Monday, July 25, 2011

Southern Juniors West All-Stars Come Up Just Short

Chuck Tanner, former MLB player and coach, once said, “It is hard to win a pennant,
but it is harder to lose one.” The SLL West Juniors Baseball All Star team experienced the full
measure of the truth of that famous quote on Sunday at Pinery Park as they dropped
a 5-1 decision to Western Little League in the District 9 championship game. The
team’s bats went silent after a series of games where they were able to run up
double-digit scores on their opponents.

Coach Mike Horjus’ squad was the odds-on favorite going into the weekend, having
taken one from Western Little League by a score of 10-1 earlier in the tournament,
but a determined Western squad prevailed in the end. The team was led in the
tournament by the formidable hitting of Jack Bates, Carter Masek, Sam Jansen, and
Casey Horjus. Matt Reglin, AJ Zawacki, Masek, and others turned in outstanding
defensive efforts, including more than a few “web gems.” All 13 players on the squad
contributed to the team’s outstanding post-season run.

While no one on the team was satisfied with the second-place finish on Sunday,
there is no taking away the memories and friendships made throughout the post-
season. There were great moments for both players and fans of the SLL squad along
every step of the way. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over” and while
the season may have ended just a little earlier than the team would have liked, there
is little doubt in the minds of those who know and love these guys that they will be
heard from again; these guys aren’t done yet!! Baseball is the greatest game on earth
and the coaches and fans of the 2011 Juniors’ West All Stars are proud of the effort
this team made and look forward already to another season of pulling for our SLL

Seniors Baseball All-Stars Bow Out of Regional Tournament

The District #9 Boy's Senior Baseball team lost a best of three Sectional series with the District #12 team from Holton this weekend.

Here is a recap of the games.

Game #1: Mike Priest pitched a strong game for Southern. He battled throughout the game, allowing a few unearned runs, while getting out of multiple jams. Offensively, Southern had chances to score, but could not string anything together against Holton's pitcher who kept them off balance by mixing up his pitches well. Holton played a strong defensive game nailing a couple of Southern runners on the base paths. Southern scored their only run when David Zwiers hit a long double, and was driven in on a sacrifice fly from Austin Huizinga. Final score: District #12 over District #9, 3 to 1.

Game #2: Southern jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st. By the end of the 2nd it had increased to 5-0. Jake Lewis started the game on the mound for Southern but due to the early lead, was removed and saved for the championship game. Chris Collins did an excellent job in relief in this game to make sure the game ended in a Southern victory. Leading the hit parade were Austin Huizinga with 3 hits and 3 RBI, Taylor Martin with 2 hits and 4 RBI, and Nick Wojcynski with an RBI double. Final score: District #9 over District #12, 11 to 0.

Game #3: The rubber game was a well played game through the first 7 innings. As expected out of two teams good enough to make a Sectional Final Game, each team got some great pitching and defense through regulation. Jake Lewis pitched into the 8th inning, having a no-hitter for the majority of the game. However, once his pitch count required removing him from the mound, things fell apart for Southern. The Holton bats came alive against a trio of Southern relievers, coupled with some walks and Southern errors to blow open an exciting game scoring 12 runs. True to their character, the Southern team did not give up fighting scoring 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the 8th, before bowing out of the tournament. Leading hitters included Taylor Martin with 2 hits and an RBI, and Mike Priest who was on base many times. Final score: District #12 over District #9, 12 to 4.

The Southern Senior Boy's baseball team represented itself well, going 6-2 during their tournament run. They came together as a team (from different school teams including East Grand Rapids, Catholic Central, Christian, and Ottawa Hills) and battled not only other teams but also the high heat, playing 8 games in a span of 11 days in 90+ temperatures. While the outcome was not what everyone wanted, Manager Steve Lewis, coaches Jeff Huizinga and Jay Martin, along with all the parents that watched these games are all very proud of the effort put forth by the Southern kids.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seniors Baseball All-Stars Win District Championship

Thanks to Jay Martin for providing some specifics on the the Seniors Baseball District Championship games between Southern and Western from Wednesday night.

