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Top moments from the Michigan high school softball state championships

East Lansing — The high school softball season ended Saturday at Michigan State University with some notable milestones reached.

Two state champions stood out this weekend.

Hudsonville completed an undefeated 42-0 season in Division 1, defeating Lake Orion 5-0. For coach Tom Vruggink it was the fourth state championship and the school’s first in twelve years.

In Division 4, Unionville-Sebewaing Area won its fifth straight state championship, tying a state record.

Here’s a look at some of the best players and moments from the state championships:

Division 1

Top moment: Hudsonville scored three runs in the first inning, resulting in a 5-0 win over Lake Orion and an undefeated record of 42-0.

Vruggink (1,198 wins) felt that the undefeated record did not put any extra pressure on the team.

“They conscientiously decided that an undefeated season wasn’t as important as the unfinished business they had (winning the state championship),” Vruggink said. “So that was the key.”

Top player: Leadoff hitter Megan Beemer had two singles, scored two runs, started the riot in the first inning with a single and eventually scored.

“In 35 of the 42 games, Beemer scored (in the first inning),” Vruggink said. “She gets further, she steals a base, and Tessa Heffelbower gets a hit to get her in. That’s just our formula and it worked great today.”

Beemer thought the fast start was crucial against Lake Orion on Saturday.

“It gave us energy and it takes the wind out of our sails,” Beemer said. “To remain undefeated is a dream come true and it’s just amazing. It’s a testament to what we’ve been working for all season.”

Division 2

Top moment: It was a rematch of last year’s state championship and the outcome was the same: Gaylord defeated Vicksburg 3-2 in eight innings.

Down to their last strike and out, Vicksburg rallied to tie the game in the seventh inning. But Gaylord roared back, with Gaylord senior Jayden Jones hitting a runscoring single in the eighth inning.

“We said from Day 1 that it would come down to a game like this,” Jones said. “We knew one through nine (in the lineup) had to be ready and go big and we did that.”

Top player: Pitcher Aubrey Jones, Jayden’s younger sister, recovered from the disappointment in the seventh inning and put Vicksburg in order in the eighth.

“That’s Aubrey,” Gaylord coach Ron Moeggenberg said. “I had no doubts about it. I knew she was going to come out and have a lion’s mentality, and that’s what she did. We know what she can do.”

Aubrey Jones wanted to match the level her teammates showed all afternoon.

“I know if I let them hit the ball, my team will play behind me,” Aubrey Jones said. “They gave me the run and I wanted to finish it for them. I just tried to do the best for my team.”

Division 3

Top moment: Evart had been without a hit and was stuck in a 0-0 game in the sixth inning against Ottawa Lake Whiteford before Mattisen Tiedt went with the pitch and put away a runs-scoring hit.

It was the only goal of the game for an Evart team that has been an attacking powerhouse all season.

“She got her timing right the last at-bat,” coach Shaun Gray said. “I told her we’d rather have no one else up there, and she came through for us.”

Top player: Whiteford pitcher Unity Nelson allowed only one hit, but Evart’s Kyrah Gray matched Nelson’s effectiveness

Kyrah Gray struck out 12 while pitching a shutout in the win.

“I knew my team was going to pick me up,” Kyrah Gray said. “Knowing the pitcher is good, I knew the offense was going to pick me up, so on the defensive side I just had to pick myself up and stay confident and keep doing my stuff.”

Division 4

Top moment: Unionville-Sebewaing Area (USA) scored three runs in the first inning and added six runs in the fourth to take control early in the game against Holton, an 11-1 victory.

The Patriots captured their fifth consecutive state championship, tying Kalamazoo Christian (1996-2000) for the state record with five consecutive softball championships. It was the tenth US state championship since 1984.

“We talked about it last year when we were traveling here. It’s hard to chase when you’re being chased,” coach Marc Reinhardt said. ‘But if you think about it, the lion is the king of the jungle and he hunts every day. I told the girls to go hunting and today they went hunting.

“It’s fun to be rushed because every game is a big game because someone wants to take what you have and we don’t want them to get it. It’s kind of cool, it kind of puts you on edge and that’s a good thing.”

Top player: Gabriella Crumm of the USA immediately hit a home run to center field, sparking the riot in the third inning.

“It wasn’t really a thought process,” said Crumm, who felt like she missed a hittable pitch in her first at-bat. “I was excited and ready to do whatever I could to help the team. It was a surreal feeling.”

Crumm, a senior, completed a rare sweep: four straight state championships.

“It’s crazy how many opportunities this team has been given to excel,” Crumm said. “It’s amazing. I can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings them.”

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@tkulfan