Category Archives: Sports

District Softball Champions Advance to Regionals

softball champs
Standing from left to right: Delaney Thomas, Vicksburg; Audrey Schau, Vicksburg; Danielle Diekman, Vicksburg; Kennady Simmons, Vicksburg; Emma Burnett, Edwardsburg; Jersie Dawson, Edwardsburg; Alexis Clanton, Edwardsburg; Alexis Wiskotoni, Edwardsburg; Kaydence Dawson, Edwardsburg; Hannah Johnson, Vicksburg; Kayla Mottl, Vicksburg; Torie Barga, Vicksburg; Sophie Evans, Vicksburg.

By Sue Moore

The combined Little League team of Vicksburg and Edwardsburg softball players ages 13-16 won the state of Michigan championship in the Senior Softball Division.  The team defeated Taylor/Melvindale in the 3rd game of a 2-out-of-3 series played in Taylor by a score of 12-0 on July 16.

They advanced to a regional tournament in South Bend, quite an accomplishment, according to District Coordinator Joanne Wilson the District coordinator. Had they defeated six other Central Region entries from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and the host team of South Bend, they would have advanced to a World Series in Delaware.

That didn’t happen. Weather was a factor in the tournament with multiple delays and reschedules, she said. The combined team finished fifth, just one win away from making the championship bracket. “Again, such a young team going against teams with multiple 15 and 16-year-old players, I am proud of their accomplishment and hope they return next year. They will build on this experience.

“This is only the 2nd time in 20 years that District 15 has had a softball team win a state and advance to a Little League Regional tournament,” Wilson said proudly.

Lisa Diekman, Vicksburg Little League president, explained that due to the limited number of players eligible and able to try out for the all-star team, Vicksburg and Edwardsburg decided it was necessary to combine to form a complete team. This combination was coordinated by Vicksburg Little League.

Tryouts were held on two occasions. Players were selected on their regular season statistics and performance during tryouts along with recommendations from their regular season managers. Two players had played for their high school teams: Danielle Diekman, a freshman, played on Vicksburg’s Varsity softball team.  Emma Burnett played on Edwardsburg’s JV team. Three players play travel on the Michiana Mystique from South Bend, two players on the NTF Nova in Three Rivers and one player on the Kalamazoo Kings, another player on the Niles Nitro, a player with the Battle Creek Elite and one on Harris Heat. The coaching staff includes Manager Rick Simmons (Vicksburg), 1st base Coach Deb Simmons (Vicksburg), Coach Heidi Wiskotoni (Edwardsburg), Coach Tom Shoupe (Edwardsburg) and Coach Jennifer Clanton (Edwardsburg). The combined group of players has been under their instruction since the middle of June.

Seven and Eight Year-Olds Win District Championship

little league
Vicksburg Bulldogs 7/8 Baseball Champions with their first-place trophies: Front row L-R: Laine Cutshaw, Brady Myers, Hunter Smith, Brady Johnson, Blake Summerfield, Tysen VanDyke. Back row L-R: Cooper Lomason, Izaiah Campbell, Dawson Torok, Brighton Lam, Brady Allison, Parker Rosier. Coaches L-R: Josh Summerfield, Craig Lomason, Brad Allison, Josh VanDyke. Not pictured: Coach Ben Rosier.

By Sue Moore

Vicksburg Bulldogs ages seven and eight baseball team won the District 15 Little League baseball championship on Thursday, June 28 with a big win against Mattawan. The final score was 5-2. The team had traveled to Edwardsburg the week before, earning victories over Centreville, Constantine, and Three Rivers and advancing to the next bracket of play June 25-June 28 in Three Rivers. The team defeated West Portage scoring 9 runs to 1 June 26 and Gull Lake, scoring 5 runs to 0 on June 27 to earn their spot in the championship game Thursday. Congratulations 7/8 Bulldog All-Star Team!

Jessica Allison, a Little League mom, explained the tiers with clarity as her husband is one of the coaches for the championship team.

“The first step in Little League baseball is T-ball. Generally, they’re 4/5 years old with very minimal experience playing the game and they use an actual tee. After the first T-ball season, they go to Coach Pitch, where they learn the game in a more formal manner. The coach actually pitches to them instead of using a tee. These kids are 5/6 years old. Then they move to Machine Pitch and that’s this Bulldog team that won the District championship. They are 7/8 and have played for three seasons, understand the game and concept and have enough baseball knowledge to make the key plays to compete and win a game. They have three outs, unlike in Coach Pitch or T-Ball where they are learning fundamentals. The kids in machine pitch have the maturity to hit and know which direction to run, to slide, to throw the ball in to get an opposing player out. That ball is also coming at them about 40 mph with the machine, unlike both the T-ball and the coach pitch,” she explained.

