Area teams begin action on Saturday
Fremont vs, Grant at Alma 10am
The Packers have an explosive offense led by a top of the order quartet of Nelson, DeLong, Mansfield and DeBlake who have given opposing coaches nightmares. The team has posted
29 wins and a tie to go with just 6 losses. There is also a strong mound staff and an all star quality catcher in Nelson but the one area the Packers have struggled with has been an inconsistent defense at times.
The last time they met Grant’s Bay came on in relief and quieted the Packer bats long enough for the Tigers to take an extra inning win courtesy of a VanderWeide RBI.
The winner moves on to take on the survivor of Tri County and the host Panthers at 2pm with the District Champ getting a return ticket to Alma for Regional play on June 9.
Muskegon Catholic Central District
White Cloud vs. Holton 10am at MCC
The Cloud got prepped for tourney action by dropping a couple dimes on Tri County in their regular season finale Tuesday. The teams have met 4 times this season with the Cloud winning three. The Red Devils took the first meeting in the opener of a split doubleheader back in April and the Devs were swept by WC in mid May.The Indians have put together an epic season collecting 28 wins against 6 defeats. Like Fremont they have a strong backstop in Bode who can deliver at the plate as well. Venema, Alex Cruzans, Reuther, and Strait are among the sticks but the team has a lot of pop up and down the lineup and some mound depth.
The winner will face either MCC or Vestaburg in a 2pm game. Regionals will be back at MCC on Wednesday
North Muskegon District
Hesperia vs. Montague at North Muskegon, 12:30pm
Hesperia has been improving after a long postponed start to their season. That improvement will be tested Saturday when they face the Wildcats of Montague. The winner advances to face the winner of the Norse and WMC.
Newaygo and Fremont will be Taking the field to do battle at noon. The teams met in April with the Lions taking both ends of the twinbill. Winner gets to take the field soon after for a matchup with the victor of the Ludington/Whitehall game.
Hesperia vs, Mason County Central at Hart 12pm
The Panthers pounded Shelby to get this matchup with Mason County Central and a win puts them in the finals against a host Hart team that advanced due to forfeit. The Pirates have some serious bats so should Hesperia get by the Spartans it should be a bit of a slugfest in the finals.
White Cloud vs. Pentwater at Pentwater 10am
White Cloud begins their second season in a showdown with the Falcons who have been absolutely tearing it up offensively of late. The Cloud has improved markedly as the season has progressed but they struggle with scoring and will likely need to score a lot to advance to a noon meeting with Holton.
And by the way, the Red Devils are really, really good so the winner best bring their 'A' game.
Track & Field
White Cloud has had an outstanding track season and the D4 state individual meet is evidence of their strong showing. The following scholar athletes will compete in Hudsonville
Elizabeth Campeau, 400m
Carsyn Scarlavai, High Jump
Gaby Reeve, Janessa Shepard, Discus
Shepard, Shot Put
Campeau, Scarlavai, Ryleigh Balke, Jaden Gomez 4x400
Campeau Chesney Kooman, Gomez, Scarlavai 4x100
Nathan Ciolk, Terry Trendel, Kobe Canning, Tristan McHaney 4x800
Joel Bradley, Shot Put
Ciolk, Pole Vault
The vaunted Packer distance runners will competeat the D2 meet in Zeeland along with a hurdler.
Nathan Walker 800m,1600, 3200
Conor Somers, 3200m
Taylor Mater 1600m, 3200m
Kennedy Christofferson, 100m Hurdles
The Lone Lion in Zeeland will be vaulter Makenna Young Pole Vault
In D3 Hesperia Panther Isabella Rumsey will toss the discus in Jenison
White Cloud 13-12 Tri County 3-2
In Game #1 - The team was led in hitting by Taylor Bode with 3 hits, with Alex Cruzan, KJ Strait, Landyn McGowan, Alex Elder, and Mason Cruzan collecting 2 hits apiece.
Cam Wolters pitched the complete game, picking up his 8th win of the season, as he gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 3.
On the defensive side, Taylor Bode threw 2 runners out, who were attempting to steal a base.
In Game #2 - The team was led in hitting by Mason Ruether, Sam Venema and Mason Cruzan each rapped out a pair of hits. Taylor Bode hammered a deep home run, to add to the hit parade.
On the mound Ruether picked up his 9th win of the season, scattering 3 hits while striking out 6.
On the defensive side, Taylor Bode threw another runner out trying to steal a base.
The Varsity Baseball Team's record now stands at 28-8.
