Coldwater softball celebrates 2024; Porter named MVP, VanAken wins Silver Slugger

COLDWATER – The cafeteria at Lakeland Elementary School was host to the Coldwater Cardinal softball team season celebration on Wednesday, as the players and their families gathered for one final time in 2024.

Coldwater had the definition of a roller coaster type season, combining the highest of highs we some tough lows. The Cardinals finished the year at 14-23 overall and saw their season end with a tough loss to Marshall in the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division Two District Finals.

Team Awards

The Coldwater Cardinal softball program celebrated their 2024 season on Wednesday with their annual awards banquet
The Coldwater Cardinal softball program celebrated their 2024 season on Wednesday with their annual awards banquet

Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Mya Porter was voted by her teammates as the 2024 Most Valuable Player in her first full season at the varsity level. Porter finished the year batting .508 at the plate, notching 60 hits in 118 at-bats. Porter knocked out 47 singles, eight doubles, two triples and three home runs to go along with 41 RBIs and 39 runs scored. Porter also drew 12 walks compared to only one strikeout all season long. On the mound Porter finished the year with a record of 6-12 in 18 starts, pitching 105.1 innings while allowing 125 hits and 56 earned runs for a team leading ERA of 3.722. Porter struck out 120 batters on the year and only yielded 58 walks.

Coldwater's Mya Porter as voted as team MVP for the 2024 season
Coldwater's Mya Porter as voted as team MVP for the 2024 season

Sophomore shortstop Rylie VanAken was honored with the Silver Slugger Award for the second straight season, finishing third on the team in batting average with a .481 to go along with a team high 20 doubles and five home runs. VanAken also finished with a team high 1.426 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average), while also adding 23 singles and two triples with a team high 43 RBIs to go with 35 runs scored. VanAken was also honored as the team’s Defensive Specialist for her work as shortstop this season, a season that saw the sophomore notch 108 put-outs and 34 assists in 147 chances with only five errors for a fielding percentage of .966.

In other awards given on the night the freshman/sophomore combo of Isabella Angevine and Maddie Moore were voted on by the team as this season’s Most Improved Players while sophomore Maren DeBeau was honored with the Most Dedicated Player Award.

Conference/District/MHSSCA awards

Three Cardinals earned Interstate 8 All Conference First Team honors to go along with one honorable mention, as the trio of Porter, VanAken, and DeBeau were all named to the Interstate 8 First Team. Sophomore catcher Coley Burkhardt also earned All-Conference honors as Burkhardt was named to the Interstate 8 All Conference Honorable Mention team.

Coldwater sophomore Rylie VanAken was honored by her teammates as the Defensive Specialist and was given the Silver Slugger award for the second straight season
Coldwater sophomore Rylie VanAken was honored by her teammates as the Defensive Specialist and was given the Silver Slugger award for the second straight season

For as good as the Cardinals were on the field, they were better in the classroom, as nine players earned Interstate 8 Academic All-Conference honors. Recognized for their work in the classroom was Burkhardt, DeBeau, Moore, Porter, VanAken, Brooklyn Closson, Aubrey Gebbink, Khloe Tawdul, and Mackenzie Searing.

The Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association (MHSSCA) honored three players with All-District honors as Porter (centerfield), VanAken (infield), and DeBeau (third base) were all recognized. Porter was also honored with inclusion on the MHSSCA All-Regional team.

More: Coldwater's bats stymied in D2 district softball finals loss to Marshall

Finally, the Coldwater Cardinals were honored by the MHSSCA with Academic All-State Honors as a team, the 24th straight season the Cardinals have earned that recognition.

This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Coldwater softball celebrates season, Porter voted team MVP

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