“This 7/8 year old baseball team had plenty of experience, making them mature enough to play and play well, to play not only all these teams in the 2nd round of championship games, but to win with the scores that they had,” she said.

Schoolcraft Baseball Has Strong Tournament Performance

By Mark Blentlinger

With the loss of 9 starting seniors from last year’s Eagles baseball team, it was definitely a rebuilding year. But making it back to McLane Stadium on the Michigan State campus to play in the State Championship semifinals? That was unexpected.

The Eagles faced off against the Pioneers from Gabriel Richard in the Division 3 semifinal game. Freshman Alex Thole on the mound showed a tremendous amount of maturity and was focused on the task ahead. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

The Pioneers had Frank Klamerus as their starting pitcher. He went 4.2 innings allowing six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The game started off with Wyatt Adams of the Eagles blasting a deep hit to left field, giving him a lead-off double. Jett Gott was able to get a base hit, putting two runners on base to start the game. Unfortunately, the Eagles were not able to capitalize on their base runners.

The next four innings ended up as a pitchers’ duel, along with some great defensive plays by both the Eagles and Pioneers.

In the top of the fifth inning, senior Austin Edwards was able to claim first base after a line drive to center field. Getting a good jump on the next pitch, Edwards stole second base. While attempting to steal third, a wild throw by the Pioneers catcher allowed Edwards to score the Eagles’ first run of the game. With three walks given up in a row to Wyatt Adams, Jett Gott and Dalton Adams, the bases were loaded. Eagle Connor Nutt drew yet another walk, bringing in run number two for the Eagles.

Inning sixs didn’t go as well for the Eagles. With some untimely errors by the Eagles and a couple of good hits that found gaps in the outfield, the Pioneers were able to put five runs up on the board. The Eagles were left with one more inning to try to claim a victory.

Unfortunately, a win wasn’t in the cards. The final score was 5-2, in favor of the Pioneers. Gabriel Richard went on to beat Madison Heights’ Bishop Foley 3-0 for the Division 3 State Championship.

With the talent and determination this young Eagles team has shown this entire season, we can anticipate more trips to McLane Stadium to watch these young men compete.

The Vicksburg Clay Target Team Wraps up Regular Season

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Thirty-one members of Vicksburg Clay Target team pose for a group photo.

The Vicksburg Bulldog High School Clay Target Team wrapped up a successful 2018 regular season at the Michigan State Tournament in Mason on June 16th. The team did well, bringing home some regular season and tournament hardware for the trophy case at Vicksburg High School.

During the regular season, the 60-member Vicksburg team finished second in conference 7. Conference 7 is made up of the largest teams in the state and includes Vicksburg, Richmond, Armada, and Romeo high schools. Tyler Sands finished the regular season third in the male high gun standings with a 23.50 average during league competition.

Each shooter’s average is based on how many targets they break out of the 25 targets in each round of trap.

Vicksburg also placed six shooters on the Michigan all-state team. The shooters include Tyler Sands (12th), Jeffrey Hoagg (9th), Tanner White (12th), Owen Moberley (7th), Trevor Young (9th), and Jakob Schmidt (12th). All of these shooters averaged 22.00 or higher during league competition.

At the State Tournament, 41 schools with just under 700 student athletes from throughout Michigan competed. Each athlete shot two 50-target sessions for a total of 100 targets on the day. Vicksburg was represented by 35 athletes with close to 100 fans in attendance.

The Novice team shooters (those who averaged 14.99 or less during the league season) brought home a second place finish out of the 41 teams competing. Jordan Gorsline led the way bringing home a third place finish in High Gun – Novice – Male shooting an 86 with a reverse run of 10. The Novice team shooters included Brendan Durham, Jordan Gorsline, Aiden Hawkins, Donny Kinney, Anthony Knowles, Justin Plankenhorn, Tyler Richardson, Travis Robertson, Cody Robinson, Alex Smith, Reed Tassell, Alexander VanSweden and Walter Zablocki.

In the JV division (shooters who averaged 15.00-18.99 during the regular season), Chase Willcutt led the way for Vicksburg, tieing for 33rd with a score of 85. The JV squad included Austin Currie, Tyler Fenwick, Eddie Goodwin, Anthony Renzema, Zachary West and Kyle Wiessner.

