06-01-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Austin Dillon wins first NASCAR Cup Series Race

 Austin Dillon conserved just enough fuel during Sunday’s Coca Cola 600 that he was able to eke across the start/finish line at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Dillon had enough gas to tool around the speedway for just a bit before he had to be pushed into Victory Lane following the completion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.

The 400-lap race had a little bit of everything – a big dustup that took out Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski, a rain delay that lasted for one hour and forty minutes mid-race, and nine caution periods covering 53 laps.

Dillon started in 22nd place and led two laps. Sunday’s win gave Dillon his first win since he began racing full-time in 2014. Dillon notched his second top five of the season.

Kyle Busch led 63 laps. He didn’t move too much during the race; he started from second place and that’s where he finished his run. Busch tallied his fifth top five of the season.

Martin Truex Jr. owned third place – and much of the race. He led the pack for 233 laps and, ostensibly, had the best car Sunday night. Truex Jr. has two wins this season and finished in the top five for the fourth time.

Matt Kenseth started and finished the race in fourth place. He earned his third top five finish but has yet to claim the top prize this season.

Denny Hamlin took fifth place. He led 10 laps.

Other drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five included: Kurt Busch (1), Kevin Harvick (45), Paul Menard (2), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2), Jimmie Johnson (35), and Danica Patrick (7).

There were 23 lead changes during the event and 17 drivers finished the race on the lead lap.

The drivers leave Charlotte in their review mirrors and have set their sights on Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism.  Last year, Matt Kenseth claimed the Cup win at the Monster Mile. Kenseth is seeking his first victory this year. Can he win the 14th race of season?

Final SAC track meet of the regular season at Constantine

 Constantine was the site of the final, regular season track and field meet of the 2017 season.

Coloma’s varsity boys’ team finished third overall out of 20 teams with 63 points. Watervliet took sixth place with 40.5 points, and Hartford ended the event in 18th place with two points. Saugatuck won both the boys’ and girls’ divisions.

Derek Plitt continued his winning ways with a first place finish in the 100 meters (11.63 seconds). The 4×200 relay team of Caleb Ellis, Sincere Taylor, Brad Young, and Plitt raced to first place with a time of 1:33.76.

Ellis, Kobe Hunter, Brandon Bower, and Young teamed up in the 4×400. They finished first with a time of 3:35.57.

Plitt earned a bronze in the 200 meters; he finished with a time of 23.67 seconds. Young also picked up a third place medal; he ran the 400 meters in a time of 52.15 seconds.

Watervliet’s Lamarrius Smith finished the meet with one first place, one second place, and one third place medal, completing the trifecta of track.

Smith got gold in the long jump with a leap of 20’ 6”. He earned silver in the 200 meters with a time of 23.29 seconds. Smith took third in the high jump (5’ 8”).

Jobe Kerr’s time of 2:05.35 in the 400 meters earned him a spot on the podium in third place.

The Hartford girls’ varsity track and field team ended the day in eighth place with 27.5 points. Watervliet tied for 17th place with six points.

Hartford’s AJ Jackson was the only top three finisher in the girls’ division for our local schools. She finished second overall in the shot put. She set a new personal record with her 34’ 4” throw.

Division 3 track finals, hosted by Michigan High School Athletic Association, will be held Saturday, June 3 at Comstock Park.

Division 3 baseball districts set

 Division 3 district baseball opened Tuesday, May 30 with Coloma taking on Watervliet in first round action. The winner of that contest will face Lawton on Saturday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m.

Hartford received a first round bye.  They will face the Vikings of Bangor on Saturday, June 3 at noon.

The winners of both semi-final games will meet for the district championship at 2:00 p.m. Watervliet is the host site of the district tourney this year.

Watervliet soccer ends season 4-8-2; readies for districts

ROLL WITH IT… Trinity Crain of Watervliet’s varsity soccer team stops the ball last Thursday, as the Lady Panthers finished their regular season with a 7-0 road win over Co-vert. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Watervliet’s girls’ varsity soccer squad finished out their regular season last week by splitting the two games played.

