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Seven is magic number for West Michigan Conference in 2024 all-state softball

Holton leads way with four first-teamers, followed by two from Oakridge and one from Ravenna.

The West Michigan Conference sent three teams to state softball quarterfinal games in the 2024 season with one of them advancing to a championship contest.

How good of a season did it end up being for the conference? Well, when the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association released its all-state teams, seven from the WMC had earned first-team honors with a handful more picking up honorable mention accolades.

Let’s just say, the conference could field a full lineup with its all-state recipients.

Division 2 state quarterfinalist Oakridge had two first-teamers, Division 3 state quarterfinalist Ravenna had one first-teamer, and Division 4 state finalist Holton had four first-teamers.

Here are more details on the first-team all-staters plus info on those who were honorable mention.

Editor’s note: Stats for Oakridge players are from the regular season, according to coach Joe Coletta, who said that’s what is submitted for all-state consideration.

Kaelinn Jozsa, Oakridge

Oakridge senior Kaelinn Jozsa gets a high-five from coach Joe Coletta after hitting a home run against Whitehall Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Whitehall, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The senior shortstop finished her sparkling career in fine fashion, earning Division 2 first-team all-state after being honorable mention in her sophomore and junior seasons.

In 2024, Jozsa batted .518 from the leadoff spot (59-for-114) with 12 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, and 40 RBIs. She scored 63 runs and posted an on-base percentage of .608 and slugging percentage of 1.026.

Defensively, Jozsa had 91 total chances with 46 put-outs, 38 assists, and six errors for a fielding percentage of .933.

Jozsa is taking her talents to Division II Ferris State University, where the multi-sport athlete will play softball.

“Kaelinn is a great competitor and teammate. She is a very versatile and athletic softball player that can play anywhere on the field,” Coletta said. “She leaves as the Oakridge all-time home run and RBI leader for her career.

“She’s the type of player that likes to ler her bat and glove do the talking and lead by example. She has been the leader of our teams the last two years and a great example for others to follow.”

Maddie Clark, Oakridge

Oakridge senior Maddie Clark is shown competing against Orchard View during a West Michigan Conference Lakes Division softball doubleheader Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

This is the second straight season in which the Eagles first baseman has earned Division 2 first-team all-state honors.

Clark provided a powerful, left-handed bat from the cleanup spot. She hit .430 this season (46-of-107) with five doubles, 11 home runs, and 57 RBIs. She scored 42 runs and had an on-base percentage of .492 and slugging percentage of .785.

Defensively, Clark had 118 total chances with 112 put-outs, three assists, and three errors for a .975 fielding percentage.

Clark plans to attend Muskegon Community College but said she is not playing softball.

“Maddie was the heartbeat of our team this season,” Coletta said. “A great competitor and teammate. She led us in so many different ways other than her on-field play.

“She brought a consistent, positive energy to every practice and every game. One of the most powerful bats I’ve ever coached.”

Emma Herremans, Ravenna

Ravenna junior Emma Herremans poses for a photo during the Bulldogs’ 2024 media day at CatchMark. (Courtney Jimison | CatchMark)

This is the third straight season that the Ravenna junior third baseman has earned Division 3 first-team all-state accolades. Making this honor impressive is the fact that she received all-state despite missing half with the season with a significant knee injury.

Herremans hit a whopping .717 (33-for-46) with eight doubles, two triples, three home runs, 25 RBIs, 26 runs scored, a 1.174 slugging percentage, and 1.971 OPS. Defensively, she had 34 chances with 11 put-outs, 22 assists, and one error for a .971 fielding percentage.

Herremans committed to Division II Ferris State University prior to her 2024 season.

“She is probably the best hitter I have seen,” Ravenna coach Dave Sherman said. “Pitchers would try and pitch different ways and she was still hitting .700 before she got hurt. She also plays a great third base, completely taking away the opportunity to play small on us.

“I think she will come back very strong and pick up right where she left off. In normal Emma fashion, she’s already ahead of schedule on her rehab.”

Abbie Fowler, Holton

Holton senior Abbie Fowler returns to a happy dugout during the Red Devils’ 8-0 win over Hillman in a Division 4 state semifinal game Friday, June 14, 2024, at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The senior shortstop is a rarity in that she’s a left-hander playing the position. Even more rare is the fact that this is the fourth straight season in which Fowler has earned Division 4 first-team all-state honors.

This season, Fowler batted .418 (61-for-146) with nine doubles, 11 triples, and three home runs. The leadoff batter scored 62 runs, drove in 31, drew 21 walks, and went 29-for-31 in stolen-base attempts. She had a .491 on-base percentage, .692 slugging percentage, and 1.574 OPS.

Defensively, Fowler had 100 total chances with 44 assists, 44 put-outs, and 12 errors for an .880 fielding percentage. In the pitcher’s circle, she went 6-2 with two saves and a 2.068 ERA. Fowler recorded 64 strikeouts and six walks in 44 innings pitched.

Fowler plans to attend Ferris State University. She may consider trying out for softball, but it does not appear likely at this point.

