Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
First, this writer, on this most solemn of holiday weeks, wishes to send a heartfelt thank you to our men and women serving in uniform, and especially to those who sacrificed their lives, in defense of the freedoms we are given so we can all enjoy High School sports. We honor you, we salute you, and we will never forget you.
And, now, it’s on to the Hartford Press Box for the week – and things are beginning to slow down, as the end of the school year is within arm’s reach. However, Indian student-athletes did see action in a total of 11 games, matches, and meets, and in a few sports conference championships were on the line.
Hartford Baseball finishes final full week of regular season with 0-4 mark
The Hartford Indian Varsity Baseball team played in a pair of doubleheaders during the final full week of the regular season. The team came into play fresh off a 2-2 mark in the week prior.
In Monday night’s doubleheader, which featured two games against conference opponent Centreville, which were rescheduled not once, but twice, due to weather, the Indians and Bulldogs played two very tight, close contests. However, Hartford was not on the winning end of either game, as visiting Centreville took game one, 5-4, before taking the nightcap by a two-run margin, 9-7.
In Wednesday night’s doubleheader, which saw the Indians travel to Bridgman to take on a solid Bees squad, Hartford suffered two more tough defeats. The host Bees took game one, 10-7, before winning the nightcap to sweep the evening’s festivities by a score of 6-3. However, Hartford started players in different positions, as well as saved their best pitching arms for the postseason grind to come.
This week the Hartford Baseball team was scheduled to travel Tuesday, May 28 to Lawrence to take on the Tigers in a single game, before setting their sights on the postseason. That quest begins on Saturday, June 1, when they will play in District action at Bloomingdale, starting at 10:00 a.m. They will play the winner of Coloma and Bloomingdale, and if they win that contest, will play for a championship at 3:00 p.m. Check back next week to see if the team was able to pull off some victories!
CHAMPIONS CROWNED… The Hartford girls’ varsity soccer squad was crowned the SW10 conference champions after the Indians defeated Bangor 5-2 on Monday, May 20. Two days later, the young ladies opened up district action with a 5-1 over Lawton.
Hartford Softball finishes regular season with 2-2 week, postseason looms
The Hartford Indian Softball team was back on the softball diamonds last week, and with it came the conclusion of regular season play. The Lady Indians have had a productive, solid year, as the team has won more than 20 games so far. The final week of regular season play brought with it two doubleheaders in two days. With the postseason on the horizon, and a clash with defending state champion, Coloma, on the way, they have to be at their best – right now.
In Tuesday night’s non-conference doubleheader, which consisted of two road games played at Saugatuck, the Hartford Lady Indians swept the Saugatuck Lady Indians in somewhat dominant fashion. In this battle of teams with the same mascot, Hartford took game one by a score of 12-7, before earning a 12-2 mercy-rule victory in the nightcap.
In game one, Hartford instantly put the game out of reach with 11 runs in the top of the second inning, courtesy of a single, two doubles, a triple, two walks and two errors. It was the second time in eight days that the Lady Indians had put an 11-spot on the scoreboard, as they also did so against Bloomingdale back on May 13. Saugatuck put up a fight, scoring a game-high three runs in the bottom of the third inning, but Hartford held off the charge to score the win.
Karly Manning earned the win in the circle for Hartford. She pitched all seven innings in the game, giving up seven runs on six hits, while striking out nine. On offense, Hartford bashed out ten hits, led by Destiny Chacon and Cecilia Perales, who contributed two hits each. On defense, the Lady Indians committed two errors.
In game two, Hartford started out fast once again, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on a Mikenzie Chambers bases-clearing triple. The Lady Indians padded their lead with another three run inning, this time in the top of the sixth, which was highlighted by a run-scoring double off the bat of Descenya Rodarte. Combine that with solid pitching in the circle, and you have the right recipe to pull off the victory – which Hartford was able to do.
Rodarte earned the win in the circle for Hartford. Like her counterpart, Karly Manning, in the first game, Rodarte threw a complete game in this contest. She pitched all seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out five. On offense, Hartford belted out 16 hits, headlined by three-hit performances from Regan Sinclair and Megan Nelson. Vanessa DeLaRosa, Chambers and Karlee Scherer added two hits each. On defense, the Lady Indians committed just one error.
In Wednesday night’s doubleheader, which featured a second road-trip in as many days to visit non-conference opponent, Bridgman, Hartford found itself up against a tough, solid, three-loss Lady Bees squad. Unfortunately, the Lady Indians experienced heartbreak, as they lost both games on the night. Bridgman took game one by a score of 2-0, before taking the nightcap in a higher-scoring game, 13-4.
In game one, Hartford received a solid performance in the circle from Karly Manning, who pitched six innings of two-run ball. The Lady Indians bats were quiet, and they were no-hit by Bridgman, with 13 of the 18 outs coming via the strikeout.
This week, the Hartford Softball team began postseason play with a pre-district game against defending state champion, Coloma, at Bloomingdale. Pending the outcome they will move to weekend play on Saturday, June 1, also at Bloomingdale. Check back next week to see how the team performed in their postseason debut!
Hartford Girls Soccer earns second consecutive conference championship
The Hartford Indian Girls Soccer team returned to the soccer pitch for a pair of matches last week, and it came with a trophy on the line. That’s because the Lady Indians were in the driver’s seat in the Southwest 10 Conference race, and with a victory against Bangor, they would clinch the conference crown for the second straight year. The ladies had played only 11 matches coming into the week, but a solid 7-3-1 record shows this team is currently on the right track.
In Monday night’s conference-deciding match against Bangor, Hartford broke open a 2-2 tie at half by scoring three goals in the second half to cruise to a 5-2 victory, and with that, clinching the conference title. Abigail Lopez stole the spotlight once again, putting together yet another hat trick with three goals, while assisting on one other tally. Mercedes Requenes scored the other two goals for the Lady Indians, and assisted on two other scores. Adding assists for Hartford were Madison Hays and Lyla Rosses. Mary Pultz earned the victory in goal, making nine saves.
In Wednesday night’s non-conference road match against Lawton, Hartford put their foot on the gas pedal and led from start-to-finish, scoring a 5-1 victory over the Lady Blue Devils. Hartford led the game 2-nil at the half, and for the second straight game, added three goals in the second half to pad their margin. Abigail Lopez and Samantha Belmares each scored two goals in the game, with Lopez also assisting on two other tallies. Mercedes Requenes scored the fifth and final goal for Hartford, while Michelle Parra added an assist. Mary Pultz needed to make just one save in net to earn the victory.
This week, the Hartford Girls Soccer team will begin their quest for postseason glory, as they will be entering District play, with games being hosted by Saugatuck. On Wednesday, May 29, the Lady Indians were scheduled to play Lawton in a semifinal, with the match beginning at 5:00 p.m. If the ladies won their semifinal match, they will play for the District Championship on Saturday, June 1 at noon against the winner of Holland Black River and Bangor. Check back next week to see if the ladies can earn the first District title in school history!
Hartford track teams conclude season at SW10 Conference Championships
The Hartford Indian Track teams were back in action just once last week. However, it brought with it the conclusion of the season – for most – with the Southwest 10 Conference championships, hosted by Centreville. While the season did not bring the kind of success that the Hartford Track teams have experienced in the past, it did, however, bring several great results. This season, we saw three athletes make state finals, and saw a five-decade long record broke.
In Tuesday afternoon’s event, the Hartford Boys Track team placed ninth out of 10 teams with 23.5 points, while the Hartford Girls Track team finished fifth out of nine teams with a total of 56 points.
On the boys’ side, Hartford earned one first place finish, courtesy of Riley Traver in the 100 Meter Dash, with his time of 11.76 seconds. In addition, Traver finished second place in the 200 Meter Dash and placed in a tie for seventh in the High Jump. Also earning team points for the Indians were Jacob Morales (7th in the 3200 Meter Run), Aldo Acevedo (tie for 7th in the Pole Vault) and the team of Acevedo, Francisco Loera, Morales and Chris Ramon finished eighth in the 3200 Meter Relay.
