Bear Lake’s May to play softball at GRCC

Hayley May signs her letter of intent at a recent ceremony in Bear Lake. Pictured (from left to right): GRCC softball coach Brian Skudre, May, Bear Lake softball coach Garret Waller, mother Jeanette and father Fred. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

With spring around the corner, Hayley May is about to embark on her senior season of softball.

It won’t be her last, though, because the Bear Lake Laker recently signed a letter of intent to continue her career at the next level for Grand Rapids Community College.

“I’m very excited,” May said at a signing ceremony, surrounded by friends, family and fellow Bear Lake school students. “I’ve always dreamt of it, especially as I got better playing in high school.”

May has certainly earned the opportunity, as a standout pitcher and heavy bat for the Lakers.

Last year — her junior season — May easily earned first-team all-conference honors in the West Michigan D League for her monster year at the plate, which featured a .705 batting average. May, who is also the team’s ace, helped lead the Lakers to the program’s first league championship since 1987.

“She’s definitely brought leadership to our team,” said Bear Lake coach Garret Waller. “Her hard work makes everybody else work harder, and I’m proud to see her go on and play at the next level.

“She’s worked hard at everything she does,” he added. “All the extra things that people don’t see her working on for softball is what’s got her to where she’s at.”

May, who also runs cross country and plays basketball for the Lakers, said her ambitions as a player evolved over the past few seasons.

“At first, it was a fun sport that I really liked to play — I enjoy it — but then it led to, ‘alright, maybe I can go to college for this and get an education, while still having fun playing softball,” she said. “I’ve had a good time playing softball in high school — playing with all my teammates — and I like meeting new people, so I’m looking forward to playing in Grand Rapids.”

Attending school at a community college felt like the right move at this time too.

“I didn’t really want to start out at a big university,” May explained. “I planned on going to community college anyways, to start out with, and I was looking around for options. I like the Grand Rapids area, so I think it’s going to be a good fit for me.”

Grand Rapids Community College softball coach Brian Skudre thinks so too.

“I try to build my team off of good character kids and, to me, that’s just as important as the athletic part of it,” he said. “In talking to Hayley and from what I’ve heard in talking to her coaches, she’s got great character.

“She’s also got the skill set that we need,” he said. “Obviously, in softball, you’re always looking for pitching. If you have somebody who can do it as well as she’s been doing it, then that’s huge.”

Grand Rapids Community College is a member of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. The Raiders softball program is in its third year under Skudre, who took over after it couldn’t field a team in 2016.

“We kind of had to rebuild from scratch my first year,” he said. “We won five games that year, and even more last season, so this year we’re looking to move into the top half of the league. We seem to be working really well together now.”

May should fit right into that equation, Skudre said.

“We’re going to give her a look at pitcher, and we’ll definitely have a spot for her in the infield,” he said. “Especially with her bat, I’m looking to keep her in the lineup somehow.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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