By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry Lady Indians Softball team recently gathered to celebrate their 2023 season. A season that plenty of struggles ended on a high note, with the girls winning two of their final three contests, defeating Manistique to wrap up the regular season and then pulling off an incredible upset over the host Rapid River Lady Rockets in the opening round of the MHSAA District Tournament.
Players earning a varsity letter for the 2023 season included freshman Olivia Burke, sophomores Alazayah Depew, Lilly Heim, Sophia Johnson, Katie Kelly, Amelia Shanley, and Allie Whalen. Juniors on this year’s team were Trenidy Depew, Sierra Mallion, Alanah Saldana, and Gracie Taylor, while Jaiden Egert and Rayne Palmer represented the senior class.
In an impressive accomplishment, the Lady Indians softball program earned Academic All State recognition as a team and Palmer was selected as an individual Academic All State recipient.
Individual Award honors went to the following players:
Captain Award – Trenidy Depew and Jaiden Egert
Coaches’ Award – Lilly Heim
Hustler Award – Rayne Palmer
Most Improved – Gracie Taylor
Top Outfielder – Sophia Johnson
Top Infielder – Amelia Shanley
Top Defensive Player – Trenidy Depew
Top Offensive Player – Alazayah Depew
MVP – Allie Whalen
Honorable Mention All-Conference – Allie Whalen
MHSAA District #100 All Star Team – Alazayah Depew and Allie Whalen
For Whalen, it was second straight school sports season in which she was a varsity team MVP as a sophomore. Whalen also won the Chris Nance Award as the girls varsity basketball player this winter.
Whalen was a standout fielder who also pitched for Newberry, while also leading the hitting attack at the plate. Along with Whalen, Alazayah Depew was recognized as one of the top players in a deep group of Division 4 teams and individuals after helping the Lady Indians reach that district championship.
Coaches Bruce Dake, Emma Gagnon, and Haley Stark praised the growth of the team this season and said that the positive attitudes were contagious. The group is already looking forward to their return next season.