“Abbie Fowler is an all-around player that is a coach’s dream to coach,” Holton coach Kirk Younts said. “She is a great kid and great all-around athlete.”

Ryann Robins, Holton

Holton senior Ryann Robins (28) celebrates after getting a key hit during the Red Devils’ 8-0 state semifinal victory over Hillman Friday, June 14, 2024, at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The senior is a three-time, first-team all-stater, earning the distinction this season at first base. She also received first-team all-state in her freshman and junior seasons.

Robins belted 20 home runs this season and finished with 50 in her four-year varsity career, the latter ranking her fifth on the MHSAA’s all-time list. She batted a team-high .447 (55-for-123) with nine doubles, one triple, and 64 RBIs. She scored 52 runs and drew 26 walks. Robins had a .550 on-base percentage, 1.024 slugging percentage, and 1.574 OPS.

Defensively, Robins had 127 total chances with 31 assists, 85 put-outs, and 11 errors for a .913 fielding percentage. In the pitcher’s circle, the right-hander was 10-4 with a 2.645 ERA. She had 118 strikeouts and 49 walks in 87 1/3 innings.

Robins will attend Ferris State University, but she does not plan to play sports.

“Ryann Robins is a senior that will be missed and very hard to replace,” Younts said. “She is a leader on and off the field. She recently hit her 50th career home run that will for sure put her in the record books.”

Grace Thompsen, Holton

Holton junior catcher Grace Thompsen is shown during a game against Ravenna Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Holton, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The junior catcher earned Division 4 first-team all-state honors for the second straight season. She was all-state honorable mention as a freshman.

This season, Thompsen batted .413 (45-for-109) with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, 25 RBIs, and 43 runs scored. She had a .576 on-base percentage, .569 slugging percentage, and 1.145 OPS. She drew a team-high 33 walks and was hit by pitch nine times.

Defensively, Thompsen had 337 total chances with 18 assists, 319 put-outs, and no errors for a perfect fielding percentage.

“Grace Thompsen is a blue-collar kind of player that works hard and takes her game seriously,” Younts said. “She catches the majority of the time and just battles nonstop.”

Kenzie Greene, Holton

Holton junior Kenzie Greene delivers a pitch during the Division 4 state finals against Unionville-Sebewaing Area Saturday, June 15, 2024, at Michigan State University’s Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

The junior pitcher earned Division 4 first-team all-state accolades for the first time after being named honorable mention as a pitcher in 2023 and as a utility player in 2022.

Greene, the Red Devils’ right-handed ace, finished with a 13-7-1 record this season with one save and a 2.602 ERA. She had 161 strikeouts and 38 walks in 115 2/3 innings.

Greene put up big numbers at the plate. She hit .423 (63-for-149) with 15 doubles, one triple, and 11 home runs. She also scored 60 runs and drove in 46. Her on-base percentage was .449, slugging percentage .758, and OPS 1.208. Defensively, she had 146 total chances with 31 assists, 104 put-outs, and 11 errors for a .925 fielding percentage.

“Kenzie Greene is also a pleasure to coach and is a student of the game,” Younts said. “Softball is her favorite sport and it shows because her hard work really pays off.

“I’m very proud of these four young ladies (Holton’s first-team all-staters) for their accomplishments and dedication to Holton softball.”

All-state honorable mention recipients

Oakridge’s Gracie Willea, Kelcey Osborne, and Kylee Willea received Division 2 all-state honorable mention recognition, giving the Eagles an impressive five players overall receiving all-state honors.

Ravenna’s Addison Gillard was selected Division 3 all-state honorable mention for a second straight year, giving the Bulldogs two all-state recipients.

Gracie Willea, a junior outfielder, batted .410 (41-for-100) with four doubles, two triples, one home run, 28 RBIs, and 40 runs scored. Her on-base percentage was .512 and slugging percent .520. Defensively, she had 37 total chances with 35 put-outs, one assist, and one error for a .973 fielding percentage.

Osborne, a freshman pitcher and infielder, batted .430 (46-for-107) with 11 doubles, one triple, four homers, 46 RBIs, and 49 runs scored. She had a .496 on-base percentage and .664 slugging percentage. In the pitcher’s circle, the right-hander went 12-5 with a 2.04 ERA. She struck out 70 and walked seven in 72 innings. Defensively, Osborne had 64 total chances with 42 put-outs, 18 assists, and four errors for a .938 fielding percentage.

Kylee Willea, a junior pitcher, was the Eagles’ ace. The right-hander went 14-4 with a 1.98 ERA. She struck out 123 and walked 15 in 105 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .224 against her. Willea pitched in every big game Oakridge played, according to Coletta, facing some of the best teams in the state regardless of division.

Gillard, a junior pitcher, was arguably the top pitcher in the West Michigan Conference this season. Like Willea for Oakridge, Gillard faced Ravenna’s toughest opponents. The right-hander finished 18-5 with a 1.313 ERA. She struck out 188 and walked 25 in 117 innings pitched. At the plate, the cleanup hitter batted .358 (43-for-120) with eight doubles, one triple, and three home runs, plus 33 RBIs and 37 runs scored. She played through an ankle injury for a number of games.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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