Kate Buckland spent her entire high school softball career hoping her play on the field would result in all-state accolades.
It finally did this spring for the catcher and recent Okemos graduate, despite a rib injury that impacted her performance in the season’s early stages.
Buckland bounced back from that injury to finish the season strong and help Okemos capture a district title while earning Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association honorable mention all-state honors in Division 1.
And those all-state accolades have resulted in Buckland getting a final opportunity to represent Okemos at the MHSSCA all-star games Wednesday at Central Michigan University’s Jonker Stadium.
“I was unbelievably happy and really surprised (to get all-state) because I know coming off an injury in your senior season and to go on to be named all-state honorable mention is really hard,” Buckland said. “I was just happy and honored to finally have got that.”
Buckland is one of four players from Mid-Michigan on rosters for Wednesday’s all-star games. Ithaca’s Brooklyn Dolloff will play in the Division 3 contest, while Fulton’s Connor Proctor and Morrice’s Averi Munro will each be in the Division 4 game. Webberville’s Andy Smith is one of the coaches for the Division 3 contest.
Buckland, who will continue her softball career at Division 1 Mercer University, is looking forward to playing with some of the state’s top recently graduated seniors as she makes her final preparations for college.
“I’m just really excited for it because you get to play with the best in the state,” Buckland said. “I’ve gotten to know a couple of girls through travel ball, so getting to face off with them on the same field at the same time is going to be a really cool experience. I’m excited for it.”
Buckland, who leaves for Mercer in a month, has been focused on staying healthy and keeping up with her training, conditioning and weight lifting so she’s prepared as much as possible when she arrives on the Macon, Ga., campus.
And Buckland would like to be a part of an incoming freshman class that helps Mercer bounce back from a 23-35 season next year.
“I just want to go down there and help my team,” Buckland said. “Last season was a little bit of struggle for Mercer, but I know this year we have a really good freshman class. I’m really hoping I can really work hard to (help) improve our season and hopefully win a championship in the (Southern Conference). We’ll see.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
MHSSCA All-Star games
When: Wednesday (Division 1 – 9:30 a.m./ Division 2 – 11:30 a.m. / Division 3 – 1:30 p.m./ Division 4 – 3:30 p.m.)
Where: Central Michigan University’s Jonker Stadium
Mid-Michigan participants: Division 1 – Kate Buckland, Okemos; Division 3 – Brooklyn Dolloff, Ithaca / Andy Smith, Webberville coach; Division 4 – Averi Munro, Morrice / Connor Proctor, Fulton.