Newaygo 14-17 White Cloud 0-7
The Cloud softballers were shut down in the opener before seeing the offense come to life in the nightcap. Emily Hodges blasted a 2 run homer and added a single while Kara Davis and Ceara Bode ripped a pair of hits but it still wasn’t enough to overtake the Lions who put together timely hits to go with a few WC miscues to build their lead.
Rylee Hewitt also singled for the visitors.
Victory for Vikings in District Soccer
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
On a warm June evening, the Vikings girls soccer team traveled to Newaygo to avenge its previous two losses this season to the Lions. But this time the winner would advance, the lower would end its season.
Newaygo started off strong in the first 10 minutes, finding a few opportunities to put the ball on net, including one laser to the cross beam by exchange student Alexandra Son. None of the chances transpired into points, however.
Tri County, on the other hand, waited patiently: their theme of the night. The advantage to playing a team three times in a season is the familiarity with the opponent. Tri County obviously came in well-coached and versed on the game plan.
Just past the halfway mark of the 1st half, that patience paid off with Viking Allison Johnson finding an opening and putting the Vikings on the board. The excitement got them rolling in the right direction and they never slowed down.
Leah Siefert scored Tri County's 2nd goal with 6 minutes left in the 1st half. But that was all for the scoreboard until 30:56 on the clock after halftime when Johnson dribbled up the field, beat a defender, got blocked by Keeper Barbara Toth and patiently found the rebound to tap it in.
For her third goal of the night, Johnson slammed it in with 21:08 left in the game. Despite the Lions' Alexandra Son breaking the drought with 12:19 left on the clock, Tri County would patiently win first touches and field advantage time and again until the final buzzer sounded.
"They beat us two times before in close games," said Viking coach Vik Matulis. "Every day has been a stepping stone. We played well last night. We had great shape on the field. Jayden Marovich was the MVP: she tore up the corner."
Tri County will face West Catholic at 4:30 PM on Friday, June 4th at Orchard View High School for the District Final game.
Coach Matt Painter reflected on the Lions' season: "Wow! What a season. Two years ago our girls soccer program only managed 3 wins. Then COVID turned life upside down. Our girls made this season a bright spot of the year with their team play, resulting in 10 wins and a second place finish in the conference! It has been a joy and an honor to spend time with this exceptional group of teens this spring. I can't wait for next season!"
3rd meeting with Vikings on tap today
Photo by Tara Hefferan
Newaygo vs. Tri County Today (Wednesday) 4:30pm. Newaygo Soccer Field
The Newaygo Soccer Squad has put together a strong season blasting out of the blocks with a 10 game unbeaten streak before hitting the wall against Big Rapids. The Cards were the only team to defeat the Lions in a pair of matches that were dictated by capitalizing on scoring opportunities. But it isn’t BR standing in the way of the Lions advancing to the District Finals because they landed in a different district.
Instead it’s Tri County. For the third time the Vikes and Lions will meet on the field and if the first 2 games were any indicator it ought to be a barnburner.
Their previous 2 matchups ended with a late goal win in game one and a dramatic shootout finish in #2 with the Lions taking home both of the W’s.
Coach Matt Painter’s team has a lot of talented younger players and combined with some strong veteran leadership the squad plays a smart and savvy game.
The Vikings have been knocking at the door in their previous matchups with Newaygo but haven’t been able to finish. After the shootout defeat they will want this one badly.
It is always tough to beat a good team twice. The Lions are being asked to do it 3 times if they are to advance to Friday’s Final against the OV/West Catholic winner.
Once again this one will come down to who grabs the scoring opportunities because both teams are skilled at game management. If one team jumps out early it’s likely a long road back.
District Round 1 Ends in Packer Favor
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
This would be the third time Fremont and Newaygo have matched up this season, but this time it was one game with the winner advancing and the loser completing the season. The first two games Fremont came out on top. They would be looking to make it a sweep in round one of Districts, played at Newaygo on Tuesday, June 1.
Newaygo senior Brenden Brechting started at the mound for the Lions. The Packers got off to a quick start putting two on base but left them stranded. Brechting quickly found himself on base in the bottom of the first after getting hit by a pitch from Albion recruit Payton Mansfield. But the Lions also left him out there before retiring into the second inning.
Fremont’s bats never slowed down as the night wore on and Newaygo’s bats didn’t heat up enough. It was in the third inning when the Packers put it all together to have three cross home plate. Newaygo nearly answered with two of their own in the bottom of the third, but never quite made up the difference started in this inning.
The final score was 6-3 with the Packers advancing to the next round of Districts.
Joey DeLong led the Packers with 3 RBIs while Logan Nelson, Payton Mansfield and Michael Baden each had one of their own. Lions’ Glenn Toth led with 2 RBIs while Seth McGowen brought in one.
