06-22-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

FireKeepers Casino 400 comes up aces for Larson

 Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 came up aces for pole sitter Kyle Larson. He took the checkered flag for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2017 season and third time in his career. Larson led 96 laps at Michigan International Speedway.

Chase Elliott earned his fifth top five finish in 15 races after he finished in the runner-up spot.

Joey Logano sped his way into third place. It’s the seventh time this season Logano has cracked the top five.

Denny Hamlin continues his quest for a win this year. On Sunday, he finished fourth.

Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five. He picked up his second top five finish of the season.

All top five finishers this go-round started the race in the top 10.

The 200-lap event saw 26 drivers finish on the lead lap. Drivers who did not crack the top five but did lead laps include: Martin Truex Jr. (62), Kyle Busch (40), and Brad Keselowski (2).

The race featured eight caution periods totaling 34 laps. The longest stretch of racing was 54 laps.

Truex Jr. had a heck of a lead at one point; he was almost four seconds ahead of second place.

With Larson hitting the first-place jackpot Sunday, he also leads the driver standings. But, Truex Jr. is trailing by only five points and will be chomping at the bit to get back on top.

Kyle Busch is in third place, 130 points back. Kevin Harvick has a grip on fourth place and trails Larson by 132 points. Elliott is in fifth place, 162 points out of first. Busch, Harvick, and Elliott are winless thus far this season.

Sunday will feature the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in California.

Busch won at Sonoma in 2015, so you can bet he’ll be looking for a chance to head to Victory Lane. With last year’s winner Tony Stewart out of the picture, it could be anyone’s race.

Coloma softball falls to Napoleon in state quarterfinals

 The Lady Comets of Coloma lost a Michigan High School Athletic Association quarterfinals softball matchup 9-7 against Napoleon Tuesday, June 13 at Hope College.

In their first inning at the plate, Coloma’s Megan Koenigshof worked from a 0-2 start to launch a single at the Napoleon shortstop. With her quick speed and a bobble by the shortstop, Koenigshof was safely aboard the bag.

Koenigshof stole second base but was stranded as the Comets’ half of the first inning closed out without a run being scored.

Napoleon made good on their first at bats with the first three batters making base. A leadoff single was followed by a single to centerfield. A passed ball moved the two base runners to second and third. The number three batter laid down a bunt and two runs scored. The Comets were able to staunch the scoring but trailed 2-0 after one inning of work.

HURLER HUTSELL… Jaidyn Hutsell finished the pitching duties for Coloma’s state quar-terfinals softball game against Napoleon. Hutsell went into the game in the bottom of the fourth, taking over for Skylar Crisenbery. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma’s Nicolle Larson led off the second inning with a walk. Mya Potter’s sacrifice bunt moved Larson to second base. Larson would end the inning stranded on third base following a fly out and strike out.

The Comet defense put on an impressive display of skill in the bottom of the second inning. Centerfielder Kayla Yore caught a pop up for the first out of the inning. Then, Larson, at shortstop, dove for a hard hit and came up with the ball but was unable to make a play. The next Napoleon batter hit a single to Larson who came up with the ball and turned it into a double play by stepping on second base and throwing to Alyssa Dillenbeck at first to retire the side.

With the top of the third inning at hand, Skylar Crisenbery hit a leadoff single blooper behind first base.

Koenigshof hit a single and boy, that girl can run!

With two runners on and one out, Coloma catcher Morgan Wagner took her spot in the batter’s box. She hit a single straight up center to score Coloma’s first run of the game. Wagner took second base on the throw home.

It was designated player Jaidyn Hutsell up next for Coloma. With one out and runners on second and third base, Hutsell laid down a pretty sacrifice bunt as Hannah Mathis, in as a pinch runner, stole home. The game was tied up at 2-2. Wagner ended the inning stranded at second.

Napoleon, feeling the heat, set their offense in motion in the bottom of the third inning. The first batter popped up to Crisenbery on the mound. The second batter cranked out a single to center, before another player ground out to Crisenbery.

FIRED UP… The Coloma bench erupts after Nicolle Larson hit a two out, bases loaded single that scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning on June 13. Larson’s shot tied the game up at seven runs apiece in the Comets’ quarterfinals match against Napoleon. Coloma would go on to lose the contest 9-7. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

With two outs, Napoleon hit a single, scoring their third run of the game. That shot was followed by an out of the park two-run homer. Crisenbery walked the next batter before the inning ended on a popup to Yore. Following the scoring blitz, Coloma trailed 5-2 at the end of three innings.

Aside from Potter’s leadoff walk in the fourth inning, Napoleon struck out the next three consecutive Comets.

Hutsell entered the game as pitcher for Coloma, as Crisenbery was done for the evening.  On the mound, Hutsell racked up a ground out to Coloma third baseman Jenna Walter, a popup to Dillenbeck, and a strikeout to end the scoreless fourth inning.

Koenigshof opened the fifth inning with a leadoff single. She moved to second base on an overthrown ball that landed in the Napoleon dugout. Yore got on board with a single that rocketed past third base.

On the third pitch of the inning, Wagner blistered the ball straight up the field for an RBI single into center. Yes, that’s correct: three pitches, three Coloma hits. With one run in and no outs, things were looking good for Coloma.

The Napoleon pitcher notched a strike out of Hutsell and followed that up with a Larson ground out to shortstop. Potter popped the ball up to the catcher along the baseline for the third out of the inning. Runners were stranded at second and third, but Coloma drew one step closer to Napoleon. Following the top half of the fifth inning, the Comets were behind 5-3.

