06-06-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma Comet girls win first ever soccer district title

The Coloma Comet girls soccer team, coached by Rick Redman, won their first ever District 3 soccer title last week. They defeated Paw Paw in the championship game by a final score of 6-4. It was a hard fought victory for the Comet ladies as they battled the Paw Paw team to a 2-2 tie at halftime.

The second half was a different story however, as the Coloma squad came out firing. They ran over the Redskins in the second half by a 4-2 score, as they outshot Paw Paw 15-12 for the game. Cali Grenon came up huge for the Comets once again as she hit the back of the net for three goals.

The rest of the scoring was spread out as Hannah Guntz, Grace Gagliardo, and Addy Kimmerly each added a goal to the total. Kimmerly also was credited with two assists, along with Guntz and Emma Vandermolen who assisted on one goal each. Emma Watson stopped eight shots on goal as the Comet goalie.

CROWNING MOMENT… The Co-loma girls’ varsity soccer team claimed the Division 3 district cham-pionship trophy May 30 after top-ping Paw Paw 6-4 in the finals. The Comets notched a first round shutout victory 8-0 over Constantine and beat Buchanan in the semi-finals also by an 8-0 shutout on the road to the championship game.

The Comets reached the championship game by defeating Constantine 8-0 and Buchanan by the same 8-0 score. In the Buchanan game, Grace Gagliardo and Cali Grenon each scored three big goals, with Emma Vandermolen and Mackenzie Ecker each scoring one.

The Comets took an overall 18-2-1 record to Hope College on Tuesday, June 4, to face Allegan in the regional semifinal. Look for the full story on this game in next week’s Tri-City Record.

Comet softball ladies keep the ball rolling, score just enough runs to win fourth straight district title

The Coloma Comet softball team of Wendy Goodline did not have an easy time at all playing in their District 3 at Bloomingdale. With their number one pitcher Megan Koenigshof back in top form, and a solid defense behind her, Coloma rolled to their fourth consecutive district title.

Coloma opened with an extremely tense contest against Red Arrow opponent Hartford, and just squeaked out a 3-2 nine inning win. With Koenigshof on the mound for the Comets, and striking out a total of 20 batters on the night, the two teams were locked in a pitcher’s duel with no score for the first eight innings. The Comets finally got a run on the board as Hannah Mathis slapped a single to knock in the first run of the game. Megan Neubecker followed that up with a solid single to center which plated two more for Coloma, and those insurance runs would prove to be the difference.

The Indians were not ready to roll over and scored two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. They had the tying and winning runs on base when Koenigshof finally shut the door on the Hartford ladies. The Coloma girls had plenty of runners on the base paths, but could not get the big hit. The Hartford pitcher was matching Megan.

Top hitters for Coloma were Koenigshof with three singles, Mathis a single and one big RBI, Neubecker two hits and two RBI, Sam Stewart had three single knocks, as Kelsey Ellis and Phoebe Browne each contributed a double.

Coloma then defeated the host Bloomingdale Cardinals 10-0 in a game that started on Saturday, but Mother Nature showed up with some thunder boomers and a hard steady rainfall. The game was finally completed on Tuesday, June 3. Megan Koenigshof once again picked up the win on the mound, as Megan Neubecker and Gracie Whitaker supported her on offense.

The title game came down to the Comets facing their neighborhood rival Watervliet Panthers. Like the Hartford game, this was a game dominated by the pitchers and runs were few and far between. With Koenigshof once again toeing the slab for Coloma, Megan held the Panthers to three scattered hits in shutting them out. She was again backed up by a solid defensive effort.

Coloma had just enough offense to put a single run on the board in the third inning and another one in the fifth. They come away with a 2-0 victory and another district trophy for the Comet trophy case.

Top hitters for Coloma were Koenigshof and Megan Neubecker, who both had a single and a double. Gracie Whitaker knocked out a pair of singles.

The Comet girls will be hosting the regionals at the Coloma diamond on Saturday, June 8. They will take a 23-12 record into their semi final game against Delton Kellogg at 12 p.m. Schoolcraft will face Centreville in the other semi final game starting at 10 a.m. The championship game is slated for 2 p.m.

Cole Alsup finished 7th in discus at State Championships

Cole Alsup, the Coloma Comet junior, capped off a fantastic year finishing seventh in the discus at the Division 3 state track championships on Saturday, June 1. He had a toss of 149 feet 3 inches. Cole is now an all state competitor in three different sports, including wrestling and football to his track accomplishment. Cole still has his senior season to look forward to, and one can only imagine what another year of training and growing will do for this fine young athlete.

Comet baseball loses in district final to Watervliet

Coach VanPeteghem’s Coloma Comet baseball team defeated Bloomingdale 5-2 and Hartford 5-3 to make it to the District 3 championship game. Watervliet Panthers proved to be too much for Coloma to handle as they put up eight first inning runs. Coach V kept trotting out new pitchers. None of them seemed to have an answer for the Panther bats that were on fire as Coloma’s season comes to an end.

Pickleball lessons offered in Coloma

Community members are invited to learn the fastest growing sport in America! Free beginning pickleball lessons will be offered on Saturdays, June 8, 15, and 22, beginning at 9 a.m. Lessons take place at the Coloma High School tennis/pickleball courts. Equipment is provided. Participants should wear tennis shoes, be dressed to move, and bring their own water. Please pre-register by calling 468-4639.

Regular pickleball open play times at the Coloma courts are Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m., and Fridays at 9:00 a.m.

SO SOFTBALL SWEET! The Colo-ma varsity softball team captured the Division 3 District 77 champion-ship title Monday after defeating Watervliet in the finals 2-0. The Lady Comets opened the tourney with a 3-2 victory over Hartford and followed that with a 10-0 win over Bloomingdale that started Saturday, was stopped due to rain, and concluded Monday.

Press Box Player of the week

By John Oliphant

Our Press Box Player of the Week is Watervliet senior Celina Klimkiewicz.

Celina finished the 2019 regular season in impressive style, being called on as the starting pitcher on the Panther Varsity Softball team in eight games over a span of seven days. During that span she faced 223 batters in 50.1 innings pitched, throwing 665 pitches and striking out 49 batters while walking just three. As if that wasn’t enough, she led the offense by batting .462 in 39 at-bats, striking out just one time and scoring 13 runs.

Celina has been playing softball for 15 years, and she’s not done just yet. After taking a break from sports this summer she’ll be attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College to pursue a degree in special education. She will also be a part of the KVCC softball team.

Despite her prowess as a pitcher, her favorite position is shortstop. Whether fielding, batting, or pitching, she said she tries to play hard and forget about mistakes quickly.

Celina was also the point guard on the basketball team, often finishing as the top scorer.

She said that despite being part of a young softball team this year they fought hard, and grew as they had a lot of fun together this season.

Congratulations, Celina!

This past Friday, Hartford seniors, including many student-athletes, made their way across the stage to receive their diplomas as the newest graduates of Hartford High School. With that, it means that the high school sports season is officially waning in the Southwest Michigan sunset. This week brought postseason competition for all four sports, with each team and individual having as good of a chance as anyone to take a respective crown. With their seasons on the line, Hartford’s student-athletes needed to show their best effort and rise to the occasion.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford Baseball ends tough season in district semifinals

The Hartford Indian Varsity Baseball team played in two games last week, including a game that came in district play. It has been a season that has featured a roller-coaster of emotions, with the team playing very well at times, but also having their platter full of hardships. With the team entering the postseason, and one loss away from their season ending, they knew that if they had that one special run left in them, it needed to happen – and happen now.

In Tuesday night’s game against Lawrence, the two teams played a single-game. In that contest, Hartford fell behind early and could never recover, with the Indians falling to the host Tigers by a score of 5-1. The Indians only managed one hit in the entire contest.

In Saturday afternoon’s district semifinal game against Coloma, the Comets started fast, as they scored runs in the first inning (two), second inning (one) and fourth inning (one) to grab a 4-0 lead over the Indians through four innings. However, Mother Nature made her presence known, as thunderstorms moved into the area, suspending the game.

When play resumed, the Comets scored another run in the fifth inning to take a 5-0 lead. Hartford began a rally in the sixth inning, as the Indians scored two runs in the frame to cut the lead to 5-2 with an inning remaining. After holding Coloma scoreless in their half of the inning, the Indians gave themselves a shot with three outs left. They scored one run in the seventh inning to cut the lead to two, but could not muster anymore runs, and fell in this game, 5-3, ending their season.

The Hartford Indian Baseball team finishes the 2019 season with a record of 12 wins and 16 losses. The Indians will be losing five seniors as the season concludes, and their leadership will be missed. However, next spring, a young group will return to the field, and will be tasked with continuing the culture of Indian Baseball success. Congratulations on a solid season, men!

Hartford Softball endures heartbreaking extra inning loss to end season

The Hartford Indian Softball team was back on the softball diamonds last week, but it also brought those dreaded “one loss and you’re done” games. That’s because the team entered postseason play, and with that, came a date with defending state champion, Coloma, right off the bat. The Lady Indians came in with a record above the .500 mark, and with the team at full strength coming in that meant the ladies would be giving opponents their “A” game.

In Tuesday night’s pre-district contest against Coloma, which was played at Bloomingdale, the Lady Indians and the Lady Comets played to a 0-0 tie through eight innings. However, in the top of the ninth inning, Coloma scored three runs to take a 3-0 lead, leaving Hartford three outs to try to tie or win the game. The Lady Indians scored two runs in the bottom half of the ninth to cut the lead to 3-2, but could not muster the tying or winning runs, leaving Hartford one run short, and ending their season much too prematurely.

Karly Manning took the loss in the circle for Hartford. She pitched the complete game, giving up three runs on thirteen hits, walking one and striking out eleven. On offense, Hartford was led by Alexis Griffith, who had a 2-for-4 day hitting. On defense, Jaelyne Galvan led the team with plays in the field, with thirteen. The team committed no errors.

The Hartford Indian Softball team finishes the 2019 season with a record of 21 wins and 15 losses. The Lady Indians suffer the loss of five seniors to graduation, but with plenty of talent coming back, as well as the development of players at the Junior Varsity level, things couldn’t look brighter for this group going forward. Congratulations on a great season, ladies!

Hartford Girls Soccer suffers shootout defeat in district championship

The Hartford Indian Girls Soccer team was back on the soccer pitch last week, and like their bat-and-ball counterparts, were enthralled with postseason action. The ladies took part in a district hosted by Saugatuck, which featured many of the same teams from last year, when they fell in the district semifinals. With the success the boys’ team has had in postseason competition, the girls were looking to start their own postseason run, starting with a district championship.

In Wednesday night’s district semifinal against Lawton, a team they had beat 5-1 just a week prior, Hartford dominated from start to finish for the second straight meeting, marching on to the district finals with a convincing 6-nil victory. The Lady Indians led 4-nil at the half and added two goals in the second half to bring the score to the final margin of victory. Abigail Lopez stole the headlines with her five goal effort, which also included an assist. Her five goals was a season-high, and of which put her at 29 total goals for the season.

Mercedes Requenes added the sixth Hartford goal, and also tallied an assist, on her stat line. Madison Hays added an assist for the Lady Indians, while Mary Pultz made two saves in goal to record a shutout.

In Saturday afternoon’s district final against Holland Black River, the competition was intense from start-to-finish, with neither team relinquishing any ground on the soccer pitch. The game was tied at nil after regulation time, and after a thirty-minute overtime period could not break the scoreless tie, the game went into a shootout and penalty kicks.

Ultimately, the Lady Indians could not pull out the victory in the shootout, and suffered a tough loss to the Lady River Rats, 1-nil, in the shootout. It was Holland Black River’s third straight district championship, but it wasn’t without a fight – and Hartford fans should be proud of the effort this team showed throughout the regular season and these two postseason contests.

The Hartford Indian Girls Soccer team finishes the season with a record of 10 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie. The Lady Indians will be a force to watch next season, with their leading scorer returning for her senior season, along with many others that make up the nucleus of this up-and-coming team. Congratulations on a fantastic winning season, ladies!

Hartford track teams featured in Division 3 State Championships

The Hartford Indian Track teams finished their season last week, but three individuals were still running and throwing during the week. That was mostly in preparation of competing in last Saturday’s MHSAA Division 3 State Championships, hosted by Jenison. These three individuals qualified for state competition two weeks ago at the regional meet, but they knew the competition level took a big jolt upward. They would be competing against the state’s best.

On the boys’ side, Hartford senior Riley Traver concluded his stellar career by finishing in a tie for 23rd in the 100 Meter Dash, with a time of 11.75 seconds, and by finishing 17th in the 200 Meter Dash, with a time of 23.52 seconds. Traver will continue his track career by running for Lake Superior State University next spring.

On the girls’ side, Hartford sophomore Nautica Covington finished in a tie for 10th in the Shot Put, throwing it a distance of 35 feet, 6 inches. In addition, freshman Khashya McCoy took 19th place in the 300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles with her time of 51.69 seconds.

Congratulations to the Hartford Indian Track teams on your terrific seasons!

As always, GO INDIANS!

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther baseball bats come alive to beat Coloma for district title

The Panther baseball team used a seventh-inning rally to beat Bangor then pounded out 13 hits in three innings against Coloma to win the District Championship on Monday, June 3. The Panthers were looking for a little revenge after last year’s loss to Coloma in the district opener and ended up getting a lot of it with a 16-1 victory over the Comets.

WATERVLIET WITH THE CHAMPIONSHIP W! The Watervliet varsity baseball team won the Division 3 District 77 championship in stunning fashion Monday evening after an impressive 16-1 victory over Coloma in Bloomingdale. Watervliet received a first round bye in the tourney and then held on for a 6-4 win over Ban-gor before claiming the championship.

The Panthers came into the championship game fired up after being forced to change dugouts between games. They quickly loaded the bases in the top of the first inning before Jordan Angelo hit a sharp single to left field to drive in the game’s first two runs. Three batters later Tommy Swanson hit a single to score two more. The Panthers were off and running, scoring a total of eight runs in the inning.

The Comets replied with a pair of doubles to score a run in their half of the first, but the Panthers piled on seven more runs in the second inning to take an insurmountable 15-1 lead. Jakob Aldrich had four RBI and Andrew Chisek had four hits in the game, which was called by rule after three innings. Garrett Matthews pitched two innings to get the win.

This is the Panther’s first district title since 2017. They advanced to a regional matchup against Bronson on Wednesday in Union City.

In their first game the Panthers were losing 4-2 and down to their last out in the seventh inning. That’s when Chisek, who was pitching and smothering the Vikings, knocked in two runs with a single to tie it up at 4-4. Matthews then hit a double to score Chisek for the go-ahead run, and they added another run on an error. Chisek was nearly perfect on the mound in relief, collecting seven strikeouts in 2.2 innings to earn the win and the chance to take on Coloma.

Panther Softball loses district final to Coloma

The Lady Panthers put up a fight, but lost the district final matchup 2-0 to the defending state champion Comets. The Panthers managed just three hits against Comet pitcher Megan Koenigshof, who faced just one batter over the minimum.

The Panthers beat Bangor in their first game of the day, 22-1. They pounded the Vikings in the top of the first, scoring 13 runs before the home team had a single at-bat. Emalie Gitersonke had a two-run home run in her second plate appearance in the first inning.

Coach Tom Golden’s young team finishes the season at 19-19.

Girls soccer loses district semifinal 2-0

The Panther girls soccer team took on New Buffalo in the Division 4 district semifinal last week. The evenly matched teams played a scoreless first half, but then the Bison scored twice to grab the momentum and held on for a 2-0 win.

Sophomore Alex Hays continued to play well in the net, making five saves in seven shots on goal. Danyel Munson was the top defensive player. While their season ends with the tough loss, coach Dave Armstrong noted that the team’s seniors, Emma Kraklau, Katherine Schmidt, Emma Armstrong, Trinity Crain, and Victoria Smith leave as the winningest girls soccer team in school history, finishing the season with a 6-10-1 record.

Panther Track honors

The young Panther track teams held their post-season awards banquets last week. On the girl’s side, senior Emma Yazel ran away with the Most Valuable Player award for her performances in the hurdles, long jump, and middle-distance relays. The Most Improved Player award was given to freshman Amy Eisen for her performance throwing the shot put and discus.

For the boys, MVP honors were shared by Austin Roberts and Ezra Troyer. Senior Roberts was a top performer in the sprints and middle-distance relays. Sophomore Troyer mainly ran the middle and long distances. The Most Improved Player was awarded to freshman long distance runner German Casiano.

Three seniors earned Panther Awards, which are given to athletes who participated in track every year since the seventh grade. The 2019 recipients were Roberts, Yazel, and Caley Simmons.

Watervliet grad third in NCAA tourney

Watervliet graduate from 2017, Mercede Daugherty, recently completed her sophomore softball season at Trine University, where her Thunder team finished third place in the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championships. Daugherty was the star in the first tournament game when she scored the lone run in a 1-0 victory over Illinois Wesleyan. In dramatic fashion, she hit her sixth home run of the season against one of the top Division III pitchers, Ally Wiegand, who came into the game with an incredible 0.40 ERA in 183 innings pitched.

Prior to the tournament Daugherty was named to the NCAA Division III All-Region team for the central region. For the season she batted .305 and led the team with 16 doubles, also finish