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SL softball dominates postseason awards

Tribune Staff • Jun 19, 2018 at 11:48 PM

The Spring Lake softball team was an infield bobble away from the state semifinals, but the miraculous final out by South Haven in the quarterfinals didn’t keep the Lakers off postseason awards lists. Four players cracked the highest level of honor, accompanied by a slew of All-Conference, -District and -Regional awards.

Seniors Madelyn Nelson, Lauren Hellman and Linsey Paggeot were given All-State honors for their contributions to Spring Lake’s historic 40-1 season, each adding to a long list of individual accolades.

Nelson received her 2018 All-State award for her time at shortstop after earning an honorable mention in 2015 and 2016 as a freshman and sophomore at third base. She finished this season with a .613 batting average, scoring 81 runs and stealing 36 bases. She finishes her career with four All-Conference, -District and -Regional awards each and a .547 career batting average. Head coach Bill core asserts that she “will go down as one of the greatest softball players in Spring Lake history.”

Hellman picked up her second career All-State award in 2018 for her time in the outfield, after earning honorable mention honors in 2016 and full honors in 2017. Her .480 batting average allowed her to score 68 runs this season and rack up 26 RBIs. She also has earned All-Conference, -District and –Regional awards four years running. Her role on the team was described by Core as “the perfect lead-off hitter and centerfielder.”

Paggeot’s 2018 All-State award for her time at second base was her second after earning full honors last season. A season batting average of .477 scored her 59 runs and a matching 59 RBIs, earning her All-Conference, -District and -Regional selections for the third straight season. Core attributes her success to her killer mentality saying she is a “fierce competitor who has high expectations of herself and does not disappoint.”

Rounding out the All-State awards for the Lakers was junior pitcher Leah Vaughan, who earned her second honorable mention nod for her dominant 2018 season. Vaughan finished 28-1 in 2018 with a 0.83 ERA, holding her opponents to a .150 batting average, while racking up 235 strikeouts in 169 innings pitched. At the plate, she hit .555, bringing home 70 RBIs. The effort earned her All-Conference, -District and –Regional awards for the third straight year.

“Leah had an absolutely incredible year,” Core said.

All five seniors on the team, Hellman, Somers, Nelson, Paggeot and Kileah Rymal earned individual Academic All-State awards, as well.

In addition to their success at the All-State level, the Lakers earned a number of conference, district and regional honors.

Junior Jenna Core earned All-Conference, -District and –Regional honors while setting the Spring Lake single-season home run record with 11 bombs and the career mark with 25, helping her to a .433 average to go with 48 RBIs.

Senior Lauren Somers picked up All-Conference honors as a 12-0 pitcher and starting first baseman, while junior catcher Molly Poole received All-Conference honors for her .344 batting average and 44 RBIs, to round out the player awards.

At their postseason banquet, the Spring Lake Coaches Award went to Rymal for “her positive outlook and fun-loving attitude,” saying it was “just what the team needed to keep things relaxed.” The Captain’s Award went to Paggeot and Somers, while the Best Hitter Award went to Nelson for her aforementioned .613 batting average.

Hellman, Paggeot, Nelson, Somers, Rymal and Coach Core and his staff received invitations to both the O-K Blue vs. O-K White All-Star Game and the Muskegon Community All-Star Game, while Hellman, Nelson, Paggeot, Core and his staff received invitations to the Michigan High School All-Star Game on July 18.

All this talent added up to a school-record 40 wins, Spring Lake’s 12th conference title in 16 seasons — continuing their streaks of six straight conference titles and 78 straight conference wins — back-to-back regional championships, their highest-ever state ranking at No. 2 in Division 2 and a team Academic-All State award for their 3.72 GPA. 

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