The Comet defense struggled in the bottom half of the fifth inning. The squad gave up a single, had a miscue on a throw to second, an overthrow to first base, and a walk. When the dust settled, one run had scored, there were no outs, and the bases were loaded.

Hutsell came up with a big strikeout to stop Napoleon, which was followed by a force out at home. A bobble in the infield scored a second run during the inning before Walter could get her mitt on the ball and get third out at first. The scoreboard read: Napoleon 7, Coloma 3 after five innings.

Coloma continued to find a way to make things happen on the field. Sam Stewart came into the game and lead off the sixth inning by being hit by a pitch.

Dillenbeck hit a single. Crisenbery stroked a ball that sailed in the air and was catchable but it dropped in shallow right field. Hannah Mathis, running for Stewart, was tagged out at third base.

TURNING TWO… Coloma shortstop Nicolle Larson turns a double play in the bottom of the second inning against Napoleon Tuesday, June 13 in a Michigan High School Athletic Associa-tion quarterfinals softball game at Hope College. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Yore stepped up to the plate and hit the ball to the Napoleon third baseman that bobbled the ball. She threw to the catcher at home and Mika Anderson, running for Dillenbeck, was initially called out. Following a conference between all three umpires, the call was overturned and Anderson was ruled safe, scoring Coloma’s fourth run of the game.

Wagner hit a popup and was the second out of the inning. Hutsell was walked, which scored another Comet run. Suddenly, the game was 7-5 as Coloma began to rally.

With two outs and bases loaded, Larson hit a single up the middle that scored two runs. The crowd went wild as Coloma charged back, tying the game.

Following a Potter ground out to short, the Comets were retired.

Napoleon started off their portion of the sixth inning with a ground out to Walter. What followed was an attack of the bats on the Comet defense. Napoleon hit three straight singles, including one that scored two runs, before a runner was thrown out after trying to steal third base. Hutsell struck out the final batter of the inning, but the damage was done. Napoleon regained the lead, 9-7.

With three outs remaining for Coloma, hopes were high that the Comets would pull out the victory. Unfortunately, Napoleon pitching proved to be too tough to beat. Two consecutive Coloma batters were struck out before a popup ended the game.

Coloma bowed out of state competition in the quarterfinals game with a 9-7 loss.

Coloma head coach Wendy Goodline was proud of her team and complimentary of their opponents. “[Napoleon’s] two leadoff hitters were the two best leadoff hitters I’ve probably seen in my career. They were talented. They could hit it, they could slap it, they could bunt it, they were fast. We struggled with that. They just flat beat us out. They are a good team. We got beat. It’s a lot easier for a coach to stomach a loss when you get beat than when you beat yourself and I don’t feel like we beat ourselves.”

In the final MHSAA rankings of the 2017 season, Coloma was number six in Division 3.

Napoleon went on to shut out Gladstone 16-0 in semi-finals action but was ousted in the state finals 13-1 by Monroe St. Mary Catholic.

Hartford Council for Recreation hosts All-Star Softball Invitational

The fields will be striped, the bats warmed up, and the gloves oiled for the All-Star softball invitational held at Indian Pride Park in Hartford on June 23 through the 28th.

The invitational will feature four divisions: 8U, 10U, 12U, and 14U.

Brackets were released Wednesday, June 21. Stop by to see some great softball stars in action. Indian Pride Park is located at 130 Lincoln Street in Hartford.

Coloma All-Stars softball tourney scores championships for local teams

 The Coloma Youth Baseball Softball Association held their annual girls’ All-Star tournament Thursday, June 15 through Sunday, June 18.

In 8U action, Niles-Brandywine claimed the trophy as the top team. Penn Park placed second.

Coloma won first place in 10U competition. They beat out Niles-Brandywine for the championship.

Hartford’s 12U team hoisted the championship trophy in their division, while North Lincoln finished second.

In the 14U division, first place honors went to Bridgman. Coloma took second place.

GOING TO WORK… Hartford All-Star Charlee Barchett puts the business end of her bat to work against Watervliet in 10U softball action Friday night. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

PPLYC Sailing Classes get ready to hit the water

Sailing classes for kids and adults are once again being offered at Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club this summer.

Any youngster between the ages of eight and 18 can learn sailing terms, maneuvers, and safety practices from trained instructors at the yacht club.

Classes will be held July 10 – 14 from 9 a.m. until noon. The second week of classes run July 17-21 from 9 a.m. until noon.  The cost is $140 if you register before July 1. Register online at sjjf.org and click on the PPLYC tab.

Adult sailing classes will be taught by certified sailing instructor Jack Greve. Register directly with Greve by phoning (616) 902-6327. The cost for yacht club members is $200 and $250 for non-members.

Greve will arrange class times to work with your schedule. Students should plan on five sessions that allow for 15 hours of instruction time.

Both kid and adult sailing classes are open to the public and will be held at the yacht club, which is located at 5097 Shoreview Drive in Coloma.

For more information, contact the yacht club at (269) 468-6300.

Anchors, aweigh!

Last chance to become a Hooterville Hitter

The jerseys are in and game is set! Your local Hooterville Hitters vintage baseball team will take the field in their only game this season on July 1 at 6:00 p.m. at Hays Park.

SAY HEY, HAYES… Abbie Hayes, an All-Star softball player on the Watervliet 8U team, takes a mighty swing at the ball Friday night. Watervliet faced North Lincoln in pool play. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The squad has a few spots remaining open. No experience is required and anyone age 12-100 is encouraged to play.

The Hitters will take on the House of David Echoes as part of the annual Watervliet Independence Day Celebration. To register, visit www.facebook.com/HootervilleHitters or send an email to kristynoack@gmail.com.


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