It may take some time for anyone to match the softball standards set at South Lyon East by Makenzie Nieto.
The senior shortstop, headed to Mississippi College, earned first team Division 2 all-state honors after a prolific season in which she batted a school-record .567. Nieto also established East season marks for total hits (68), doubles (14), triples (six) and runs scored (46), while also knocking in 31.
This season, Nieto was also named to the all-Kensington Lakes Activities Association, all-district and all-region teams.
“Her stats are impressive in that the majority of her successful at-bats came against the better teams we played,” East coach Paul Nieto said of the All-Area Player of the Year. “She had the ability to shorten her swing with runners in scoring position, and could get full extension when we needed extra bases.”
Nieto also established East career records for batting average (.483), total hits (187), triples (12), doubles (49), runs (140) and RBIs (105) over a 137-game span.
“When you consider she played her sophomore year with a torn labrum and was recovering from surgery during junior year year, her stats are very impressive,” her coach said. “Makenzie is the most prolific hitter to date at East.”
The sophomore pitched 196 innings, going 24-5 with a 2.73 earned-run average. Menzel struck out 103 and walked 40 while committing just five errors in 38 games for the Eagles (29-9). She also excelled at the plate, hitting .391 with 35 RBIs and 18 doubles. She had a slugging percentage of .541 and an on-base average of .421.
The sophomore catcher earned Division 1 honorable mention all-state honors after hitting .447 with six homers and 49 RBIs. She also collected 13 doubles and six triples with an on-base average of .449 and a slugging percentage of .748. Koteles recorded 144 putouts with 13 assists and no errors en route to all-region, all-district and all-KLAA recognition.
The sophomore catcher and designated player, the team’s clean-up hitter, made Division 1 honorable mention all-state after batting .466 with 12 homers, two triples, 13 doubles and 36 RBIs. She also scored 37 runs and posted a slugging percentage of .981 while making the all-region, all-district and all-KLAA teams.
“She’s a power hitter, but she also knows how to get base hits as well,” Milford coach Meg Dyer said. “She’s very knowledgeable of the situation and what she needs to do. She’s a gamer. She’ll probably be our starting catcher next year. She’s one of those stallions that you have to break in. When we can hold her in, she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
The freshman catcher batted .421 with four homers, 11 doubles and two triples while leading the Lions with 31 runs scored to go along with a .721 slugging and .495 on-base percentage.
“Janie batted over .400 in her freshman season, which is very impressive,” South Lyon coach Dan DePaulis said of the all-KLAA and all-district pick. “She was a fantastic defensive catcher as well.”
The senior first baseman batted .383 for the Division 1 district champions, including 29 RBIs and 35 runs scored en route to all-KLAA and all-district accolades. Schiffer also slugged .496 and had an on-base average of .433 with a pair of homers and seven doubles.
“Ashley was a great leader and stayed healthy for the first time in four years,” Northville coach Jim Ritz said. “She’s a solid all-around player and student-athlete.”
The sophomore shortstop and pitcher earned all-KLAA and all-district honors despite missing three weeks with a sprained ankle. Herrington hit .529 with six homers, eight doubles, 28 RBIs and 26 runs scored. She also slugged at a .900 clip with an on-base average of .570.
On the mound, Herrington went 13-6 with a 2.92 ERA. In 112 innings, she struck out 104 and walked 31.
“Natalie sprained her ankle in the second game against Lakeland playing shortstop for us, but she was our number one pitcher this year,” Dyer said. “When she was out it was a struggle, but it was nice to have her back. We got her back for districts. She wasn’t 100 percent, but just having her in there at 70 percent was a big help.”
The junior, an all-KLAA choice, was ranked one of the top players in the Oakland County and didn’t disappoint as she paced the Wildcats in hits (51), runs (43), RBIs (39), doubles (17), triples (five) and homers (five) while batting .421.
“Nicole was a defensive mainstay in center field,” Novi coach Bruce Lenington said. “She was also an all-district selection.”
South Lyon East
The senior third baseman, headed to Michigan State to study business, batted .367 with 34 runs scored and 28 RBIs while earning all-KLAA, all-district and all-region honors. Doty also had 15 extra-base hits, including 10 doubles, two triples and three homers.
Career-wise, Doty finished with a .342 average and ranks first in homers (seven) and second in both doubles (34) and triples (nine).
“Kailey was a great number four batter,” coach Nieto said. “Her ability to hit for power as well as single to right made her very effective. Kailey was great at working her count, and was a clutch hitter. The best part about coaching Kailey was her ability to handle the pressure situations.”
The senior shortstop, who will play next season at Calvin College, batted .414, including five homers, with a .480 on-base percentage while earning all-KLAA and all-district honors as the Wildcats won the KLAA’s Central Division.
“Casey anchored the left side of the infield at third base and then shortstop,” Lenington said. “She had several big hits and was consistent offensive threat in the middle of the lineup.”
The sophomore right-hander, an all-KLAA selection, posted a 16-10 record in 161 innings while hitting .408 en route to all-district recognition.
The junior pitcher and designated player went 14-7 with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 139 in 131 innings. Zwarka, named all-district, also batted .279 with seven doubles as Northville won 14 of its last 15 games.
South Lyon East
The junior pitcher and utility player batted .394, including five homers and four triples, to go along with 28 RBIs and 26 runs scored while earning all-KLAA, all-district and all-region honors.
The junior first baseman batted .393 with two homers and 18 doubles. Beale also scored 46 runs and knocked in 25. She had an on-base average of .478 and a slugging percentage of .607. Defensively, Beale finished with 162 putouts and 62 assists.
The sophomore infielder batted .360 with four homers, 15 doubles, 36 RBIs and 24 runs. Castellon also had a slugging percentage of .592 and made just one error.
The sophomore shortstop, who made all-district and all-KLAA, was the Lions’ top defensive player and hit .320 with 24 runs and 18 RBIs.
The senior third baseman, an all-district choice headed to Concordia University, batted .387 with 48 hits, including nine for extra bases. She also scored 33 runs and stole 30 bases.
The sophomore outfielder batted .404 with 31 runs scored. Zimmerman also had a slugging percentage of .430 and an on-base average of .419 for the KLAA North Division and KLAA Lakes Conference champions.
The freshman designated player and back-up pitcher hit .364 with three homers, two triples and nine doubles. She also had 37 RBIs and scored 27 runs. Her on-base average was .439, with a slugging percentage of .570.
Player of the Year
Makenzie Nieto, South Lyon East
Teresa Menzel, Lakeland
Rianna Koteles, Lakeland
Audrey Petroskey, Milford
Janie Mitchell, South Lyon
Ashley Schiffer, Northville
Natalie Herrington, Milford
Nicole Ireland, Novi
Kailey Doty, South Lyon East
Casey Lawler, Novi
Ally Cummings, Novi
Allison Zwarka, Northville
Bailee Taylor, South Lyon East
Brooke Beale, Lakeland
Lauren Castellon, Lakeland
Emma Sawicki, South Lyon
Jenna Lowney, Novi
Mary Zimmerman, Lakeland
Sarah Hige, Northville
Northville: Sarah Moos, fr.; Melissa Swart, sr.; Brianna Nayh, jr.; Novi: Megan Hrit, sr.; Maddy Bradenstein, jr.; Sami DeLisle, sr.; Hope Kapelanski, soph.; Madison Budde, soph.; Franklin Road Christian: Katie Larabell, sr.; Hannah Rayburn, jr., Danielle Fusco, soph.; South Lyon: Lindsay Brandon, jr.; Jamie Conrad, jr.; Kelsey McLaughlin, jr.; South Lyon East: Jessica Lavoie, sr.; Lakeland: Marissa Kornatowski, jr.; Alivia Grunwald, jr.; Milford: Aubrey Long, sr.; Julia Stevenson, jr.; Emily White, sr.; Nicole Wojcik, sr.