Kalamazoo Christian downed top-ranked Coleman 6-1 in Friday’s Division 4 softball state semifinal, pushing the Comets to the championship for the 12th time in school history.
Their lone seniors Jayme Koning and Sydney Duong led the way with Koning allowing only four hits over a complete game. She and Duong each had three hits, including a three-run home run in the sixth from Koning.
“Their leadership on the field, their leadership off the field, we have great team chemistry and it stems with those two,” said head coach Kevin Lewis. “The camaraderie that they have, no other team in the state has it.”
After retiring the first two Coleman hitters, Coleman was able to grab a run against Koning with two singles, a walk, and hit-by-pitch. For the next six shutout innings, Koning would only scatter two hits and a walk to the defending state runner-up.
“I think a lot of it was the nerves, first inning jitters,” said Koning. “Once we got through that, we played our game.”
K-Christian tied the game in the bottom of the first as Sydney Duong smacked a leadoff triple, then was brought in on a RBI single by Koning. The game stayed locked up at 1-1 until the fifth inning as error-free defense from K-Christian helped prevent any further Coleman runs.
“My defense is great, my team’s awesome,” said Koning. “They stopped every ball, they made every play, they’re awesome.”
“Defense is obviously the name of the game,” noted Lewis. “Jayme held them tight and we got the job done on that.”
Koning led off the fifth inning with a double. After two popouts, freshman Reagan Broekhuizen knocked in courtesy runner Nyla de Jong to give Kalamazoo Christian a 2-1 advantage.
“I told our coaches, once we get on top, we can cruise the rest of the way,” added Lewis.
A four-run sixth inning removed any doubt for K-Christian. Sammy Gano got to second via a one-out error. Coleman elected to intentionally walk Duong and try their luck against Megan Snook, but Snook made them pay with a RBI single. Not wanting to get burned twice, Coleman pitched to Koning next despite first base being open. Koning promptly crushed a three-run homer to center field to reach the 6-1 final margin.
Koning finished a triple shy of the cycle, adding four RBI with a run and one from her courtesy runner de Jong. Duong had two runs on a triple and two singles. Coleman senior Jaden Berthume allowed 11 hits over her complete game with her squad finishing at 35-8.
Kalamazoo Christian moves to the final for the first time since their 2015 runner-up season. They’ve claimed seven titles in total, most recently in 2013.
“We’ve prepared for this, we’re super excited and we’re ready,” said Koning.
The Comets will play Unionville-Sebewaing in Saturday’s championship at 3 p.m. ET from Michigan State University. You can listen to Saturday’s final live via JoeInsider.com. *NOTE: Due to having to switch venues between soccer and softball Saturday, the Division 4 softball broadcast may begin after first pitch. Coverage will resume as soon as possible.
W- Jayme Koning 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP
L- Jaden Berthume 6 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K