In the Varsity division, Vicksburg brought home a 5th place finish out of the 41 teams competing. The team scored 469 points led by Owen Moberley (97), Tyler Sands (94), Glen Rhyner (93), Andrew Pratt (93), and Tanner White (92). Rounding out the varsity squad are Lucas Cannizzaro, JP Fritz, Kody Fruehauf, Jeffrey Hoagg, Jager Luegge, Trevor McClish, Eliot Pierce, Jacob Schmidt, Nathan Willcutt and Trevor Young.

Owen Moberley shot a 50 straight at the State Tournament with Andrew Pratt, Glen Rhyner, Tyler Sands, and Tanner White all shooting 25 straights.

The Bulldog Clay Target team moves on to the USA Clay Target National Championships representing Vicksburg July 12-15 in Mason. Vicksburg has 10 athletes qualified including Tyler Sands, Jeffrey Hoagg, Tanner White, Owen Moberley, Trevor Young, Jakob Schmidt, Glen Rhyner, JP Fritz, Andrew Pratt, and Trevor McClish.

Vicksburg Golf Places 8th in Conference

vix golf 2By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg varsity boys’ golf team had some struggles this year, most of them due to unpredictable Michigan weather.

The team was able to get some practices at the Dome during the cold and snowy days, but golfing inside can’t compare to hitting the links for real. “Everybody plays in it (the weather), but it made it a lot more difficult,” Head Coach Rob Johnson said after the team finished up its Conference tournament at Doster Lake Country Club in Plainwell.

The Bulldogs came in eighth place after shooting a 396 for 18 holes. It was senior Cameron Haase who had the low round for the team, shooting an 87, which earned him 11th place individually. Haase also made first-team All-Conference. Fellow senior Cody VanderHorst and freshman Taylor Harvey also broke 100 with a 99 and 97 respectively. Brett Manski and Gabriel VanDyke each shot a 114.

Shooting those numbers was no easy task on Doster Lake’s rolling and narrow fairways that often hid hazards not visible from the tee box. Johnson said it is one of the most challenging courses they played on all year.

Lady Bulldogs Soccer Loaded with Youth

By Travis Smola

Things are looking up this year for the Vicksburg varsity girls’ soccer team. It’s made big strides of improvement over last season.

This year’s team fielded just three seniors in Hailey Burr, Riley Sibley and Emmaline Miller. Head Coach Mike Moldolvan praised the three girls for their senior leadership all year after a close game against St. Joseph.

The girls ended up dropping that close contest to the Bears 1-0. But in reality, it could have gone either way. Burr and freshmen Chloe Hatridge and Brady Brown all came very close to putting the ball in the back of the net early in the first half.

Freshman goalkeeper Haley Town made several nice saves in the contest. St. Joseph’s only goal came on a scrum in front of the net and an unlucky bounce.

A much improved season comes with some additional excitement because they are fielding 10 freshmen this year. The team started off its season on the right foot with a 1-0 win over Kalamazoo Loy Norrix. It also picked up close wins against Stevensville Lakeshore 1-0 and Conference rival Edwardsburg 3-1. The biggest win of the year was an 8-0 shutout of Dowagiac.

More than that, the girls have been in every game they’ve played this season thanks to a much-improved defense that has four shutout victories. “They hold their own against any team out there,” Moldovan said.

Lady Bulldog Tennis Finishes Sixth in Conference

By Travis Smola

Not one, not two, but three separate weather delays caused the Vicksburg varsity girls’ tennis team to wrap up its Conference meet weeks later than normal.

The two top finishers for the Lady Bulldogs were sophomore Hailey Klimek in the number three singles and senior Sophia Breitenbach in the number four singles. Both finished in fourth place. The team finished its season third in the division with a 2-2 record and sixth overall in conference.

This year’s team was mostly made up of younger players. While the team didn’t rack up a lot of wins, it did show a lot of potential. Against Three Rivers, the team managed an 8-0 shutout at the end of April.

Only one game went to a third set and that was Breitenbach’s match. She lost the initial set 2-6 before coming back to win the next two 6-4. Senior MaKenna Leach won both her sets 6-0 in the number one singles. Junior Ady Reno won the number two singles 6-4 and 6-3.

In doubles action seniors Madison Lowes and Sierra Stevens won their match 6-1, 6-2 against the rival Wildcats. Senior Kaylie Ruch and sophomore Kaitlynn Szydlowski won the number two doubles 7-6, 6-2.

Juniors Zoe Blough and Maia Fleck took the number three doubles 6-2 and 6-0 and juniors Brandi Bowdish and Montana Rose won the number four doubles 6-4 and 6-4.