by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
Five players from county teams made the all-state Division 4 softball squad as selected by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches’ Association. The list has three, Rogers City’s Sarah Meredith, and Posen’s Jenna Hincka and Kayla Lenard, returning as first team all-state selections, with one, Meredith, making the first team for her fourth-consecutive year.
Posen seniors Jenna Hincka and Kayla Lenard each made first team in the coach’s listing. Hincka made the team as a shortstop, hitting .563 with four homers and 58 RBI. She socked 14 doubles, seven triples and scored 46 runs. She struck out only eight times all season and walked 11 times.
For her career, Hincka had 12 home runs and 180 RBI and scored 192 runs with a five-year career average of .459. She played varsity as an eighth-grader.
In addition to her success at the plate, Hincka provided steady defense in the field, anchoring the infield from her shortstop position.
Lenard, who played four varsity seasons for the Vikings, hit .455 this season with 45 RBI and 54 runs. She hit 11 doubles and five triples while stealing 21 bases.
For her career, Lenard hit .422 with six home runs and 145 RBI.
“Jenna was part of five consecutive League titles. Kayla was part of four. They were both on the 2013 district title team and Jenna was on the 2012 district championship team. They are amazing teammates and great leaders. Both led by the example of their work ethic in practice and their commitment to our softball program. Without those two in our lineup, our team batting average was below .280 which shows you how valuable they were to the team this season,” said Posen coach Glenn Budnick.
Rogers City’s Sarah Meredith earned her fourth-consecutive first-team, all-state honor. The senior catcher was part of four district champions and three regional championship teams, two final four teams and the catcher on the 2014 state championship as a sophomore. The Hurons went 129-30 over her four-year career.
Her final statistics clearly rank her as among the best to ever play the position in Michigan. She hit for power and a very high average while playing the physically demanding position of catcher. For her career she hit .570 with her best averaging coming in her junior year at .664 and her lowest at .521 as a freshman. She hit 38 home runs and drove in 245 runs, with 72 RBI coming in her senior season. Her clutch home run in the quarterfinal game pulled the Hurons to within one run of a remarkable comeback.
“Sarah was like having another coach on the field. She could handle the pitchers, call the pitches and position the defense. She could do it all. Her leadership was unbelievable, on and off the field. For any young kids watching, she would be the one to watch,” said Huron coach Karl Grambau.
Her throwing ability caused other teams to forget about stealing. From her knees in a tournament game this season, she picked a runner off second base who carelessly strayed too far off the bag.
Sophomore third baseman Hannah Fleming and freshman pitcher Jayna Hance each earned honorable mention in the coach’s all-state list while playing for Rogers City. Fleming, a sophomore third baseman, socked three home runs in consecutive at bats midway through the season. Her two-run homer in the regional finals provided the Hurons with the winning margin. For the year she had eight homers with 41 RBI and a batting average of .397. She also drew a team high 28 bases on balls and scored 60 runs.
“Hannah moved from second base to third base this year after (her sister) Logan graduated and she really did a great job,” Grambau said. “We are happy to have her back for two more years. She is a wonderful player who works really hard. When we moved her to fourth in the batting order and Jayna to leadoff, that is when our season turned around.”
Hance got most of the work on the mound for the Hurons this season with a 20-9 record in 157 innings of work. She struck out 108, walked 56 and had an earned run average of 2.85. Her brave effort at the regional tournament under very hot conditions helped the Hurons to the regional title. At the plate, she led off and hit .397 scoring 39 runs.
“Jayna has a bright future ahead of her, based on how she pitched and improved as the season went on,” Grambau said.
Freshman outfielder Taylor Fleming made the all-regional team while sophomore shortstop Kayla Rabeau was all-district for Rogers City.
Rogers City won the sportsmanship award at the district level and coach Grambau was named regional coach of the year.