MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Softball


  • As a pitcher, striking out a batter always feels great. But for Allison Lipovsky every strikeout of the 2013 season came with an added bonus.

    The 5-foot-11 Harrison (Mich.) junior not only struck out over 300 batters on the season, but she also raised over $4,500 to feed the hungry in the process, according to 9&10 News.

    Lipovsky originated the idea did all of the legwork before and during the season, collecting pledges for her Strikeouts for Hunger campaign this spring. Eventually the total got up to just over $13 per strikeout.

    She let her talent take care of the rest, striking out 339 batters and earning Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Division 3 All-State honors to raise $4,530.

    The money Lipovsky raised was split between a local food bank and a soup kitchen network in Clare County, Michigan. Margie Clark, the co-founder of the Stone Soup Project, says Lipovsky's donation was the largest they've ever received, and will likely feed between 1,200 and 1,400 people.

    "In the games I didn't really think about, 'Oh I have this many strikeouts so far, this is how much money,'" Lipovsky told Eric Lloyd of 9&10 News. "It was actually after the games I totaled it up and was like, 'Oh my gosh, I made this much money tonight. This is great.'"

    Lipovsky plans to continue the Strikeouts for Hunger campaign during her senior season, and is already recruiting local pitchers to join the cause.


  • The first 14 innings of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL state title game were simply building up the suspense. Then Rachel Dube ended it all with one swing of the bat, eliciting a raucous celebration.

    The Southington (Conn.) senior catcher hit the biggest home run of her life Saturday night when she won a state title with a walk-off home run to left field in the 15th inning to beat Amity 1-0 for the title.

    Photo by Ray Shaw

    Rachel Dube, Southington

    She told the New Haven Register that she considered bunting. Looks like she made the right choice.

    “They were catching everything, so when push comes to shove, we were just trying to get someone on,” Dube said. “We were just trying to put a score on the board, so you had to do what you had to do. I had two strikes on me, and I knew I had to swing, but I was actually thinking about bunting on that hit. But then I said, ‘Just go for it.’"

    Her coach, Davina Hernandez, told the newspaper: “We talked about (bunting). I said, ‘Take a cut.’ She took a cut, and was right on it. I said, ‘No, hit away, but crowd the plate even more.’ She hit away and just got a hold of it.”

    The big blast gave Southington its 16th state title in 20 years in Connecticut and helped the team finish a perfect 24-0.
  • Nobody in the history of high school softball has crossed home plate safely more times in a season than Julia Hollingsworth.

    Photo by Joe Fusco

    Julia Hollingsworth, Ennis

    According to the Dallas Morning News, the Ennis (Texas) junior needed three runs in Saturday's University Interscholastic League 4A state final to break the record of 82, but a look back revealed two missing runs from an earlier game. She scored once in a 10-3 loss to Aledo in the state final, giving her 83 for the season and the record. It still needs to be verified by the National Federation of State High School Associations. See the record book

    "I was an assistant at UTA, I was the head coach at Texas Wesleyan, and I started the softball program at Western Texas College before I came to Ennis. She is the best offensive player I’ve ever had,” coach Rodney McNeill told the newspaper in an earlier story. “She can take over a game.”

    The junior outfielder is committed to Tulsa and broke the record held by three players: Jamie Koss of Casey-Westfield (Ill.) in 1992, Ragan McLain of American Christian (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in 1998 and Sara Hansen of Sacred Heart Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) in 2012.
  • File photo by Richard Ta

    Steph Thomas is the all-time wins and shutouts leader now in New Jersey.

    Steph Thomas is a winner - times 113.

    And that's a significant number for the Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.) pitcher, as it's the best total in the history of New Jersey softball history. According to nj.com, her five-inning, one-hitter Monday against Lyndhurst moved her career record to 113-6 and moved 2005 Caldwell grad Kristen Schindler out of the top spot in the record book.

    The cherry on top? The shutout was No. 69 of her career, also a state record.

    Thomas' name has been featured prominently on MaxPreps, as she was a MaxPreps Underclass All-American in all three of her previous seasons and is featured on the most recent National Player of the Year Watch List. Thomas, committed to Lafayette, has helped lead IHA to the No. 22 spot in the Xcellent 25.

    "It's not really about the record for me," Thomas told NJ.com. "It's about winning as a team. But it was good to get a victory today coming off a loss. It says a lot about our team and how we're going to keep going and try to win states.

    "I was feeling pressure about the record. A lot of people were talking about it. It's nice to get it out of the way before the last state games. But I hope to be winning these state games to add to the record."
  • We've definitely seen some exciting endings to state title games, like pickoffs and grand slams.

    A four-base, walk-off strikeout? That's a new one.

    It just sounds impossible when we sum up how Billings West (Mont.) beat Big Sky (Missoula, Mont.) on Saturday, 3-2. The game was tied at two when Kendyl Boltz swung and missed at strike three in the seventh inning of the Montana Class AA title game. She then took off running to first base. One bad throw allowed her to keep moving to second, and she just kept going all the way to home plate (thanks to one more errant throw).

    So to recap: A player swung and missed, then scored the winning run in the same at-bat - to win a state title.

    "Having a strikeout has its advantages I guess,” Boltz told the Great Falls Tribune.

    Billings West lost to Big Sky earlier in the tournament so it had to win twice to take the title, and the title victory was the team's fifth game of the day (all elimination victories).

    h/t Deadspin, KTMF

  • Already one of the nation's top softball pitchers, Allyson Frei of High Point (Sussex, N.J.) added yet another honor to her spectacular resumé.

    Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Herald
    According to NJ.com, Frei became the state's all-time strikeout leader Friday in a 2-0 playoff victory over Morris Hills. She finished the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 quarterfinal contest with 15 punchouts to reach 1,361 in her career. She was recently featured in our MaxPreps National Softball Player of the Year Watch.

    Frei entered the game tied for the record, according to the story, and struck out the first batter she faced, knocking Governor Livingston's Capri Catalano (2007 graduate) out of the top spot. The Boston College commit was rewarded with a ball featuring "1,347" and some flowers from her teammates.

    She told NJ.com: "I'm really excited about it. It's going to be kind of cool to look back and think that I ended up with the most strikeouts. And now I get to go out and pitch my game and not worry about that in the back of my mind."

    Frei's honors from MaxPreps include Underclass and Medium School All-American Team spots last season, and Underclass honors the previous year.
  • Those swinging Patriots from Madison (Marshall, N.C.) are in the news again for what they do best: Blast homers.

    Courtesy photo
    You likely read about star Michaela Drewnoski setting the state record for career homers in a May 7 game, and now you'll hear about the team's exploits, which we featured last season.

    According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the team finished its playoff win over Bandys Tuesday with 55 homers. That's one more than the 2013 edition of the Patriots hit, which was a state record as well.

    Sure, Drewnoski and her 10 homers have played a big role, but the story also stated that each of the team's 11 players have at least one round-tripper this season.

    The team's season ended against East Rutherford Friday in a 6-1 loss.
  • For the second time in a week, a softball player has broken a state record for career home runs.

    North Carolina needs a revision now that Michaela Drewnoski of Madison (Marshall, N.C.) has cracked No. 41.

    Courtesy photo
    According to the Citizen-Times, Drewnoski set the record Wednesday on Senior Day in her final at-bat of the game. The only senior on the team - so some could say it was Drewnoski Day instead of Senior Day - homered to solidify an 11-1 win over Owen.

    "It was a great day, period," Drewnoski told the newspaper. "I was a little sad, with it being my last (regular season) home game. But since I'm the only senior, I just relaxed."

    Izzy McCurry set the record last season for Roberson and the two have been travel-team teammates before, according to the story. MaxPreps reported McCurry's record last season.

    Drewnoski hit four as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore, 12 as a junior and she has nine this season for a 20-3 squad, the story said.

    In the same week, Aidan Falk of Our Lady of Mercy (Rochester, N.Y.) set the New York state record with homer No. 38.
  • Photo courtesy of Valerie Dunsford

    The Tate softball team traveled across the entire state of Florida for a playoff game.

    The current MaxPreps Florida Team of the Week, the softball squad from Tate (Cantonment), is led by five college-bound seniors.

    But in order to win a state 7A title, it will likely lean on four other key ingredients: Movies, music, sleep and cards.

    Photo courtesy of Valerie Dunsford

    Tori Perkins, Tate

    That's because the Aggies (24-3) got on a charter bus Thursday morning to travel more than 600 miles and nine hours to reach Vero Beach, site of the state softball championships.

    They'll need all those ingredients to charge themselves for a semifinal showdown with defending 7A champions St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) Friday. If victorious, they will take on the winner of Harmony and Melbourne on Saturday.

    Calling the Western tip of the Florida panhandle home, just 12 miles east of Alabama, Tate is used to long travel. Texas, California and Alaska have similar lengthy travel challenges, but softball coach Melinda Wyatt tries to keep her girls in long distance travel shape.

    For the last seven years, during spring break, the Aggies traveled to Kissimmee, another nine-hour haul, to simulate the trip to the state tournament. They usually take three separate vans for that and rent condos. For this trip, they chartered a bus.

    "We have a closely knit group so it should be fine," she said. "But girls are girls, and I always tell them don't bring any drama onto the field. We're good about that."

    To break up the long haul on Thursday, the team stopped in Lake City and practiced for 90 minutes. They arrived in Vero Beach just before nightfall and now get ready for the defending champs.

    "We don't need to miss any practice time," Wyatt said. "We need to stay sharp."

    As far as Tate has to travel, it won't be the furthest at the state championships. Jay is 20 miles North of Tate and the Royals defeated Bell 14-8 in a 1A semifinal game Friday morning.

    "It's a lot of driving and getting around," Wyatt said. "But it's all worth it when you get this far."
  • Coming back from a deficit in a softball game is satisfying. Coming back to win in an elimination playoff game is better.

    Coming back with an 18-run inning in the sixth inning after trailing by seven runs, and ending it with a grand slam to elicit the mercy rule? That's just plain jaw-dropping.

    Courtesy photo
    It happened in Alabama last Friday, according to the Franklin Free Press. In a Class 2A, Area 16 playoff game, Phil Campbell (Ala.) was trailing 12-5 in the top of the sixth before the next 18 batters all reached base and scored. It sent Red Bay (Ala.) packing once the mercy rule was invoked due to the 23-12 score.

    According to the story, the 18-run frame was the third-biggest in state history

    "I was really just hoping we could tie the game that inning. I never dreamed we would score 18 runs," coach Doug Jackson told the newspaper.

    Those 18 baserunners reached on four doubles, three singles, a grand slam, six walks, two errors and two fielder's choice plays.

    "That's one of the things I'd been telling our girls—be smart and don't be selfish at the plate," Jackson told the newspaper. "Don't be afraid to take a few pitches and take a walk. We didn't do a very good job of that early in the game, but they finally started listening to my advice."