Fremont was able to close the game out with only Payton Mansfield on the mound. He ended the night with 86 pitches and 60 strikes. The Lions went through three pitchers: Brechting, Josiah Long and Seth McGowen.
The Packers head to Alma on Saturday to face Grant.
Girls finish 4th, Boys take 5th
By Joan Ludtke
White Cloud’s girls and boys track teams both competed in the MITCA (Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association) D4 Team State Meet at Mt. Pleasant High School on Saturday. White Cloud was among 10 teams chosen to compete in this unique meet. Each team can have 3 entries per individual event with each competitor scoring points.
Hillsdale Academy won the girls’ competition with 1083 points with White Cloud totaling 711 for a 4th place finish. The girls were led by throwers Janessa Shepard and Gaby Reeve finishing 1-2 in both the discus (101’2, 99’7”) and shot put (32’9.5”, 30’9”). The 400 meter relay team (Carsyn Scarlavai, Chesney Kooman, Elizabeth Compeau, and Jaden Gomez) also placed first with a time of 54.70.
Hillsdale Academy also won the boys meet totaling 965.5 points to 5th place White Cloud’s 839.5, led by 1st place pole vaulter, Hunter Chiolk (12’6”), Jace Silverthorn, 2nd in the shot put (43’1”), 3rd in the discus (126’0”) and Joel Bradley, 4th in the shot put (41’10”), 4th in the discus (116’4”). Both teams continue to prepare for the MHSAA individual state meet on Saturday at Hudsonville Middle School. The girls have qualified 7 athletes in 7 events and the boys, 6 in 4 events.
Track, Baseball and Softball
Several members of the girls’ track team competed at the West Michigan All Star Meet at Reeths Puffer HS. Janessa Shepard led the way with two medals in the throws, placing 6th in the shot put (33’6.5” ) and 5th in the discus (107’3”). Jaden Gomez placed 11th in the 200 meters with a personal record of 28.65. Gaby Reeve was 12th in the shot put (29’1/2”). Jaden Gomez finished 10th in the long jump (14’3.5”) while Elizabeth Compeau placed 13th (13’4.25”). Carsyn Scarlavai competed in the pole vault. Both the girls and boys teams will compete in the D4 MITCA Team State Finals on Saturday in Mt. Pleasant. Only 10 teams are chosen for this event.
The Varsity Baseball Team hosted Newaygo Thursday Night and split the double header
In Game #1 - The Team was led in hitting by Taylor Bode, as he smashed 2 big hits. Cam Wolters did a great job pitching, but was plagued by errors behind him. Alex Cruzan came in as relief and struck out 6 batters in just over 3 innings.
In Game #2 - The Indians took an early 1 run lead in the 2nd inning as Sam Venema scored when Christian Ringler was hit with a hard pitch to his side. Cruzan scored a run in the 3rd inning, as the Indians took a 2 run lead in the game. The Indians scored another run in the 5th inning as Cruzan scored on a line drive by KJ Strait. The team was led in hitting by Cruzan, Venema, and KJ Strait, with each collecting 1 hit.
Mason Ruether was in total command of the game on the mound, as he gave up only 4 hits, 3 walks and struck out a whopping 9 batters, as the Indians preserved the victory 3-1.
White Cloud won the game, playing 4 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 1 junior, and 1 senior.
White Cloud's record now stands at 26-8.
Wednesday Softball, Baseball
Reed City 7-5 White Cloud 3-13
The varsity softball team traveled to Reed City yesterday, gaining a split over the Coyotes. In the opener Kara Davis had two singles, Ceara Bode, Emily Hodges and Rylee Hewitt each had one single.
In the nightcap Emily Hodges took to the mound and got the win. Davis, Bode and Lilly Holmes all had one single and Gracy Holmes had a triple.
The White Cloud Varsity Baseball Team traveled to Reed City and dropped their double header, in a pair of 6 inning games.
The highlight of the night - was a first inning triple play turned in by the Indians. With runners on 1st base and 2nd base and no outs, a line drive was hit to 3rd baseman Landyn McGowan, Landyn caught the ball and threw to 2nd baseman Jayson Ruether, then Jayson threw to 1st baseman Alex Cruzan, to complete the Triple Play.There is only a 1 in 1,400 chance of completing a triple play, as both umpires at the game had never seen one in their time of umpiring, with the oldest umpire having been an umpire for 47 years. It was an amazing thing to see!
Long sisters, Strait crack MHSAA all time performance lists
Second Half is the online publication posted by the MHSAA that provides stories involving high school athletics that go beyond the scores and schedules.
