‘It hasn’t sunk in’: Owosso softball wins school’s first-ever MHSAA state title

High School Sports

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In what has been the wildest and most uncertain high school sports year, due to COVID-19, the Michigan High School Athletic Association finally made it finish line while reaching their goals of crowning a state champion in every sport.

The 2020-21 season came to a close Saturday, on the campus of Michigan State, with softball, baseball, and soccer teams from across the state competing for the state title. Owosso was one of the teams competing for a crown. In Division 2, the Trojans were taking on the Vikings of Marysville.

In what was a rollercoaster of a game, Owosso found a way to rally from a three-run deficit and takedown Marysville, 8-5, to claim the first-ever MHSAA state title in Owosso High School history.

“It hasn’t sunk in,” Owosso softball coach of 38 years JoEllen Smith said. “From the beginning, some of the games that we came back and won, it really hasn’t sunk in.”

“We’ve worked so hard, and I don’t even know what to say. It’s just an amazing feeling,” Owosso sophomore third baseman, Sydney Somers said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this team and do that, and our community is just amazing.”

The Trojans started the scoring in the first inning, thanks to an RBI double from Reyn Tuttle, and then added another run in the second, courtesy of Jamie Maier’s solo home run, to put Owosso up 2-0. However, the second inning is when the drama started to unfold.

Owosso had the bases loaded with Madyson Rainey at the plate, who sent a ball down the right-field line and cleared the bases to increase the Trojan lead to five.

But the umpires had other ideas.

The ball would be ruled foul, meaning all three baserunners had to go back and Rainey had to return to the batter’s box. Marysville would get out of the inning without allowing a run and added more salt to the wound in the top of the third.

With two runners on, Kirsten Smith sent a ball over the right-center field wall to give Marysville the lead, a lead that would extend to three in the top of the fourth.

However, one of the things coach Smith loves about her team is the resiliency it plays with and the bottom of the 4th and a prime example of that.

Owosso scored four runs in the inning, two on a double by pitcher Macy Irelan that tied the game at five. The Trojans’ final run of the inning gave them a 6-5 lead entering the 5th, which is when Owosso added two more runs thanks to an RBI single from Somers that turned into a little league home run thanks to an error by the Vikings.

Irelan would take care of business from there and close the door on Marysville, a win that means so much to the community.

“The MHSAA came up to her (Smith) and said ‘We sold out, thanks to Owosso,'” Smith’s older sister, Molly Carswell said. “They’ve never sold out, and Owosso’s community has been wanting something like this forever.”

“She’s just class and quality, and she’s there for the kids, and everybody loves her,” Smith’s younger sister, Nora Chahbazi said about her older sister, Jo.

“On our way to East Lansing, we were accompanied by firetrucks and police, and they had their sirens,” Irelan said,” Irelan said. “It’s always so cool to see how the community comes together.”

“I can’t say enough about our community,” Smith said. “That’s why I love being there, I love living there, I love coaching there, I love working there, I have since I was born. Never left, other than to go to school. It’s a great town.”

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