa Solis and Khashya McCoy were double winners for Hartford, as Solis scored victories in the 100 and 200 Meter Dashes, while McCoy took both the 100 and 300 Meter Hurdles. The ladies also got first-place performances from Nautica Covington in the Shot Put, Jasmin Janicki in the 1600 Meter Run, Gillian Kuehnle in the 400 Meter Dash, Brittany VanLandingham in the 800 Meter Run and Jamie Smith in the 3200 Meter Run. All four relay teams were also victorious on the night.

In Wednesday night’s competition, another Southwest 10 Conference meet held at White Pigeon, the Indians took on the host Chiefs and the Bangor Vikings. While team results for May 8 were unavailable as of press time, both teams had performances that earned overall first-place honors.

On the boys’ side, Riley Traver scored three first-place finishes, winning the 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash and the High Jump. Also adding victories for the men were Aldo Acevedo in the 400 Meter Dash and Carter Gendron in the Pole Vault. On the girls’ side, Nautica Covington was victorious in the Shot Put, while the 400 Meter Relay team of Marissa Solis, Brittany VanLandingham, Isabelle Heminger and Jamie Smith also scored overall victory.

This week, the Hartford track teams will begin winding down their 2019 campaigns, as there is just one meet on the schedule. However, the meet is a big one. On Saturday, May 18, they will be traveling to Centreville to participate in the MHSAA Division 3 Regional competition. This meet will determine who will be participating in the MHSAA Division 3 State Finals, set for June 1 at Jenison High School. Check back next week to see if anyone’s performance was enough to make it!

As always, GO INDIANS!

Press Box player of the Week

By John Oliphant

This week’s Press Box Player of the Week is Watervliet’s Emma Yazel. Emma took first place in seven events at a dual meet with Coloma and Fennville. Competing against both teams simultaneously, the senior won the long jump, the 110 meter hurdles, the 300 meter hurdles, and was on the 4×400 relay team that beat Fennville.

Emma has been on the track team since she was in the seventh grade. In her senior season she made a transition from throwing the shot put and discus to the long jump, where she’s regularly jumping over 13 feet. She’s leading the team in overall points. She also played on the volleyball and basketball teams, and has earned eight varsity letters overall.

In her spare time Emma is working two part-time jobs to save money for college, and riding floats as the first runner-up to Miss Watervliet.

Her basketball coach, Ken Dietz, says, “Emma is everything I believe a high school athlete should be. She shows up every day and works as hard as she can. She’s coachable and has fun every day.”

Emma has a 3.61 GPA, using her senior year to take AP courses and classes at Lake Michigan College. She will attend Wayne State University in the fall, where she will study public health on the way to becoming a pediatrician.

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther Softball goes 3-5

The Lady Panthers played eight games last week, with half of those make-ups for earlier rainouts. The highlight of the week was on Thursday when Brenna Langston hit a walk-off single that drove in Addison Riley from second base to score the winning run against Berrien Springs.

To start off a long week, the Panthers dropped two games to a powerful Kalamazoo Christian team on Monday, May 6. They managed just three hits in the doubleheader, losing 11-2 and 8-1. On Wednesday they turned things around and swept a doubleheader against Constantine, 8-1 and 13-1. Every batter had at least one hit in the second game.

COLLEGE SIGNING… Mikalah Clay, senior at Watervliet High School, signs her letter of intent to play softball at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan next year. She will be playing catcher or third base for the Bulldogs. Mikalah plans to study sports medicine and kinesiology, then earn her PhD in physical therapy. She’s currently rehabbing from surgery to her non-throwing shoulder and will be ready to start workouts with the team in the fall.

They split the doubleheader against Berrien Springs on Thursday, May 9, losing 10-5 and winning 6-5. To close the week the tired Panthers faced defending state champion Coloma, who won 15-5 and 9-5.

Emalie Gitersonke was the leading hitter for the week, batting .321 with six RBI. Celina Klimkiewicz batted .304 with three doubles and eight runs scored. Langston, Klimkiewicz and Hannah Hart all had home runs last week.

The Panthers are now 9-13 overall and 5-5 in the SAC Lakeshore Division. Watervliet visited Fennville on Monday, May 16, travels to River Valley for a tournament on Saturday, visits Gobles on Monday, May 20 and then Lawrence on Tuesday, May 21.

Busy week for Panther Baseball

The Panther baseball team played six games last week, going 2-4. On Monday they were swept in a doubleheader against Kalamazoo Christian, 3-0 and 14-8.

The first game was a pitcher’s duel, as the Panthers were held hitless. Garrett Matthews went seven strong innings while striking out three.

In game two the Panthers fell behind and couldn’t catch up. Watervliet stayed in the game by pounding out 11 hits. Garrett Matthews and Dylan Lawson each had two singles and a double. Andrew Chisek and Jordyn Angelo each had two hits.

On Wednesday, May 8 the Panthers went to Constantine where they won the first game 5-1 behind the pitching of Tommy Swanson and Evan Hutchins. Sophomore Hutchins earned his first varsity win. Leading hitters for the Panthers were Andrew Chisek and Dylan Lawson with two singles each.

The Falcons won game two, 10-4. Cole Pline, Jordyn Angelo, Nick Polaskey and Eric Kehrer combined on the mound. Andrew Chisek led the Panthers at the plate with two singles and a double. Dylan Tucker added two singles and Garrett Matthews and Dylan Lawson each had one hit.

To close the week the Panthers traveled to Coloma where they split the doubleheader. The Comets took the first game 4-2. Garrett Matthews pitched, going the distance while striking out five. Matthews and Andrew Chisek each had a double and Dylan Lawson chipped in a single.

The Panthers regrouped in the second game, jumping out to an early lead and getting the win 5-2. Andrew Chisek pitched seven strong innings and struck out eight for the win. Leading hitters for the Panthers were Tommy Swanson with a double and single, and hits from Garrett Matthews, Dylan Lawson, Jordyn Angelo and Eric Kehrer. The win puts the Panthers at 6-7-1 on the season and 4-2 in the SAC Lakeshore Division.

The team hosts Fennville for a pair of games on Thursday, May 16, and travels to Gobles on Monday, May 20. On Tuesday, May 21 they visit Lawrence, and on Wednesday, May 22 host Berrien Springs.

Girls Soccer wins one, loses one

The Panther girls soccer team hosted Kalamazoo Christian on Monday, May 6, losing 8-0. The Panthers gave up two goals in the first four minutes to fall behind quickly. From there they played better while up against the second-ranked Comets.

Freshman Tony Isbrecht, starting in goal for the first time, played a good game against a great team. Coach Dave Armstrong commended the mid-field play of Emma Armstrong, Vicki Smith, Jada Prignano, Danyel Munson, and Elena Alvarado, who all played well while keeping the high-powered Comets out of the goal for most of the first half.

OUCH! Watervliet’s Katherine Schmidt kicks the ball away from Hartford’s Mercedes Requenes, who takes a cleat in the knee from her opponent. The teams played to a 2-2 tie Thursday. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

On Wednesday the Lady Panthers came out cold on the Schoolcraft pitch, giving up five first half goals. They played a better second half while giving up just one goal. Emma Armstrong scored both goals for the Panthers, and Victoria Smith had one assist.

On Thursday the Panthers hosted Hartford. The Panthers started strong while playing great defense and controlling the ball most of the first half. Victoria Smith had a nifty assist to give Emma Kraklau the first Panther goal. The second half started with the score 1-1, and neither team allowed the other to do what they wanted.

Emma Armstrong earned an assist on a pass to Kraklau for her second goal of the game. The defense played as well as Katherine Schmidt, Trinity Crain, Susanna Van Lente, and Aria Richards kept the Indian offense off balance. Coach Armstrong said it was a well-played game between two rival schools.

The girls travel to New Buffalo on Thursday, May 16, and to Lawton on Friday, May 17. On Monday, May 20 they host South Haven, then the District tournament begins on May 22 at Brandywine.

Track teams compete at home

The track teams hosted Fennville and Coloma on Wednesday, May 8, closing out a short regular season.

The boys team split, beating Fennville 99-33 and losing to Coloma 79-57. In the field events, Isaac Bultema had a 16’3” long jump to win against both teams. Logan Geisler pole vaulted 8’0” for a win. Jacob Wilmoth threw his shot put 39’3” for a win and a second place, then threw his discus 101’8” for one win.

In the 4×800 Ezra Troyer, Gus Hinch, Matthew Hanks, and Trever Pelton ran 9:40 to beat both teams. Isaac Bultema ran the 110 hurdles in 19:03 for two wins, then collected another win in the 300 hurdles. Austin Roberts ran the 100 in 12:62 for one win, and the 200 in 25:37 for another. Gus Hinch ran the 1600 meter in 5:06 for a win, using his kick to beat teammate Troyer by one second.

Troyer ran the 800 in 2:22 for a win and a second place, and Hinch ran the 3200 meter race in 11:19 for two firsts. At the end, the 4×400 team of Diego Martinez, Ezra Troyer, Matthew Hanks, and Isaiah Yazel took one win.

On the girls side, Emma Yazel long jumped 13’9” to take two firsts. Yazel also swept the hurdles with a 20:83 in the 110 meter race, and 57:39 in the 300 meter race. Amy Eisen threw the shot put 23’1” for a first. Yanna Winters won twice with her 63’11” discus toss. Alyssa Melcher took a first in the high jump.

Kayla Hoy won twice with her 7:03 in the 1600 meter race, and she also won once with her 3:16 in the 800 meter. Luna Ramirez took a win in the 400 meter, and Bailey Swisher won twice in the 3200 meter.

The 4×800 team took two first as Caley Simmons, Kayla Hoy, Bailey Swisher, and Destiny Kerr ran 13:29.

The next meet is the regionals, held Saturday, May 18 at Centreville, and then the SAC finals meet is on Tuesday, May 21 at Constantine.

Ladies Monday Night Happy Hour Golf League

May 13 Golf Report from the Paw Paw Lake Golf Club:

Weekly Event Winner – Charlene Durfee; Low Gross – Colleen McKeown with 52; Low Net – Colleen McKeown with 35; Low putts – Colleen McKeown with 18; Pars – None.

The ladies’ Happy Hour Golf League meets on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. New members are welcome; please call Charlene Durfee at (269) 468-8111.


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