By Sue Moore
The 2019 edition of the Schoolcraft softball team broke through the barrier of losing the last four years in regional tournaments. They went all the way to the state finals in East Lansing before dropping their last game of the season. It was the first in Schoolcraft team history to win regional, quarterfinal and semi-final tournament games.
“We had so many different strengths on the team,” said pitcher Mikayla Meade. “We all had a role to play and perfected that role throughout the season. Ours was a close-knit group so the season didn’t feel long. I enjoyed practicing every day. The coach played music that lightened up the atmosphere. We had a lot of fun and yet worked really hard. It brought the love of the game back to the girls.”
“There was a lot more team bonding,” said catcher Kelby Goldschmeding who suffered a concussion late in May and appeared as a designated hitter the rest of the way. Jordan Watts subbed for her behind the plate and was named honorable mention on the all-conference team.
“We knew the 2019 softball team had good potential,” said Athletic Director Jeff Clark. “When Shane Barry interviewed for the coaching position, he blew us away. We came up aces with him. Then he was able to hire assistants Becca Shemberger, who pitched for Western Michigan University and Portage Central, along with Hunter Hart, one of our graduates who went on to play for KVCC.
“Within ten minutes of the first practice while going through drills, I told my assistants that we would be going places with this team, this year,” Barry said. “We had team dinners to draw us together. They planned sleepovers to build team chemistry. Our seniors, Brenna Walther and Meade had one goal, to make softball fun again and build the program to where it should be by bonding. They had time in the training room, they hung out together while icing down and just talked.”
“I didn’t have to change much more than that. Most of the team had been playing travel softball for many years so they had the fundamentals down just fine,” Barry said. “We worked a little on footwork on defense but even that didn’t need much tweaking. We moved a few kids around to get them in the right position. They had confidence in themselves.”
For the record, the team went 32-5 with losses to Portage Central by one run; twice to Lakeshore, a class B team; Livonia Stevenson, a class A team; and finally Millington, which was a semi-finalist in 2018, losing to Coloma and determined to win it all in 2019.
Katie Parker was named first team all-state. Danielle Blyly received honorable mention as well as regional honors that also went to Adrienne Rosey and Kayla Onken. All-conference first team honors went to Parker, Blyly, Onkin, Rosey, Meade and Allie and Kelby Goldschmeding.
“Schoolcraft ran into a really good team in Millington in the state finals,” Clark said. “We didn’t collapse after they scored five runs in the first inning.” The reason for that Meade said, “We had come back so many times before, then we saw their pitcher who has been recruited to play with a Division I team. “It was a long bus ride home, but this team will be back in 2020, of that I’m sure.”