“A most meaningful, wonderful, and awesome journey,” said coach Karla Reno about the Kalamazoo Christian High School girls’ division 4 state softball championship.
Kalamazoo Christian High School Girls’ Softball champs.
Playing only Division 1, 2, and 3 teams all season, the girls finished well with a season record of 34-7. Reno emphasized that along the way the girls learned to love one another, to find peace and calm, and to believe that they could do it.
After winning their conference, district, and regional contests, Reno sensed the girls’ nervousness upon arriving at the big stadium for the state championship game. She encouraged them to block out all the noise. Following the team’s prayer and cheer, they did just that.
“To God be the glory!” Reno acknowledged. The solid pitching of senior Stephanie VanderLugt and junior Bekah VanDam and the team’s scoring ability, including that of junior Morgan Locker, who set a state finals record with four runs scored, combined to bring home the trophy. As VanderLugt put it, “The crowd was so crazy . . . but we had the hits that came together.”
Reno noted that the team also brought home other honors including the Academic All State Award, which she says points to the caliber of the individuals on the team and demonstrates the healthy balance they achieved between academics and sports. VanderLugt and junior Tori Sides were named All State players as well.
Coach Reno not only had the pleasure of coaching a championship team but also her own daughters, Taylor and Tori Sides, who were members of the team.