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Seven from West Michigan Conference earn 2022 all-state softball honors

Oakridge leads the way with four, two of them first-teamers; Ravenna also has a first-teamer.

Oakridge softball coach Joe Coletta looks at senior Brooklyn Galdeen’s hand after she was hit by a foul ball during a game against Ravenna Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Muskegon, Mich. (Bethany McCullough | CatchMark)

The West Michigan Conference nearly has enough all-state softball players to field a starting nine.

The conference is represented on the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association all-state teams by three first-teamers and four honorable-mention selections.

Oakridge leads the way with Division 2 first-teamers Jasmine Pastor and Delaney Ruel and honorable-mention picks Brooklyn Galdeen and Kaelinn Jozsa. Ravenna is represented on the Division 3 first team by Emma Herremans. Meanwhile, North Muskegon’s Megan Houseman and Hart’s Skylar Smith made Division 3 honorable mention.

“It happened one other time for us in 2019 when we got four girls and it was the same thing – we got two first team and two honorable mention,” said Oakridge coach Joe Coletta, whose team won a sixth-straight West Michigan Conference title (14-0), finished 28-8 overall and was ranked in the top 10 throughout the season. The Eagles were upended in the district semifinals by Coopersville.

Coletta pointed out that in each division, 35 players are selected for first-team all-state honors and 35 more are picked for honorable mention.

Oakridge played a tough nonleague schedule, which impacted the players’ overall statistics. The same can be said for Ravenna.

“Just to have one girl on (the all-state team) is special, but you never know from year to year,” Coletta said. “It depends on the caliber by position. This year, there were certain positions that were just loaded with talent and some that weren’t as loaded.

“I’m really proud of them. The girls all deserve it. They’re hard-working, they all put a lot of time in to getting better. I’m really proud as a coach.”

Photos by CatchMark

Pastor is a two-time, first-team all-stater. The senior second baseman, who has signed with Muskegon Community College, batted .390 with 11 home runs, 17 doubles and 49 RBIs. Her slugging percentage was .814.

Ruel, a senior center fielder, batted .363 with six doubles, one triple and 24 RBIs. She will not be playing softball in college. She earned the Centralis Scholarship for full tuition at Central Michigan University.

Galdeen, who was first-team all-state last season, was extremely valuable for the Eagles at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle. She batted .376 with 12 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBIs. As a pitcher, she went 14-5 with a 2.11 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 26 walks in 112 2/3 innings.

Jozsa, a sophomore third baseman, batted .482 with 18 doubles, five home runs and 45 RBIs. Her slugging percentage was .777.

Coletta’s being active with the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association helps when it comes to postseason accolades, he said, as well as proving a highly successful program over the course of time.

“I’m on some boards and panels and what not,” he said. “I think our records over the years have helped. We’ve now established ourselves as being pretty good, so I think that helps a lot from name recognition. And the teams that you play, a lot of the people in the room that were selecting (during the all-state meeting) we’ve played, so that helped, too.”

Ravenna enjoyed a historic season this spring, establishing a school record for victories at 30-9. The Bulldogs were runners-up in the conference to Oakridge, but beat the Eagles in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tournament Tier 1 championship game. The ’Dogs won a district title and lost 1-0 in the regional finals to a Calvin Christian team that advanced to the state semifinals.

Ravenna freshman Emma Herremans stands on second base during a Division 3 regional softball final against Calvin Chrisitan Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Ravenna, Mich. (Bethany McCullough | CatchMark)

Herremans was a big reason for the Bulldogs’ success. The left-handed hitting freshman batted .622 overall with a whopping 1.235 slugging percentage. She had 74 total hits, including 25 doubles, 12 triples and eight home runs. She amassed 63 RBIs, scored 73 runs and stole 34 bases with 17 walks against only three strikeouts. She batted over .790 in league play.

“Well, her stat line is incredible in my opinion,” Ravenna coach Dave Sherman said. “She hit over .600 and a lot of teams, they knew she was a good hitter as well so they were trying not to give her anything down the middle. They tried pitching around her a little bit. Crazy … for a freshman?

“She goes the opposite way. If you pitch her outside, she’s going to take it (opposite field). If you pitch her inside, she’s going to get around on it. She hit it deep to all fields. We didn’t bunt her much, but my goodness, I’ve seen her in practice, she can drag bunt.”

Sherman said that Herremans has a “crazy, crazy” work ethic, and that after a few errors earlier in the season, she made some outstanding plays at third base.

“She threw a couple of girls out from her knees,” he said. “The play she made at the regional title game – the girl bunted and Emma charged (and made a diving catch). It was in front of home plate and she made that play. It was crazy.”

Houseman had an outstanding season for North Muskegon. The senior shortstop batted .639 with an eye-popping 1.790 OPS. Houseman, who made all-state as a utility player, had 13 doubles, two triples and seven home runs with 27 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 33 stolen bases. Her fielding percentage was .975. She is bound for Hope College, where she’ll play softball.

Smith, who also was selected as an all-state utility player, batted .543 with a .938 slugging percentage. She had 12 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 13 stolen bases. Smith, who played catcher and shortstop for Hart, batted .722 with runners in scoring position and her fielding percentage was .983. She is still deciding on her college future.

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