Game #1: Southern jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a ground rule double from Elliott Zimmerman. By the 7th inning Southern upped its lead to 5-1, in large part to a monumental homer from Jake Lewis. Western battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th and force extra innings. Southern responded in the extra frame scoring 2 huge runs, started off by a hit from Austin Huizinga and finished with a 2 run single from Austin Batka.
Bower Snedeker pitched an excellent game, with Mike Priest getting Southern out of a jam in the 7th and winning it in the 8th. Taylor Martin contributed 3 hits and the other RBI.

Game #2: In this game Western took the early lead with 3 runs in the top of the first inninng. Southern bounced right back in their half of the inning to tie the game. Pitcher Austin Batka then settled in to hold Western down while Southern took the lead and increased it to 11-4 after 4 innings. The big hits that lead to the lead came from the heart of the order with a Jake Lewis missle shot HR, 2 doubles from Taylor Martin, and a double from David Zwiers. Once again Western would not quit, cutting Southern's lead all the way down to 1 run 11-10. Mike Priest then had a huge double driving in two in the bottom of the 6th for some much needed insurance runs. Relievers Nick Wojcynski and Taylor Martin maintained the lead for the middle innings, before handing the ball over to Priest to come in slam the door shut, setting off a giant pile of exhausted and elated ballplayers.

Overall it was a total team effort that brought the Title to Southern, making them Back-to-Back District 9 Seniors Champions. Other members that all contributed to the Championship included: Tyler Boyd, Chris Dickow, Mitch Sayfie, Chris Collins, Remy Woods, and Taylor Smith.

Tournament Updates

The District 9 Big League Baseball will play for the championship of the Central States Regional Tournament at Pinery Park tonight at 7:00pm. There are several Southern players on that team so come out and support them.

Southern’s Juniors Baseball West All-Star team will be playing for the District Championship Saturday at 3:00pm at Pinery Park. The team is undefeated so come out and root them on to a championship.

Southern’s Senior Baseball All-Stars won the district championship with two hard-fought victories over Western on Wednesday night. CONGRATULATIONS!! They will play a sectional best two out of three against the district 12 champions Saturday at Pinery Park at 6:00pm and 8:00pm. Stay at Pinery Saturday and cheer for the Senior Baseball All-Stars!!

Good luck to all!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Congratulations Seniors Baseball Teams

Congratulations to all four of our Senior Baseball teams for finishing first or second in the district-wide team tournaments. Team Lewis went undefeated in Class C to win the crown while Team Huizenga went all the way in Class C to win the championship. Not to be out-dueled, Team Vulpetti came from the losers' bracket all the way back to win the championship. Trying for a clean sweep, Team Norton came up just short and finished second in Class A. Great season and congrats to all of the senior baseball players and their coaches. Well done!

Coaches: Equipment Return Dates

Equipment return dates are July 12 and July 14 at 7:00pm for all leagues at Southern's equipment shed. All coaches need to return jerseys and equipment bags. 78ers players keep their shirts.

If you are not able to make it, please find a parent or assistant coach to turn in the equipment on one of the above dates on your behalf.

Questions? Contact Steve Bender at

Monday, July 11, 2011

Missing Bat Bag

A black Nike bag has gone missing from Southern, It has about 5 or 6 bats including a DiMarini CF4. It was left at Southern on Saturday. If someone has it, Please email Amy McCulloch at Thanks!

Southern Big Leaguers Win Wooden Bat Tourney

Congratulations to Southern's Big League Baseball team coached by Chris Lamange and Steve Kraai for winning the annual wooden bat tournament championship. This was Southern's first championship in four years. Congratulations, guys!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Congratulations 2011 Seniors Baseball All-Stars

Manager: Steve Lewis 821-7535
Coach: Jeff Huizenga 293-2610
Coach: Jay Martin
Jake Lewis
Mike Priest
Elliott Zimmerman
Taylor Martin
Tyler Boyd
Austin Huizenga
Chris Dickow
Nick Wojczynski
Mitch Sayfie
Chris Collins
Pat Cvengros
Austin Batka
Bower Snedeker
Remy Woods
David Zwiers