This week’s edition included athletes from throughout the state who found a place in the organization’s all time record-book and featured two local basketball players who helped their team take a trip to the Breslin
Jaylee Long, who has signed with Cornerstone University, made the career list for 3-pointers with 168 over 90 games and four seasons.
Jaxi Long, a junior, was added for 17 free throws against Howard City Tri County on March 24 and a .878 free throw percentage (79 of 90) for the season. Her season percentage is tied for 12th-highest all-time.
The previous edition of Second Half included White Cloud four-year varsity senior Alexis Strait who finished this fall on the career aces list. She totaled 311 over 393 games, and also finished with more than 2,000 assists during her high school career.
Alexis Strait takes her game to the next level
White Cloud Scholar Athlete Alexis Strait recently made it official when she signed a letter of intent to take her substantial volleyball skills to MCC.
With a backdrop of decor celebrating years of competing for the Cloud comingling with some items from the school she'll be attending this fall, Strait posed with family, teammates, and the coaches of both her high school years and her upcoming college years.
The coach from high school also happened to be her Mom.
We asked Coach Desirae Strait about seeing her player/daughter move to the next level and the experience of coaching her.
“As a parent, Alexis has always dreamed of playing volleyball at the collegiate level. She practiced countless hours and was always dedicated to driving hours to games, tournaments and practices. When she decided to play volleyball at MCC, we, her dad and I, were so excited because we could continue to watch her grow!
“As a coach, she was so fun to coach!! Her interest and determination to make her team better was like no other. She was a great leader on the court and will be missed this coming year. She has left a huge impact on White Cloud Volleyball.”
We also were able to catch up with the busy senior to pose a few questions.
What was it about MCC that made it the right choice for you?
I have always been interested in playing volleyball in college, for me it was just about finding the place that made me feel comfortable. MCC is that place- it isn’t far from home, I am familiar with the area, and I know most of the girls on the team pretty well already. Those reasons are why and how I knew MCC was the place for me.
When did you know vball was your sport? How did your interest in the game grow?
I have known volleyball was my sport for a very long time, ever since I was little my goal was to play collegiate volleyball.
With Mom as coach I am certain she has been a big part of your growth as a player. What other mentors have been instrumental in your development?
My mom was by far my biggest mentor throughout my volleyball journey. She is the reason I started playing in the first place. My mom had coached JV when I was a little girl and ever since, my love for volleyball has just been increasingly stronger. I have had a few club coaches that have helped my game tremendously. Ted Edsall and Shane Balcom have been very important to my volleyball career as well.
You’ve had some memorable matches in your hs career. Any that stand out?
One match that I will never forget was Districts this year. We played Hesperia in the finals, and I can honestly say that going into that game we had a huge chip on our shoulders. My freshman year we lost to Hesperia in District finals, so when we beat them this year it was the best feeling ever. I have never experienced winning a district title and it is by far the best feeling!
You have been a force on the basketball team as well as on the vball court. What will you miss about suiting it up for WCHS?
I will miss the pre-game things that happen before our team goes out on the court- the laughs, the music, the dance parties- so many laughs were shared before games and that is something that I will miss.
There are underclassmen and middle schoolers at WC who likely are well aware of your success. Any words for them? What would you advise if they want to take their game beyond HS?
My words for underclassmen and any younger kids would be to take some time to appreciate your teammates and the time you have with them. I may never see some of my teammates again and it is actually sad to think about. Enjoy high school sports while you can, and if you want to play college sports make sure you get your name out to colleges as soon as you can. Keep in contact with coaches and you will eventually find the right school for you. A big part of it is just believing in yourself, and knowing that you can do it.
Have a career in mind? Any plans post MCC?
After MCC, I plan on transferring to GVSU to get a degree in psychology and to eventually become a child psychologist.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would just like to thank White Cloud for the past 4 years, I will never forget the memories I have made in school and sports! I am so lucky to have such a strong support system!
Nelson leads Packer hit parade
Photos by Kacey Nelson
Fremont 11-7 Holton 1-6
Gabe VanVleet tossed 6 strong innings scattering 4 hits and giving up a lone run as the Packers routed the Red Devils dropping a 6 inning dime on the visitors in the opener. Hitting machine Logan Nelson continued his torrid season at the leadoff position stroking 4 singles, scoring 3 times and driving in a run. VanVleet and Drew DeBlake each knocked in a pair of teammates while Cayden Young and Grant Vissa scored twice.
In game 2 the Red Devils fought back from a 4 run deficit scoring 2 in the 6th and 7th to tie it up, but the Pack pushed the game winner across in the 7th to gain the sweep. Tyler Spickerman drove home 2 while Nelson and DeLong each crossed twice. DeBlake tossed 4 innings striking out 7 and Michael Baden finished the last 3