By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Michigan has a new softball career home run leader.
Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard’s Julia Kennedy hit 22 this spring – tied for third most in a season – to finish her four-year career with 55 homers over 125 games. That’s one more home run than Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse’s Brooke Nadolny, who will enter her senior season in 2019 with 54.
Kennedy also was added for 18 doubles this season, and freshman teammate Savannah Wing made that list with 22. Kennedy will continue her career at Miami University of Ohio.
See below for more recent record book entries in softball and football, and click the headings to see those record books in full.
A handful of teams made the move from 11 to 8-player football for the 2009 season, making Nick Zaleski’s performance of Oct. 10 of that season one the earliest to grab headlines in the new format. Zaleski scored 11 touchdowns – nine rushing and two on kickoff returns – to lead Owendale-Gagetown to a 90-52 win over Posen. He also gained 431 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Grant Dittmer grabbed four interceptions in an Oct. 23, 2015, win over Mesick to help Bay City All Saints clinch its first playoff berth at the time since 2010. Those interceptions are tied for fourth most in one game (three players grabbed five in a game).
Auburn Hills Avondale enjoyed three highlight-reel returns that made the MHSAA records in 2017. Derrick Hinton Jr. produced two of them – a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown against Troy on Aug. 24 and a 97-yard punt return touchdown against Macomb Lutheran North on Oct. 20. Zeke Ringstaff also added to the scoring in that Week 9 win over Lutheran North that put Avondale into the playoffs – he brought back a fumble 100 yards for a score. Hinton’s kickoff return and Ringstaff’s return tied MHSAA records. Both are seniors this fall.
Anna Dixon closed her Farmington Hills Mercy career this spring on career lists with 177 runs, 226 hits and 42 doubles. She also made the hitting streak list with at least one in 33 straight games from May 12, 2017, through May 5 of this spring. Dixon will continue her career at Hillsdale College.
Pinckney’s Elizabeth Kramer hit her way nearly to the top of one of the longest category lists for any sport in the MHSAA record book, knocking 28 doubles as a sophomore in 2017. That total ranks third all-time for one season. Kramer is a senior this fall.
Brownstown Woodhaven’s Alyssa Harris capped her four-year varsity career this spring with 46 doubles, 27 homes and 150 RBI over 137 games. She’s continuing her career at University of Findlay.
Tessa Nuss’ junior season for Lake Orion was one of the most impressive in MHSAA history. She hit .654 this spring with 89 hits and 79 runs scored – the hits were the fourth most all-time and the runs tied for sixth most in one season. Nuss will sign with Binghamton University in New York.
Faith Howe capped her four-year Beaverton career this spring on the strikeouts list with 1,037, which included a career-high 397 in 2017 when she went 34-4. Teammate Ann-Marie Hicks was added for 42 career doubles over her four-year run with the Beavers, and senior Amaya Ware was added for six RBI in a game this April against Breckenridge. Howe also was added for three homers – including two consecutive – against Pinconning in May. Beaverton made team record lists going 38-4 in 2017 with 68 doubles, 250 RBI and 432 pitching strikeouts. Howe is continuing her career at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, and Hicks will continue at St. Clair County Community College.
Averi Munro completed an incredible four-year career in 2016 among the MHSAA’s best all-time in a number of categories. The Morrice standout earned 25 record book entries. Her 81 runs scored in 2015 rank fourth, her 266 career runs are third, her 271 career hits are tied for fifth, her 67 career doubles rank eighth, her 93 RBI in 2016 came in fourth, while her 287 career RBI are second most and her .630 career batting average ranks fourth as well. She continuing her career at Alma College.
PHOTO: Gabriel Richard’s Julia Kennedy powers through a pitch this spring. (Photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard softball program.)