On the girls’ side, Hartford earned multiple spots on the podium, led by Khashya McCoy, who won the 300 Meter Hurdles with a time of 51.05 seconds. McCoy also finished in second place in the 100 Meter Hurdles and in the 400 Meter Relay, joining a team that also included Marissa Solis, Isabelle Heminger and Brittany VanLandingham. Finishing in third place was Nautica Covington in the Shot Put, as well as the 3200 Meter Relay team, which consisted of Gillian Kuehnle, VanLandingham, Jasmin Janicki and Jamie Smith.
Also earning team points for the Lady Indians were the 400 Meter Relay team of Solis, VanLandingham, Kuehnle and McCoy (4th), the 800 Meter Relay team of Solis, Heminger, VanLandingham and Smith (4th), Kuehnle (6th in the 800 Meter Run), Abigail Garcia (7th in the Discus), Smith (7th in the 3200 Meter Run) and Asuzena Loera (8th in the 3200 Meter Run).
This weekend, on Saturday, June 1, track athletes Riley Traver, Nautica Covington and Khashya McCoy will finish their seasons by participating in the MHSAA Division 3 State Finals at Jenison High School. We wish them good luck, and encourage readers to check back next week to see how they all did!
As always, GO INDIANS!
Press Box Player of the Week
By Dave Vollrath
This week’s TCR Press Box Player of the Week is Coloma Comet senior baseball player Hunter Crist.
Hunter has had a very fine senior season and recently had some outstanding stats. In a win against Delton Kellogg, after DK had scored to take the lead, Hunter stepped to the plate and blasted a 3-run home run to give the Comets back the lead. It sparked Coloma to go on to an 8-5 win. For the week Hunter hit .571 with two walks and two hit by pitches. He had an eye opening on base percentage of .727.
Although a minor injury has limited his work on the mound recently, he has stood out as the top Comet hurler this season. He has a season record of 5-2 pitching, with one save and a sparkling 2.18 ERA, in 42 innings of work. For the season at the plate, Hunter is hitting .267 with an OBP of .436 as the Comet cleanup hitter.
Hunter was also a starter on the Comet varsity basketball team, and ran cross country his junior year. In the summer Hunter plays baseball for the Three Oaks Legion team.
Baseball is Hunter’s number one sport, and he recently signed a letter of intent, and will be going on to pitch and continue his education at Bethel University. Hunter is also an outstanding student and a member of the National Honor Society, and is planning to study economics and finance in college.
Hunter’s parents are Dan and Tonya Crist of Coloma.
We wish Hunter the very best as he finishes his baseball career in Coloma, and all he attempts in the future.
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
Panther softball 8-3 last week
The Lady Panthers played an impressive 11 games last week against seven different teams. They beat Gobles twice 11-4 and 6-1, beat Lawrence twice 5-3 and 15-1, split with Marcellus 13-9 and 1-8, and beat Fennville twice 14-0 and 16-1, to close out regular season play. As if eight games in a week were not enough, on Saturday they participated in a tournament at Berrien Springs, beating Brandywine 12-10, and losing to both River Valley 10-4 and the host Shamrocks 11-0.
The offense was on fire all week, scoring 105 runs while batting .361 with 115 hits. That includes 25 extra-base hits with three home runs and 85 RBI. Celina Klimkiewicz led the week batting .462. Addison Riley got hot, batting .424, while Alex Worley continued to pound the ball batting .385. Maddie Wilkinson batted .364, and Emalie Gitersonke hit .359 with two home runs. Hanna Hart had a dramatic pinch-hit home run against River Valley.
The Panther pitching was pretty solid too, as senior Celina and freshman Hart combined to collect 51 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched, against just six walks. Celina threw a no-hitter against Fennville, striking out five and walking none while throwing just 51 pitches. Only two runners reached base, both on errors. The two pitchers combined threw 882 pitches last week. Fortunately they get a week to rest their arms before districts.
The Panthers are now 18-18 on the season, and they finish 7-3 in the SAC Lakeshore division to take second place behind Coloma. Celina Klimkiewicz still leads the offense, batting .462 with 15 extra-base hits and 23 RBI. Sabrina Klimkiewicz is batting .357 with nine extra-base hits and 22 RBI.
A PLAY MADE IN THE SHADE… Watervliet first baseman Addison Riley catches an infield fly May 22 in the fifth inning of the Panthers’ game against visiting Marcellus. The Panthers split the doubleheader, losing 8-1 and winning 15-9. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The district tournament is next, with the Panthers facing Bangor for a spot at the district finals. That game will be on Saturday June 1.
Garrett Matthews throws second no-hitter
The Panther baseball team played six games last week, going 2-4. The highlight of the week was Garrett Matthews’ second no-hitter of the season against Fennville. Garrett was sharp in the game, striking out seven and facing just one batter over the minimum in seven innings. Behind him the defense was solid as well, getting two double plays.
Andrew Chisek had two hits and scored twice, as the Panthers won 3-0. They dropped the second game against Fennville, 2-0.
On Tuesday the Panthers went to Lawrence where they split the doubleheader. In the first game Tommy Swanson pitched well, giving up the only run of the game in the bottom on the seventh. Lawrence won the second game 8-2. In the other matchup the Panthers split with Gobles, winning 3-1 and losing 6-1.
The Panthers finish their regular season at 8-12-1 overall, and 6-4 in the SAC Lakeshore division, good for third place. They start tournament play on Saturday against Bangor at Bloomingdale.
Girls soccer wins one, loses one
The Panther soccer team started tournament play last week in grand fashion, taking on Brandywine while two experienced seniors were out with injuries. The game was scoreless after regulation play, and remained the same after the first overtime. As the second overtime wound down, Alyssa Lange scored the game-ending goal off an assist from Jada Prignano with 1:14 remaining. Coach Dave Armstrong said the entire team played great and put up another stellar defensive effort for the Panthers. Watervliet advanced to play New Buffalo on Wednesday, May 29.
Earlier in the week the shorthanded girls faced a good South Haven team, losing 4-0. Coach Armstrong said Alex Hays had a break out game as goalie, making several acrobatic saves in goal. The entire team played well, led by Jada Prignano and Elena Alvarado who were everywhere and kept the Rams out of their game. The defense stepped up as Joselyn Moron and Abbi Roberts played their best games of the year.
Golf team honors
A young Panther golf team recently completed their season with Parker Lanning and Riley McKinney both earning All-Division SAC honors. The top ten golfers in each division earn the honor. Lanning, a freshman, finished sixth, while McKinney, a sophomore, finished 10th.
Lanning’s best score of the year was a 48 at Paw Paw Lake Golf Club. McKinney’s best was a 52 at Lake Michigan Hills that also tied her for first place in that tournament. Both will be back next year looking to help their team get to the next level.
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Comet Baseball loses to Saugatuck and finishes 2nd in conference
On Wednesday, May 22, the Comets had the chance to win the SAC Lakeshore division, by winning one of two games versus Saugatuck on the road. They came in with one loss and Saugatuck had two losses. By the end of the day however, the Comets couldn’t get it done and had a couple of heartbreaking losses, which leaves them with a second place finish.
The Comet coach Kevin VanPeteghem’s strategy was to get the win in the first game. He went with his best arm to start, going with Hunter Crist on the hill, though he has been hampered with some minor ailments. Coloma took an early 2-1 lead after the third inning, and then put three on the board in the top of the fifth. Saugatuck came right back with a pair of runs and the Comets led 5-3 after six. Crist, who went all the way for Coloma and struck out four while walking three, gave his best effort but was hurt by his defense. They committed a season high seven errors in the game.
Saugatuck wound up scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, and then the game winner in the eighth to come away with a 6-5 victory. Nathan Wilder and Jake Ickes each had a pair of hits for the Comets, as Kevin Hearn knocked in three runs.
PANTHER BEATS BOBCAT… Wa-tervliet’s Abbi Roberts scoots the soccer ball past her Brandywine opponent last Wednesday in the opening round of district competition on May 22. Watervliet won the contest 1-0 in double overtime and moved on to face New Buffalo in the semi-finals. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The second game started as if it could have been a run away. Ethan Price started on the mound for Coach V’s team. Saugatuck scored four runs before Price could register an out. The coach had to go to his bull pen early. Freshman Jake Ickes did a great job coming in and putting out the fire, and held the Indians to those four runs.
Coloma wasn’t ready to concede however and came back with a four spot of their own, retaking the lead 5-4 which they held until Saugatuck tied it with a run in the fourth. The Indians then scored two in the fifth to go up 7-5 and tacked on another in the sixth. Coloma did score a run in the top of the seventh to pull within 8-6, but the Indians closed the door on the game and took the Division crown by one game over the Comets.
Ickes pitched a total of six innings and gave up four runs on nine hits as he stuck out three and walked none. Nate Wilder, Nick Eastman, Ethan Price, Jake Ickes, and Kenyon Boyd all had two hits for the Comets. Eastman and Boyd each had a double. Coloma left 12 runners stranded on base and just fell one or two big hits short of getting that conference crown.
Coloma Comet nine splits pair with Hudson
On Saturday, May 25, Coloma hosted the Hudson Tigers for a doubleheader, and had a fine showing and warm up for the districts. They split a pair with the Tigers who came in boasting a record of 26-6. The Comets’ season record was 15-16 coming in.
The Comets won the first game as all the scoring was done in the first two innings. Hudson scored three in the first and one in the second. Coach VanPeteghem’s team retaliated with four in the first and two in the second. Pitching and defense dominated the rest of the game, as each team went scoreless and Coloma came away with a 6-4 win.
Dylan Nelson started and pitched three innings, and gave up the four runs, though only two of them were earned. Ethan Price came in and shut the door on the Tigers as he shut them out in four innings of work.
Nick Eastman led the Comet offense with three hits, and Price picked up two hits. Kenyon Boyd added a double and Kevin Hearn knocked in three runs.
The Comets dropped the second game by a 3-1 score, as Eastman pitched a fine game holding the Tigers to three runs. The Comet offense went stale and could only muster five scattered hits.
Coloma Comet Softball wins SAC Lakeshore Division
The Coloma Comet girls won the league softball title going 8-0, and won it without playing their last two games, which were postponed because of rain, against Saugatuck a couple of weeks ago. It was decided not to play those games because it would have made no difference in the standings. Coach Wendy Goodline’s team had a lead that could not be overcome by any team, even if the Comets had lost the two.
Comets drop pair of non-league games to South Haven
GRACIE GOES LONG… Gracie Whitaker of Coloma varsity softball belted a double Wednesday afternoon in the first of two games against Paw Paw. Break out the brooms, as the Lady Comets swept both games 18-8 and 10-9. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The Coloma softball team recently lost a pair of home games against South Haven, game one by a count of 11-2 and game two by a score of 11-8.
Losing pitcher in the first game was freshman Taylor Brown. Top hitters for Coach Goodline were Hannah Mathis with a pair of singles, Taryn Blazier with a double, and Kelsey Ellis pounded out a home run and a single.
In game two the losing pitcher was Nicole Swisher. Leading the Coloma offense was Megan Neubecker who bashed a couple of doubles and a single, Mia Cole added 2 singles, and Taryn Blazier contributed a couple of singles.
The Coloma Comet baseball and softball teams were each scheduled to play their first district games at Bloomingdale, on Tuesday May 28. Full results for both baseball and softball districts will be found in next week’s Tri-City Record.
Coloma girls’ soccer team opens district play with a win
The Coloma Comet girls soccer team started out the district 3 tournament by making a strong statement, as they ran all over Constantine and came home with an 8-0 victory.
The dynamic Comet duo of Emma Vandermolen and Cali Grenon were just way too much for this Constantine team to handle. Cali scored four times and Emma slammed the ball into the back of the net three times. Bailey McVay added the other goal, as Grace Gagliardo had two assists, and Molly McVay and Samantha Trousdale each had one assist.
The Comet defense was also dominant in this game as Emma Watson was in goal for the Comet shutout, though she only had to stop one shot on goal.
Coloma’s next district game is scheduled for Tuesday May 28; full results will be available in next week’s TCR.