Lydia Goble didn’t see it coming.
Not the 24-straight wins with the Schoolcraft girls basketball team, or the Regional Championship won on the hardwood. Not the MHSAA-record 26 home runs during the spring.
She certainly didn’t see it all happening in the same year.
Yet it all did, and after capping off an incredible senior season as a multi-sport student athlete, Goble’s record-breaking campaign on the diamond earned her the staff selection for the Joe Insider.com 2018 Kalamazoo County Player of the Year.
Goble – who was also the Joe Insider.com Kalamazoo County Girls Basketball Player of the Year this past April – posted a .535 batting average and 63 RBI to go along with her gaudy home run total. Goble was selected First Team Class C All-State, and led the Eagles to a 29-4 record and a District Championship.
“It really came out of nowhere,” Goble said of her tremendous senior year. “A new coach for basketball (Steve Kulczyk) pretty much changed everything. It fit my style of play more, and it was more fun than it was anything else. I think that transitioned over to softball, because I had the same mindset for both sports. I think it was just a great senior season.”
Also perhaps a season of less pressure, as the Grand Valley State University commit was done with the recruiting process and free to just … play.
“I think part of it was her commitment to college being out of the way,” said Schoolcraft head softball coach – and Lydia’s father – Jim Goble. “Her senior year, she was just playing her game. She was relaxed, and had nothing to lose. She played her game the best she could play it.”
“I think being a senior, and really not having anything to lose, helped have my mind in the right place every single game,” she said.
As a planned gift for Lydia’s graduation, Jim and his wife decided to journal Lydia’s senior seasons in basketball and softball. At the time, they had no idea what they’d be chronicling: First Team Class C All-State honors in basketball and softball. School records in points (487) and three-pointers (78) in basketball; and of course, the astonishing home run mark.
“It was just a dream season for her,” Jim said. “Her mom and I journaled her senior year, not realizing how special it was going to be. It turned out to be a pretty neat gift.”
Lydia was surprised with the gift, which came in the form of two bounded journals, on the weekend of her first travel ball tournament this summer.
“They kept the journals a secret from me all year,” she said. “It was just a surprise to get that. To read through it, it was pretty emotional, to be honest. Just bringing back all of those memories. I’m going to miss basketball a lot. That part was pretty emotional.”
While the success Lydia had in basketball and softball are impressive separately, the fact these accomplishments occurred in back-to-back athletic seasons is almost difficult to comprehend.
“It’s really interesting,” says Jim. “For her, she’s just playing her game, but I continue to look at her and go: ‘you have this senior year that people just dream of’ – it wasn’t in her plan.
“Things were just happening. In basketball, as a freshman, she set a goal for 1,000 points (Goble finished her career with 1,013). That just kind of unfolded. With the home runs, that really wasn’t the goal. It was just a dream season for her.”
Hitting for power certainly didn’t come out of nowhere for Lydia, who had set a Schoolcraft record with 13 home runs during her sophomore season. After working with a personal trainer in the fall, and having a stellar year on the basketball court, Goble was able to take her game to a whole new level, doubling that prior career-high to become the state record holder.
“It was just cool,” she said of breaking the previous state record of 22, set in 2017. “It wasn’t really a big deal to me personally, but it was cool that it happened.”
Next up, Lydia takes the momentum of a dominant senior season to GVSU, where she joins a Laker club coming off a 44-9 season.
“I’m excited, I think it will be really fun,” Lydia said.
“It’s been one of her goals and dreams to play in college,” added Jim. “Right from the beginning (of the recruiting process) when she went up to GVSU and saw the facilities, that’s where she wanted to play. For me, seeing another one of her dreams unfold was cool. It’s four more years I get to watch her, and I’m ecstatic.”
While her future remains bright, Lydia also has a strong appreciation for what is now in the past – a tremendous athletic career at Schoolcraft, one filled with astonishing levels of individual and team success.
“We realize that what Lydia did is the result of some talent she has, but you don’t make Player of the Year or something like that, on a poor team,” said Jim. “She had the luxury of having some really good teammates. That’s kind of what she’s talked to me about, is realizing the honors she’s getting as an individual is a byproduct of having a great team.”
Lydia credits not only her teammates, but the Schoolcraft community as well, for helping foster an environment she could thrive in. In her senior season, it truly all came together as Jim says it did – like a dream.
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had,” Lydia said. “It’s a great way to leave high school. I can’t think of anything better.”
Perhaps for now. Until Lydia Goble takes the next step in her athletic career, and just maybe finds more success she didn’t see coming.
Portage Central fans flooded the fan vote, and in the end, a whopping 25,150 votes gave sophomore Kaitlyn Brannstrom the nod for the fans’ selection of Player of the Year. Brannstrom edged out teammate Josie Muffley, who received 19,573 votes. Brannstrom had a big season for the Mustangs, hitting .426 on the year, with 13 doubles, four home runs, 42 RBI and 20 runs scored. Brannstrom was an All-SMAC West Division First Team honoree, and was also named to the All-District team.