A few weeks after her high school career came to a close, Lakewood’s Lauren Hazel learned that her coach, Kristin Heinze, was stepping away from the dugout.
And in Friday’s Hall of Fame High School All-Star Games at Lansing’s Ranney Park, Hazel gave Heinze a fitting parting gift.
Hazel was named the Most Valuable Player for the West All-Stars in Game 1 of the doubleheader event, which features over 60 Lansing and Greater Lansing seniors. Heinze was one of four coaches for the West, who lost to the East All-Stars 5-2.
“It’s a special way to go out,” said Heinze, who led the Vikings to their first district title since 2006 this past season. “She’s really improved. She played varsity for two years … and in both seasons she struggled hitting early in the season.
“To see a kid cap of their career with an accolade like this, and to see that improvement from beginning to end … it’s neat as a coach.”
Hazel went 1 for 2 with a double and two RBIs. Her double gave the East a 2-0 lead before the West retaliated with five unanswered runs.
“It feels good to be able to say I played for (Heinze),”Hazel said. “It’s honorable, also, (to win MVP) in this type of game.”
Okemos’ Kaleigh King led the way for the West at the plate, as she finished with a double and an RBI. Fowler’s Kara Schafer went 2 for 3 for the West.
In Game 2, the South All-Stars pulled out a come-from-behind victory over the North All-Stars. The South trailed the North, 5-2, heading into the top of the eighth. And after her team tied the game at 5-5, Alma’s Kendall Vedrode knocked in the game-winning RBIs to give the South an 8-5 victory.
“We were in the dugout talking about how it’s a game just for fun, but we still wanted to win,” said Vedrode, who was named the South MVP after going 3 for 3 with two RBIs. “I got a 3-0 count and I told myself I’m not going to swing … I’m glad I swung.”
Perry’s Lauren Aldrich was named MVP for the North after going 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two doubles.
“They had a lot of good hits (late) and we couldn’t field them,” Aldrich said. “I didn’t know any of the players on my team, other than (Chasity Potter), it was fun getting to know them.”
Webberville’s Kayla Crandall went 2 for 3 for the South and Mason’s Lexi Cornwell went 2 for 2.
Ovid-Elsie’s Annika Fountain went 2 for 2 for the North.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII