The state’s best

Steig, Lagendyk earn all-state honors

MORLEY — Morley Stanwood softball coach Andrea Raven had the opportunity to sit in on the all state proceedings this year.

As she saw the players and the numbers brought forth, she knew to have one of her own players reach that level was a tremendous accomplishment.

TAKE A CUT: Reed City's Amanda Steig was named to the Division 3 all-state first team this season. (Pioneer file photo)

That is why she was happy to see Sarah Lagendyk earn Division 3 all-state honors at third base. Also earning first team all-state laurels was Reed City’s Amanda Steig as an utility player.

Morley Stanwood pitcher Alyssa Nelson and Pine River second baseman Christie Nelson earned honorable mention honors.

Lagendyk put together a solid season in which she bated .395, driving in 31 runs with 11 doubles and five home runs.

“I knew her numbers were strong,” Raven said. “Looking at both parts of her game (offensively and defensively) and that she was strong in both areas I knew she had a chance.”

Lagendyk was nearly speechless after finding out she was all state. She didn’t know how she was doing, instead more concerned about helping the team win.

Morley Stanwood captured its second straight Central State Activities Association and reached the regional final before falling to Reed City.

“I was shocked,” Lagendyk said. “It is any player’s dream to be all-state, but you don’t think about it during the year. You are trying to help the team win, have fun and play the game.”

Steig put together a solid senior season in which she batted .538 from the leadoff position for the Coyotes. She also had 35 RBIs and belted five home runs in guiding Reed City to the Division 3 quarterfinal.

A player can only be put up for all-state at one position and that position must be the position in which the player played the most innings.

That played a part with Alyssa Nelson, who made honorable mention as a pitcher.

The senior went 19-6 in the circle with 193 strikeouts and a 1.92 earned run average despite being hampered by an injury.

Raven saw the other numbers of the other pitchers and new Nelson might not make it onto the first team .

At the plate, Nelson swatted 17 home runs, the second most in Michigan High School Athletic Association history to go along with a .378 average and 49 RBIs. But those numbers don’t come into play when determining the best pitchers in the state.

“The other pitchers are kids who are strong pitchers on strong programs, so there is no shame being honorable mention,” Raven said.

Christie Nelson put together a strong junior campaign. The third-year varsity player batted .413 with six doubles and drove in 26 RBIs as she helped Pine River win the Highland Conference with a perfect 12-0 record.

“She had a lot of sacrifices and for a whipper-snapper she had a few extra base hits,” Pine River coach Laura Mumby said. “She was a staple of our offense.”

Overall, having four players from local schools is an amazing accomplishment, Raven said.

“Softball in our area is stronger than people think,” she said. “The CSAA, Morley Stanwood and Reed City playing for the regional final shows our league is pretty strong.

“Holton won the district in Division 4,” Raven continued. “Pine River had good players and could compete with the best teams in the state. I think there are some good players in our area.”

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