The Lady Panthers hit the field Wednesday, May 24 and took on the Blue Devils of Lawton. Lawton shut out Watervliet 5-0.

The Blue Devils scored one goal in the first half of game. They added another four goals in the second half.

On Thursday, May 25, Watervliet traveled north on M-140 to Covert. Watervliet blanked the Bulldogs 7-0 to finish out their regular season with a decisive win.

Emma Kraklau scored four of her team’s goals. Karli McClendon netted her first goal of the season. Senior Casie Gohr scored one goal. Avalon Cramer pulled double duty during the game. She scored one goal and also spent 78 minutes as keeper for the Panthers. She did not allow a goal.

Watervliet ends their regular season with a 4-8-2 overall record (2-8 and in ninth place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference).

Hartford baseball hit hard – suffers four losses this week

 The Hartford varsity baseball team trudged through their final week of regular season baseball by suffering four losses on the road.

Hartford fell 14-4 and 5-4 to Kalamazoo Hackett Monday, May 22.

In the first game, Kalamazoo led 4-0 after the first inning, but Hartford drew to within one as they scored three runs in the second inning.

Kalamazoo scored one run in the third to make it 5-3. Hartford responded with one run in the fourth before Kalamazoo put up five runs. The rest of the scoring in the fifth and sixth innings went Kalamazoo’s way, and they won 14-4.

Hartford was led by Jake Griffith, Mike Boyd, and Buddy Earls at the plate, as each batter had two hits.

In the late game, Hartford fell 5-4 after a tough battle.  Kalamazoo led 4-3 after the first inning of play. They added another run in the second inning to take a 5-3 lead.

Hartford attempted a comeback rally in the fifth inning. The Indians scored one run but fell short in their attempt.

Jared Henslee led Hartford at the plate with three hits. Hunter Ackerman and Luke Manning each had two hits.

Manning pitched Hartford’s second game. He allowed five runs and struck out three batters.

Hartford hit the road again on Wednesday, May 24 and traveled to Bridgman for doubleheader action.

The early game found Hartford without any offense, as the Bees scored a 2-0 shutout of the Indians.

Hunter Ackerman pitched for Hartford. He allowed two runs on four hits.

Hartford’s offensive effort improved in the second game, but so did Bridgman’s. The Bees beat Hartford 9-2.

Bridgman held a 3-0 lead after the first inning and increased that to 6-0 after two. The Bees added another run in the fourth inning to take a 7-0 lead.

Hartford got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with two runs, but their effort was matched by Bridgman’s and the Bees led 9-2 through five innings.

Garrod Johnson led Hartford with two hits.

SURE SHOT… Hartford’s Abigail Lopez watches as the ball she kicked traveled into the net Wednesday, May 24 as the Indians faced Fennville at home during Senior Night. Lopez scored the first goal for Hart-ford but the squad would go on to suffer a 6-3 loss. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Coloma nets 13 goals in two-game win streak

NOWHERE TO RUN… Colo-ma’s Nicolle Larson checks second base as she gets caught in a rundown last Wednesday against Paw Paw. The Comet softball squad won 3-0. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


The soccer stars on Coloma’s varsity squad put together another stellar week on the field. Coloma beat Bangor 5-1 Monday, May 22 and shut out Schoolcraft 8-0 on Wednesday.

During Monday’s event, Mackenzie Ecker scored two goals, while Courtney Glass, Alyssa Bahr, and Katherine Pawluk each scored once.

Emma Vandermolen, Ecker, and Hannah Palmer were credited with assists.

Emma Watson was in as keeper for the Comets. She made three saves during the contest.

Wednesday’s game featured a plethora of scoring by the Lady Comets. Abby Blevins and Macayla Rodgers scored two goals each for Coloma.

Bahr, Emily Bolis, Emma Watson, and Pawluk got on the scoreboard with one goal each.

Bahr and Vandermolen each had two assists.  Grace Gagliardo and Ecker had one assist apiece.

Recording the shutout in goal were Watson and Bolis.

Coloma ended their regular season with a 4-6 Southwestern Athletic Conference record. They tied with Hartford for seventh place in the conference.

Watervliet baseball drops Dowagiac twice during Senior Night

LEFOR HITS THE DECK… Watervliet’s Ryan Lefor dives back to first base during the bottom of the seventh inning Monday, May 22. Lefor scored on a walk off double courtesy of teammate Bryant Kieft, as Watervliet defeated Decatur 1-0. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Watervliet baseball celebrated Senior Night Monday, May 22 by winning both cards of a doubleheader against Decatur.

In the first game, the two squads took a 0-0 game into the seventh innings.

Watervliet won the contest 1-0 on a walk off hit by Bryant Kieft that scored Ryan Lefor.

Garrett Matthews, on the mound for Watervliet, pitched the one-hitter ballgame. He struck out 10 batters.

In the late game, Watervliet shutout the Raiders 5-0.

The Panthers struck early and led 1-0 after the first inning. The bats were relatively quiet until the fourth inning when Watervliet scored two runs.

The Panthers picked up another run in the fifth and six to take the 5-0 victory, ending their regular season.

Jakob Aldrich pitched for Watervliet. He allowed just three hits and struck out six. Ryan Chisek picked up the save.

Watervliet finished the regular season 16-7 overall and 9-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division.

Coloma softball records three shutouts as their regular season ends

 Coloma softball continued to crank out the hits and post shutouts this week. The Lady Comets topped Grant 15-0 and 16-0 and Paw Paw 3-0 for the week.

Coloma traveled to Davenport University Monday, May 22 to take on Grant.

In the early contest, Coloma scored seven runs in the first inning, five in the second, and three in the fourth in the 15-0 shutout.

Skylar Crisenbery notched the win for Coloma. She allowed just one hit.

Coloma’s 15 runs came off 19 hits including Kayla Yore’s two singles, two triples, and two RBIs.

Morgan Wagner hit two doubles and scored two runs. Crisenbery stroked two singles and one double and scored two runs.

Jaidyn Hutsell smacked a double, while Mya Potter and Jenna Walter both hit three singles.

In the nightcap, Coloma recorded a 16-0 shutout, as Hutsell took the mound.

Coloma’s 16 runs came off 12 hits including doubles by Yore, Hutsell, Nicolle Larson, and Wagner.

Alyssa Dillenbeck blasted two doubles and scored three RBIs. Potter hit two singles.

In their final game of the regular season, Coloma hosted Paw Paw Wednesday, May 24.

The game was tied at zero through three innings. Coloma got on the board in the bottom of the fourth with two runs. The Comets added another run in the fifth inning in the 3-0 shutout.

Crisenbery pitched five innings and earned her 18th win of the season. She pitched five innings and struck out seven batters.  Crisenbery has just two losses on the season.

Hutsell led Coloma at the plate. She hit a single and double and scored two runs.

Wagner belted a single and double, while Dillenbeck had two singles.

Coloma ended their season with a 29-6 overall record. They won the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division crown with a perfect 12-0 record.

Indians shutout Bison, lose on Senior Night

 The Indians of Hartford enjoyed a 4-0 shutout on the soccer field over New Buffalo Monday, May 22.

Olivia Kling earned the clean sheet in the contest; she was in goal for Hartford.

Abigail Lopez dominated the field as she scored four goals, three in the first half of play and one in the second half. Jessica Cardoso was credited with one assist.

The Indians followed up that victory by hosting Fennville on Wednesday, May 24 as part of Hartford’s Senior Night.

The rain poured from the clouds and delayed the start of the game. Unfortunately, neither the rain nor the goals went Hartford’s way. The Indians lost 6-3 to the visiting Blackhawks.

Fennville led 4-2 at intermission.

Lopez, Madison Garland, and Alyssa Castillo scored one goal each for Hartford.  Marissa Beraza and Lopez were credited with assists.

The Indians tied Coloma in the Southwestern Athletic Conference for seventh place. Hartford closed out their regular season with a 4-6 conference record.

1ST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE DUFFERS… Three Watervliet golfers were named First Team All-Conference in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – West Division. Pictured (from the left) are: Isaac Workman, Trevor Townsend and Matt Lambrecht who received First Team honors.


Comet baseball grabs two wins from Grant but gets stung by Bees

 Coloma baseball finished their final week of regular season baseball with two wins and two losses.

On Monday, May 22 the Coloma squad faced Grant at Davenport University. Coloma won 16-3 and 11-1.

The first outing saw Coloma and Grant tied at one apiece after the first inning. Coloma scored three runs in the second inning and two in the third to take a 6-1 lead.

Both squads scored two runs in the fourth inning before Coloma put up a huge eight-run fifth inning to cap off the win.

Dylan LeClear pitched the complete game for the Comets. He allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked two. LeClear earned his sixth victory of the season.

Anthony Abbot hit three singles for Coloma, as Nick Eastman and Tevon Blazier both blasted a triple and scored two runs. Grant Kroschel hit two singles.

Game two found Coloma and Grant once again tied 1-1 after the first inning. In the second inning, Coloma’s bats did the talking, as they scored five runs. The Comets added another five runs in the fourth to win 11-1.

Calvin Starnes pitched four innings for Coloma. He allowed one run on two hits. He struck out eight and notched his seventh win of the season.

Hunter Crist pitched the final inning for Coloma. He allowed one hit and struck out two. Both pitchers walked one batter.

Starnes also led at the plate as he stroked a single and scored two runs. LeClear smacked a triple and scored one run in the winning effort.

Coloma faced Bridgman Friday, May 26 and got stung by the Bees in both contests.

Coloma lost the first game 9-2. The Comets bookended one run in the first and seventh innings but couldn’t match the offensive effort by the Bees.

Starnes went to the mound for four innings. He allowed two runs on two hits. He walked two batters and struck out five. Starnes was charged with the loss.

LeClear threw from the rubber for two innings. He allowed seven runs on four hits. He walked two batters.

Eastman finished up the pitching duties for Coloma. He went three outs and did not allow a hit.

Danny Najacht, LeClear, and Abbott hit a double and single apiece. Robbie Schroeder cranked out two singles.

The second game gave Coloma their second loss of the week. This time, the Bees battered Coloma 10-3. Coloma was behind the eight ball after a seven-run second inning gave Bridgman the 7-0 lead. The Comets mustered two runs in the fourth inning and one in the fifth inning but just could not top the Bees.

Mathew Kelley pitched one and two-third innings. He allowed seven runs on four hits. Kelley struck out two batters, walked four, and took the loss for Coloma.

Crist pitched three and one-third innings. He allowed three runs on four hits. He struck out two batters and walked two.

Coloma ended their regular season with a 23-13 overall record. They finished 10-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division. They share the division title with Saugatuck.

Hartford softball splits with Hackett, gets blasted by Bridgman

 Hartford’s varsity softball team took the field four times last week and ended their season with one win and three losses.

On Monday, May 22, Hartford traveled to Kalamazoo Hackett for two games. In a hard fought battle over seven innings, your Indians walked away with the 9-8 win.

An early 4-2 lead after the first inning put Hartford in a great position. Hackett, feeling the pressure, responded by adding four runs in the second inning to take the 6-4 lead.

The Indians added two runs to their total in the third inning, tying Hackett, 6-6. Each team ponied up one run in the fourth making it a 7-7 ball game. Hackett reclaimed the lead outright with a one-run fifth inning.

Hartford responded by scoring two runs in the sixth, giving them the 9-8 lead and eventual win.

Hartford had nine hits during the contest. Madison Earls was three for three at the plate and drove in three runs.

Megan Nelson pitched a complete game for the Indians. She allowed eight runs on nine hits while striking out six.

Game two found Hartford trailing early after Hackett scored runs in the first and second innings. The game was 5-0 through three innings. Hartford scored one run in the fourth and fifth innings.

Hackett scored three runs in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead. Hartford rallied for three runs in the seventh inning but fell short of claiming victory. Hackett won 8-5.

Hartford’s five runs came off 13 hits including an inside the park home run by Jaelyn Galvan.

Megan Nelson took the loss for Hartford. She allowed eight runs on 12 hits and struck out eight.

The Indian tribe traveled to Bridgman Wednesday, May 24 for their final regular season doubleheader. The Indians lost both contests, 3-0 and 13-3.

In the first outing, Hartford was held scoreless through seven innings. The Indians did get five hits in the contest.

Bridgman scored one run in the third inning and two in the fifth.

Amara Wesaw got the call for Hartford. She took the loss on the mound.

Game two found Hartford’s bats cracking a bit better but not enough to top Bridgman.

Hartford scored one run in the first, but a four-run outing by Bridgman gave the Bees the early lead.

Bridgman added two runs in the fourth and seven in the fifth. The Indians scored two runs in the fifth to trail 13-3.

Hartford closed out the regular season with an 8-4 conference record and third place in the SAC standings.

Watervliet softball perfect 6-0 week

 Watervliet softball celebrated the final week of the regular season by scoring six wins.

BEST FOOT FORWARD… Celina Klimkiewicz pitched the final two innings on May 22 in the Lady Panthers’ 13-7 victory over visiting Decatur. In addi-tion to her duties on the rubber, Klimkiewicz hit a double in the sixth inning and drove in three runs. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


On Monday, May 22, the squad defeated Decatur 13-7 and 4-2 in spectacular Senior Night fashion.

The early game found Watervliet holding a 7-1 lead after two innings. The Lady Panthers added two runs in the third and fourth innings. Decatur scored one run in the fourth and trailed Watervliet 11-2.

The Raiders scored four runs in the fifth to take the game to 11-6. Watervliet responded with a two-run sixth inning, increasing their lead to 13-6. Decatur’s last ditch effort resulted in a one-run seven inning. Too little, too late.

Ariana Rowe pitched from the rubber for Watervliet. She commanded the game for five innings and allowed six runs and struck out five.

Celina Klimkiewicz pitched the last two innings of the game. She allowed one run.

Top hitters for the Lady Panthers included Mercede Daugherty with a home run and two RBIs. Kara Liles smoked a double and triple while driving in four runs.

Zoe Smith hit two doubles and scored one run.  Klimkiewicz belted a double with three RBIs. Logan Mizwicki hit a double and drove in one run. Taylor Shafer scored two runs and hit a single.

The evening contest closer, but Watervliet walked away with the 4-2 win and sweep of the Raiders.

Watervliet scored a run in the first inning and three in the third for the win.

Klimkiewicz hit the mound for three innings for the Panthers. Liles pitched the final four innings in relief.

Mizwicki hit a double that scored two runs. Rowe hit two singles and had one RBI. Liles stroked a double.

Friday found Watervliet at home welcoming the Bridgman Bees to the diamond. The Panthers played two strong games against a very good Bridgman team and swept the doubleheader.

Watervliet shutout Bridgman 3-0 in the first game. Liles took the mound for Watervliet and earned her 12th win of the season.

Watervliet scored one run in the first inning and two in the fifth. Rowe had one RBI single. Taylor Shafer and Liles also scored one run apiece.

The late game featured a Watervliet win in extra innings as the teams battled for the lead.

The squads were tied at two apiece in the seventh inning. In their half of the eighth, Bridgman scored one run. Watervliet, up to bat in the bottom of the eight, put two runs on the board for the win.

It was Grace Smith who singled home Zoe Smith in the walk off hit to end the game.

Rowe threw eight innings for Watervliet. She allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out six.

Zoe Smith led the Panthers at the plate. She hit a triple and had two RBIs.

Rowe hit a single and triple and scored one run. Grace Smith hit an RBI single.

The Panthers played two games against River Valley on Saturday, May 27 to end their regular season. Watervliet won both contests, 5-2 and 5-4.

Game one found River Valley leading 1-0 after the first inning and 2-0 after the third inning.

Watervliet bounced back in the fourth inning with five runs to take the lead.

Celina Klimkiewicz picked up the win for Watervliet. She pitched seven innings, allowed two runs and six hits and struck out six.

Shafer hit a double and had two RBIs. Emalie Gitersonke belted a double and drove in one run. Celina Klimkiewicz tallied two singles and scored one run.

Theresa Skogen had an RBI single, while Sabrina Klimkiewicz and Zoe Smith both hit two singles.

The last game of the six-game stand ended with a 5-4 Watervliet win.

The Lady Panthers led 3-0 after the second inning and 5-0 after the third. But, a pesky River Valley offense wouldn’t let go of the game.

River Valley scored two runs in the fourth inning and thus the Mustangs began chipping away at the Panthers’ lead.

River Valley made it a 5-3 ball game in the sixth inning. The squad added one more run in the seventh before Watervliet could close out the game for the 5-4 win.

Liles got the win on the mound and Rowe picked up the save. Liles allowed four runs on four hits and struck out four.

Skogen and Zoe Smith each recorded one single and drove in one run for Watervliet.

The Panthers ended their regular season with a 27-7 overall record and were 10-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division.

BEST FOOT FORWARD… Celina Klimkiewicz pitched the final two innings on May 22 in the Lady Panthers’ 13-7 victory over visiting Decatur. In addi-tion to her duties on the rubber, Klimkiewicz hit a double in the sixth inning and drove in three runs. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Blessing of the Bikes on June 10

 Harbor Sports Cycle and Christian Motorcycle Association’s local chapter Prayer Re-Riders #705 has announced a free blessing of the bikes event on June 10 at Harbor Sports Cycle.

According to the press release, registration begins at 10:00 a.m. with the blessing to follow at 11:45.  The ride begins at noon with a Berrien County Sheriff’s Department escort.

Harbor Sports is hosting the event at 2188 M-139 in Benton Harbor.

“The annual Blessing of the Bikes event provides an opportunity for all motorcycle riders to have their bikes blessed for a safe riding season,” Chaplain Bill Bridgman stated.

For more information please contact chapter president Paul “Ziggy” Gregory at (630) 561-2507 or Bridgman at (269) 944-9568.

Hooterville Hitters seeking players for July 1 game

The Hooterville Hitters, Watervliet’s own vintage baseball team, is seeking local players to join the roster for its only game of the season.

The Hitters will take the field Saturday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m. at Hays Park. The Hitters will face the House of David Echoes as part of Watervliet’s 4th of July festivities.

Please email Kristy Noack at kristynoack@gmail.com or visit the Hitters’ facebook page at www.facebook.com/HootervilleHitters if you are interested in playing.

No experience or talent required!

Free youth girls’ basketball camp

 Coloma Jr. High coaches are running a FREE youth girls’ basketball camp at the Coloma High School gym the week of Monday, June 12 through Thursday, June 15, 2017 (4 days).

Girls going into grades 3 through 5 will start at 8:30 a.m. and run until 10:00 a.m.  Girls going into grades 6 through 8 will run from 10:00 a.m. until noon. The younger girls will work mainly on the basic skills needed – dribbling, passing, moving the feet with and without the ball, and the basics of shooting. The 6th through 8th grade girls will start the first two days with same skill development, then move onto skills needed to run this coming year’s team offenses and defenses.

Remember this is a free clinic and it will certainly help when it comes time for tryouts for junior high teams and youth leagues next winter. For more information email Coach Cade at coachcade@comcast.net or call 269-202-4445.

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