Win the Day: Coleman Seeks 1st State Title Since 2005
COLEMAN – The last time the Coleman softball program appeared in the MHSAA state semifinals, many of its players had yet to enter kindergarten.
Now, for the first time since winning the program’s only title in 2005, the fifth-ranked Comets are back in the Division 4 state semifinals with what is quite possibly the youngest team of the four semifinalists.
Batting .478 with 45 RBIs and 60 runs scored, catcher Liz Dana represents the lone senior on Coleman’s squad that is rounded out by eight underclassmen.
Behind Dana and the strong pitching duo of sophomore Jaden Berthume and junior Faith Barden, the Comets avenged back-to-back quarterfinals losses to Holton with a 5-0 win over the sixth-ranked Red Devils on Tuesday.
"I think we just stayed relaxed,” said Dana on Tuesday’s win. “The previous years, we were more tensed up, and not fully relaxed. This year we just stayed loose, and knew it was just another game we had to play."
With Tuesday’s quarterfinal now behind it, Coleman refocuses on Friday afternoon’s semifinal at Michigan State against No. 8 Ottawa Lake Whiteford.
Winners of the Mid-State Activities Conference, the Comets (35-6) will take on a Whiteford (32-6) program that has three state titles (most recent in 1987) and two runner-up finishes to its credit.
"We need to stay relaxed, stay loose, and play our game,” Coleman coach Chad Klopf said. “You know, that’s what gotten us this far, and we haven’t tried to do something that we can’t do because of what the other team does. Just do what we can do, and keep playing."
The Comets have reached the state’s biggest stage with relative ease, posting wins over Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (6-1), Breckenridge (10-0), Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (11-1), honorable mention Morrice (12-6) and No. 6 Holton (5-0).
The winner of Friday’s semifinal will take on either No. 1 Inland Lakes or perennial power Kalamazoo Christian Saturday afternoon.
First pitch in the semifinal is set for 12:30 p.m.