Three Rivers senior shortstop Kali Heivilin became the MHSAA’s single-season softball home run champion Wednesday, hitting her record-tying 26th and record-breaking 27th homers against Berrien Springs in the first game of their doubleheader. She added her 28th dinger later on in game two.
It is yet another spot in the MHSAA record book for the Alabama commit, who set the single-season runs scored record of 88 in the 2019 season. The previous record of 26 was first set in 2018 by both Schoolcraft’s Lydia Goble and Brooke Nadolny of L’Anse Creuse. On Tuesday also facing Berrien Springs, fellow Wolverine Conference slugger Kendra VanderLugt of Otsego reached 26.
As a freshman, Heivilin smacked 18 homers with another 19 coming as a sophomore, immediately making her a well-watched contender for the record. The pandemic prevented a run at the record in 2020, but Heivilin was able to tie and break the record in the Wildcats’ 37th game this season.
Heivilin also joined Nadolny earlier this season as one of only two players to hit 60 career home runs, getting her 65th with the record-setters Wednesday. Had the pandemic not taken away her junior season, Heivilin had a strong chance to surpass Nadolny’s career mark of 73.
The record-tying shot was the second at-bat of Wednesday’s first game, a two-run shot that brought in Gabby Charvat. Heivilin’s third at-bat of the game in the fourth inning was a three-run bomb to break the record, scoring Charvat and Zoe Swartz. Heivilin also doubled twice for a total of six RBI in the game one 12-10 defeat to the Shamrocks. In game two, Heivilin smacked a solo shot in the seventh inning to bring the total to 28 in TR’s 8-6 game two win.
While Heivilin now holds the record alone, both her and VanderLugt still have a chance to add to their totals in Saturday’s district tournament and possibly beyond. Three Rivers faces district host Edwardsburg in the 12 p.m. semifinal with the winner meeting either Niles or Dowagiac. Otsego will face Hopkins at 10 a.m. Saturday from Wayland with the winner to meet either the hosts or Plainwell.