All-star Wednesday: Annual Upper Peninsula high school softball games to include 16 players from area

Ishpeming's Emma Bleau winds up from the pitching rubber in a doubleheader against Westwood played in National Mine on May 3. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

NORWAY — Claire McInerney and five of her teammates will continue to represent state champion Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula Senior All-Star Softball Game at Marion Park in Norway on Wednesday afternoon.

Thirty-four seniors will play a pair of games at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

McInerney, an all-state second baseman, helped the Eskymos beat South Haven 5-0 for the MHSAA Division 2 state championship just a few weeks ago.

From area schools, the 16 players invited come from a half-dozen schools.

They are Taletha Witty, Kelsea Ackerman, Marissa Ackerman and Keira Stampfly of Munising; Faith Toutant, Malorie Munson and Alexis Hill of Negaunee; Ashlyn Steer, Megan McIntire and Stasha Warchock of Marquette; Emma Bleau, Kayla Kaukola of Ishpeming; Renae Schuetter and Lexi Russell of Manistique; and Tori Tyner and Tiffany Nareski of Superior Central.

Negaunee's Alexis Hill makes a play on a ball hit by Kingsford in their doubleheader played at LaCombe Field in Negaunee on May 24. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The division of players onto the two all-star teams was still being determined on Monday, but host coach Robert Bal of Norway said players from the same schools will play together. In addition, coaching staffs were also set to be finalized Monday.

Escanaba coach Jamie Segorski said McInerney will be a cornerstone in her team’s infield.

“It’s nice to take an athlete like her, put her at second base to round out the infield and make us strong up the middle,” Segorski told The Daily Press of Escanaba. “She did some great things this year.”

McInerney, a two-year starter for the Eskymos, hit .483 this past season with 12 doubles, two home runs and 32 runs. She also had a .526 on-base percentage and .708 slugging percentage.

Escanaba’s Taylor Gauthier, Payton Gustafson, Cassie Wisler, Savanah Barron and Maddie Griffin will also play in the all-star games.

Another all-state first-team player is Rapid River catcher Richelle Vandeville. The two-time all-state performer hit .443 with 39 hits, 34 RBIs, five doubles and four home runs.

“She was the consummate team leader and we will miss that aspect of her,” Rapid River coach George Kanyuh said. “She was constantly quarterbacking the other eight fielders, constantly encouraging them and keeping them on their toes. We will miss her bat and defense.”

Jim Bal, David Bal and Jim O’Neil will umpire.

Here are the other All-Star players:

Gladstone — Amber Lenards, Kaitlin Hardwick, Kaylin Holden, Olivia Capodilupo

Houghton — