06-14-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

It took two days but the Lady Comets got it done! The varsity softball squad, winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and district champion, won the Division 3 Region 20 championship crown Sunday, June 10.

Action began Saturday, June 9 on the fields at host Buchanan. In the 10:00 a.m. game, Constantine shutout Schoolcraft 3-0 and earned a berth in the championship game.

In the noon game which had a delayed start time due to rain in the early game, Coloma won the toss against opponent Jonesville and opted to bat first.

Good call. The Comets scored four runs in the first inning and went on to record the 11-0 shutout.

It was a humdinger of a first inning for Coloma. The Comets sent eight batters to the plate in their half.

Megan Koenigshof had a leadoff single and Kayla Yore blasted an RBI triple to get the scoring rolling.

In the second inning, Koenigshof had another single and moved to second when the ball was called dead.  Yore stroked a popup that fell in for a single. Morgan Wagner hit a two-run single, giving the Comets the 6-0 lead.

Mya Potter singled in a run and then reached third on errors but was stranded as the inning ended.

Coloma added two runs in the third inning off the bats of Mika Anderson and Koenigshof to take the score to 9-0.

Yore was back at it again the sixth inning; she had a leadoff double. Wagner was walked, and Jaidyn Hutsell had a sacrifice to score Yore.  A Jonesville passed ball scored Wagner as the Comets tallied 11.

Jonesville was unable to score in the sixth inning and the game was over.

Skylar Crisenbery pitched for Coloma and got the win. She allowed just two hits and struck out five.

Col     4 3 2 | 0 0 2         11    11    0

Jon     0 0 0 | 0 0 0           0      2    3

WAVE RUNNER… Coloma varsity softball coach Wendy Goodline waves leadoff hitter Megan Koenigshof home Saturday in the first inning of the Comets’ regional semi-final game against Jonesville. Coloma shut out Jonesville 11-0 to move onto the regional championship game. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma and Constantine were ready, willing, and able to play but Mother Nature had a different plan in mind. Following a substantial downpour, the championship game was called and rescheduled to Sunday, June 10. It was also moved from the field at Buchanan to the turf at Lakeshore.

The Comets claimed the regional championship trophy following their 5-1 trouncing of the Cardinals.

Jaidyn Hutsell took the mound for Coloma. She allowed one run on six hits and struck out nine.

Coloma scored one run in the first inning of play, but it was the third inning that held the magic for Coloma.

Hannah Mathis and Koenigshof both blasted triples, and Kayla Yore rounded out the effort with a double, as the Comets scored two runs.

Constantine’s only run of the game came in the third inning, but Coloma maintained the 3-1 lead.

The Comets scored one run in the sixth and seventh innings, with Morgan Wagner belting a home run for Coloma’s fifth and final run.

Coloma finished the regular season ranked #2 in Division 3 according to the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association. They tangled with Stanton Central Montcalm in the Division 3 state quarter-finals Tuesday at Davenport University in Grand Rapids.  Results of that contest will be available in next week’s Tri-City Record Press Box.

Col     1 0 2 | 0 0 1 | 1      5      8    1

Con    0 0 1 | 0 0 0 | 0       1     6    2

Coloma baseball falls in regional competition

Division 3 regional baseball action was the only thing that heated up over the weekend at host Buchanan. The wet, rainy weather caused numerous rain delays and a complete washout of games scheduled for noon on Saturday.

Coloma, the district champions, faced off against Homer in the 10:00 a.m. Saturday, June 9 matchup. The teams endured two different weather delays that had the game backed up by 45 minutes before concluding.

The Comets depended on plenty of strong defensive plays, especially from starting pitcher Calvin Starnes, to win the game 1-0. Their only run of the game came not off multiple hits but due to an error by their opponent.

Starnes threw the complete game for Coloma. He pitched seven innings, allowed no runs and three hits. Starnes struck out seven.

Coloma did not commit an error in the contest. Homer, however, committed two, including the biggest which allowed the lone Coloma run to score.

Coloma head coach Kevin VanPeteghem commented, “Saturday was a tremendous day against Homer. Calvin pitched an outstanding game and after throwing a one-hit shutout the week before against #3 ranked Watervliet, he came back with a 3-hit shutout against #2 Homer.

“Our only run of the game came in the first inning and was a hustle and execution run where Ethan Price got a hustle out of the box double, Nathan Wilder bunted him to third, and then Homer made a wild pickoff throw to third because of their concern that we may try a squeeze play.

“It was a tremendous win against a storied baseball school, and we played tremendous defense continuing our streak in post-season play of having only made one error through three games of district play and the regional semi-final.”

Hom   0 0 0 | 0 0 0 | 0     0    3    2

Col     1 0 0 | 0 0 0 | x     1    4    1

STRETCH… Coloma’s Ian Ishmael stretches full out as he dives back to first base during the Comets’ game against Homer Saturday. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Following the win, Schoolcraft and Buchanan suited up for the other regional semi-final game. That contest was called due to rain in the fifth inning with the score tied 4-4.

The game was pushed to Sunday and the venue changed to Lakeshore due to the field conditions at Buchanan.

Schoolcraft sent Buchanan packing with the 6-4 victory. That meant the Eagles would face the Comets in the regional championship game.

Coloma has often struggled this season to put up big hits and runs, and Sunday afternoon was no different. Kevin Hearn stroked Coloma’s only hit of the game.

Additionally, Starnes didn’t take the mound, and the difference in pitching was palpable.

Coloma was rocked for 15 runs on nine hits as they were shutout by Schoolcraft, 15-0, in the mercy-rule shortened game.

Taking the mound – and the loss – for Coloma was Price. He was assisted by Hunter Crist and Nick Eastman.

“Sunday, unfortunately, we could not keep the momentum,” VanPeteghem shared. “The things we had been doing well just didn’t continue in that game. We walked a lot of batters, made errors, didn’t make other plays that we had been making and it just snow-balled in a hurry.

“It’s strange to say in a lopsided loss, but we had a man on first with one out in the first and the Schoolcraft center fielder made an outstanding catch on a ball off the bat of Calvin Starnes that  would have been a run-scoring triple. They just grabbed momentum from there.  We just didn’t throw strikes and, to their credit, Schoolcraft took advantage.”

The Comets end their season with an 18-17 record and district championship title.

Col      0 0 0                    0    1    2

Sch     3 8 4                   15    9    2

Open letter to fans of high school sports

The intent – my intent – of the weekly Press Box column is to report the scores, stats, and successes (and sometimes heartbreaks) of the Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet varsity sports programs. This column is seldom written with a personal slant save for my yearly Top Five Moments of the Year column in July.

My reporting is done with a preponderance of care, to facts and actions and, above all else, to the kids who play the games.

STRONG, ARMED… Coloma pitcher Skylar Crisenbery strong-armed the ball across the plate Saturday as the Comets’ produced two big wins over Jonesville and Constantine to take the regional softball championship. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

I recognize that all of these players who grace the sports pages of the TCR are kids. They are kids who sometimes struggle to study or fail a test or get in trouble or stay out too late or have to work two jobs to help out at home. Other times, they ace an exam, are crowned king and queen of Winterfest, or land that perfect part-time job. But, in all scenarios on and off the court or field or track, they are kids.

That is why the behavior Saturday of some of the Homer fans left me angry, cringing, and embarrassed; but, mostly just angry.

The first rain delay of the game came in the third inning. It was a short, almost 20-minute delay. Areas of the infield were redressed by Buchanan field crews and the game continued.

Following a subsequent 30-minute weather delay due to lightning and rain, the field was once again redressed with sand being added to areas on the mound and at first base and home plate.

Homer took the field and faced Comet batters. Then, it was Coloma’s turn on defense.

Calvin Starnes resumed his pitching duties for the Comets. While facing the second Homer batter of the inning, Starnes called time out. Following discussion with coaches and the umpires, additional dirt was distributed and raked across the mound by the field crew.

Prior to the time out, anyone watching Starnes could see that he was sliding down the mound every time he planted his foot following his windup. I’m guessing, but it seems plausible to me that in an effort to prevent any injury to Starnes, the fix was necessary. It was also legal.

You could not tell that by the reaction and ensuing vocal chants by some Homer fans. While I will not repeat the more “colorful” words spewing from the mouths of grown adults, I will say that there was name calling and there were taunts. And a majority of these were directed at an 18-year-old kid, by adults. Adults who should know better, adults who would raise holy hell if someone spoke to their child the way they were speaking to someone else’s. Adults who failed to act as such.

The behavior of some of those Homer fans was many things – hurtful, hateful, unnecessary, and disappointing. Most of all, it was sad; sad because they were taunting a kid.

Figuratively, on the other side of the situation stood one man, a Homer fan as well. He was leaning up against the equipment shed, listening, watching. He heard the same things I did. Whereas I kept quiet, he did not.

He didn’t return the vitriol coming from the fold-out camp chairs and umbrella-holding parents, and what he said wasn’t heard by more than a handful of his fellow fans. But, the fact that he said it quieted those around him. He commented, “I’d do the same thing,” referencing Starnes’ call for time out.

He went on to say out loud that the Homer pitcher could have asked for more sand. He pondered out loud that perhaps his pitcher didn’t need the mound drier because he had a different landing spot and wasn’t sliding.  He considered out loud that calling for dirt wasn’t a big deal and it probably wasn’t part of some grand master plan to shut down the Homer momentum.

The field crew exited the area of play, Starnes threw one pitch, and the play resumed. And make no mistake Starnes threw one heck of a game that afternoon. Not because he derailed Homer momentum. Not because he called for sand. Not because the brief time out gave him an opportunity to rest his arm. He threw one heck of a game because he is just that good.

FOUL SHOT… Coloma’s Ethan Price fouls a ball off his bat Saturday as the Comets faced Homer in regional semi-final play. The Comets won the contest 1-0 but fell in the championship game 15-0 to Constantine. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The fans of Homer who knocked Starnes and the Comets should be ashamed of themselves. They won’t be, I know this. And while that’s unfortunate, it’s also a good reminder that sportsmanship is important on the field and on the sidelines. It’s imperative that the parents and coaches lead that charge and set that example.

And, yes, I get being competitive and caught up in the moment. I, like most adults, also understand that kids play for the love of the game and parents – all parents – should cheer for the love of the kids. Not just theirs, but all.

SHOULDERING THROUGH… Morgan Wagner, the Coloma catcher, bats a ball down Saturday during the second inning against Jonesville. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Calling All Summer Sports Stars!

With high school varsity sports seasons ending at Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet, the Press Box Player of the Week will now focus on community rec ball and soccer, volleyball, and basketball camp players.

Parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents: please submit your nominations to tcrpressbox@gmail.com for the summer Press Box Players of the Week. Send in a photo of the child in uniform as well as why they should be the player of the week. Summer sport athletes will be selected at random, and their photo and bio will be featured in the sports section of the Tri-City Record.

Submit your nominations today! Varsity athletes will return to the fold in late August when fall sports return for the 2018-19 school year.

Hartford 5 and 10K provides (Straw)berry good time

The streets of Hartford were filled Saturday morning with very energetic – and weather watching – participants as the town hosted the 40th annual strawberry run.

Athletes had the option of participating in a non-competitive 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, and one-mile fun run.

Nick Kaley of Watervliet was the overall winner of the 5K run. He completed the course in 19:43.  Eau Claire’s Santiago Banda Jr. finished second (19:59).

Randy Marsh of South Bend, Indiana finished third (20:05). Lauren Delfeld of Gurnee, Illinois was the first female finisher; she had a time of 20:13 and took fourth place overall.

Decatur’s Ted Peterson took fifth (20:31), and Hartford’s Jody Williford was sixth (20:37). Hartford’s Chad Baird finished seventh (20:46).

Paw Paw’s Aaron Hayes took eighth place with a time of 20:48. Watervliet’s Page Eisbrenner’s time of 20:51 was good for ninth place. Benjamin Munoz ran the event in 20:56 to round out the top 10.

Cathy Kimbler finished the non-competitive walk with a time of 35:43. Hartford’s Ellie Galvan completed the course in 36:08. Marlesa Johnson of Paw Paw’s time was 39:42.  Hartford’s Ron Dixon finished in 39:57.

Tara Smith, from San Juan, Texas, had a time of 40:36. Kris Stakley and Bruce Gelbaugh finished the course with times of 42:27 and 43:19, respectively.

Jessica Greyerbiehl, of St. Joe, and Tammera Greyerbiehl, of Sandusky, were eighth and ninth, respectively, and finished in the same time of 43:41.  Bloomingdale’s Debbie Foune had a time of 45:30.

Results of the 10K were not available at press time.

Sign up, lace up for Bednarowski 5K Cherry walk and run

Your window of opportunity to sign up for the Gene Bednarowski 5K Cherry run and walk will be closing soon!

The race, a staple of the Watervliet Independence Weekend Celebration, is set to kick off Saturday, June 30 at North Elementary, located at 287 Baldwin Avenue in Watervliet. All proceeds from the walk and run help support a scholarship in Bednarowski’s name. Bednarowski was a former teacher and coach in the Watervliet School District and was recently selected as a member of the high school’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.

You have until June 28 to register for the low price of $20. If you register on the day of the race, the cost increases to $25.

Head over to runsignup.com and search the races for the link to register.

Skylar Crisenbery: Shutout pitcher

Coloma senior pitcher Skylar Crisenbery is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week.

Crisenbery, who has been strong from the rubber all year, led the Comets to an 11-0 shutout over Jonesville in Division 3 regional semi-final action Saturday. She pitched a two-hitter and struck out five.

In the Coloma victory, Crisenbery also singled and scored two runs.