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PHOTO GALLERY: Vestaburg's Rons earns Player of the Year honors

  • Jannelle Rons
  • Olivia Wolfe
  • Cassidy Johnson
  • Kate Saupe
  • Sara Hansen
  • Allison Lipovsky

2014 Dream Team unveiled

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What the Vestaburg softball team did in 2014 is the kind of thing that gets filed away forever.

In personal memories, in scrapbooks and in the community as a whole the 2014 spring season will become the stuff of legend as the years roll on to the point where people will say remember when?

For starters the Wolverines won the ever-tough Mid-State Activities Conference title for the fourth time in the last five years, topping the likes of ranked teams like Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy and Coleman en route to the title. Additionally the Vestaburg baseball team also won its first conference title in 38 years which only further added to the mystique.

In the postseason though the softball program really took off as it won its first district title since 2007 and advanced to the Division 4 semifinal round for the first time since 1986. Through district and regional play the Wolverines outscored their opponents 41-3 and posted three shutouts.

In the quarterfinal round Vestaburg, which was ranked sixth in the final state rankings, doubled up second-ranked Ubly 4-2 at Saginaw Valley State before falling to eighth-ranked Kalamazoo Christian 6-1 in the semifinals in East Lansing to close the season out at 27-9.

At the center of all of this was senior pitcher Jannelle Rons, who was a one-person wrecking crew in her own right in 2014.

In the circle she went 20-3 and finished with an ERA of 1.46. She stuck out 165 hitters in 132 innings of work and allowed 30 earned runs. At the plate the three-time first-team All-State selection hit .557 with a single-season school record 12 homers and 86 RBIs, which ranks fourth best in the MHSAA single-season archives. She also had 14 triples, 16 doubles, 65 runs scored and stole 27 bases while slugging 1.189.

Considering her overall body of work in 2014 one Jannelle Rons has earned Morning Sun Player of the Year honors, following in the footsteps of her sisters Trisha and Melissa who were both outstanding players in their own right.

“I was so happy with how our season turned out,” said Jannelle Rons, who will be playing collegiately at Lansing Community College this fall. “The seven seniors on the team really wanted to make a run, so to get to the semifinals is something we will always remember. I worked hard all winter to get ready for this season and it paid off.”

Head coach Dan Rons, who is Jannelle’s father, added, “For the past four years we have been leaning on her quite a bit and she showed that she was a rock out there for us. She’s been playing travel ball every summer since she was 10 and that’s the kind of dedication it takes to become a great player. I have always said hard work pays off and she’s worked very hard over the past four years.”

Joining Rons on this year’s Morning Sun Dream Team are:

P – Allison Lipovsky, Harrison, Jr.

The hard-throwing right-hander bounced back from a knee injury nicely in 2014 as she went 22-8 in the circle for the Hornets. In 172 innings of work she struck out 339 hitters and finished with an ERA of 0.97. At the plate she also belted the ball around the diamond as she hit .384 with eight home runs, eight doubles and 34 RBIs. Lipovsky earned honorable mention All-State honors in Division 3 and was a first-team All-JPC pick as well as All-District and All-Region. She will be one to watch in 2015.

P - Cassidy Johnson, Chippewa Hills, Jr.

Johnson led the Warriors to a CSAA title and to their first-ever regional title in 2014. She went 21-6 in the circle and finished with an ERA of 1.26. In 171 innings of work she struck out 170 and walked only 33 en route to honorable mention D2 All-State honors. This first-team All-CSAA selection also hit .311 with five doubles, 23 RBIs and 12 runs scored. She earned All-District and All-Region honors also.

P – Kate Saupe, Farwell, Jr.

One year ago Saupe played a big role in the Eagles advancing into D3 regional play, yet they didn’t soar to those heights in 2014 as they got bounced out in district action at Beaverton which was arguably the most difficult D3 softball district in the state. For the season the crafty-left hander went 19-8 overall and struck out 286 hitters in 182 innings of work. The first-team All-JPC pitcher also hit .386 with eight homers and 45 RBIs for the Eagles who finished the campaign at 26-13. She will also be one to watch next year.

C – Kaylie Rhynard, Shepherd, Sr.

This three-sport star closed her career as one of the best softball players and distance runners in school history in 2014. Rhynard, who will play softball and run cross country at Grand Valley State this fall, earned first-team All-State honors in D3 in 2014 and helped the Bluejays win a district title. She had nine doubles, nine triples, five home runs and stuck out only twice. She also drove in 30 runs and scored 71 times while stealing 27 bases. Behind the dish she called a great game and was tough to run on.

IF – Sara Hansen, SHA, Sr.

As a senior Hansen put together a storybook ending to her prep career. On the volleyball court the second-team All-State selection helped the Irish advance to the Class D quarterfinal round last November. This past winter she led the Irish to the Class D state title at point guard, earning first-team All-State honors along the way. Then on June 17 she was named Miss Softball Position Player by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association. Talk about a great year?

On the diamond the first-team Division 4 All-Stater hit .557 with 75 hits and 57 runs scored. She also drove in 14 runs at the lead-off spot and was a perfect 50-for-50 in stolen bases. Hansen, who will play softball at CMU this fall, tied the national record with 82 runs scored in a single season in 2012. She also had hits in 91 straight games during her career which ranks second nationally. She also ranks first in state history in consecutive games with a hit, hits in a single season (100) and runs scored in a season.

IF – Maureen Conway, Mt. Pleasant, Sr.

Conway earned honorable mention All-State honors for the Oilers in 2014 as she had an outstanding senior season at first base. This first-team All-Saginaw Valley League player hit .484 for the season in the always tough-SVL. She also had an on-base percentage of .544 while smashing out 45 hits, 10 doubles, two home runs and scoring 31 runs. In the field she finished with a .986 fielding percentage and earned All-District honors.

IF – Olivia Wolfe, Chippewa Hills, Sr.

The Warriors won a second straight CSAA title in 2014 and rewrote the record books by finishing with a school record 27 victories. Moreover they also won their first-ever D2 regional title before losing in the quarterfinal round 4-0 to Croswell-Lexington. Wolfe, who earned honorable mention D2 All-State honors, played a key role in Chippewa Hills’ run. She hit .480 with a .522 on-base percentage. She also had 15 doubles, two triples and drove in 24 while stealing 25 bases and scoring 52 runs. She earned first-team All-CSAA honors as well as All-District and All-Region honors.

IF – Karrigan Akin, Ithaca, Jr.

The Yellowjackets had another solid season in 2014 after winning a district title in 2013. Akin led the charge as she hit .515 and had an on-base percentage of .586. She finished with 15 doubles, two triples and drove in 31 runs for the Yellowjackets who went 20-12 on the season. Akin earned first-team All-TVC West honors as well as All-District and All-Region accolades. She will be one to watch next year.

OF – Hannah Yesmunt, Shepherd, Sr.

Yesmunt had a fine senior season for the Bluejays and played a big role in their run to a district title. The first-team All-TVC Central selection hit .430 with four doubles and three triples. She also drove in 28 runs, scored 37 times and stole 15 bases. Shepherd went 27-10 on the season and advanced into the D3 regional finals before bowing out. She also earned All-District and All-Region honors.

OF – Riley Terwilliger, SHA, Jr.

Terwilliger was a mainstay all year long for the Irish as she played on the volleyball team that advanced to the Class D quarterfinals and was on the Class D state championship basketball team. Her three-pointer in the closing minutes helped the Irish top Crystal Falls Forest Park in the finale.

On the diamond she earned D4 honorable mention All-State honors for the Irish this spring as she hit .430 with 49 runs scored, six triples and two homers. She also stole 22 bases and earned first-team All-MSAC honors. She had 55 hits in 2014 and had an on-base percentage of .471.

OF – Brooke Seida, Fulton, Sr.

This hard-hitting outfielder hit .481 for the Pirates in 2014 and had 48 hits on the season. She finished with eight doubles, six triples and drove in 17 runs for Fulton. She also stole 36 bases as the table setter and scored 52 times for the Pirates. She earned second-team All-CMAC honors and was named to the All-District and All-Region teams.

DP – Jordan Schneider, Beal City, Sr.

Schneider helped the Aggies win their second straight Highland Conference title in 2014 as she hit .535 with 61 hits in 114 at-bats. She also drove in 40 runs and scored 42 times. For the season she tallied nine doubles, five triples, six home runs and had an on-base percentage of .578. She also slugged .734 and threw out 23 of 41 base stealers from behind the dish. She earned honorable mention All-State honors in D4 and was a first-team All-Highland selection.

Coach – Dan Rons, Vestaburg

Rons led the Wolverines to their best season in 28 years as they won the Mid-State Activities Conference title for the fourth time in five years before going on a postseason run that will be long remembered. Vestaburg advanced to the D4 semifinals for the first time since 1986 and outscored its opponents 45-5 in postseason play through the quarterfinals. In the postseason alone the Wolverines topped fifth-ranked North Muskegon 2-1, eighth-ranked Coleman 7-0 and second-ranked Ubly 4-2. Vestaburg finished the season with a record of 27-9.

Last Updated: 7/5/2014 3:37:19 PM EST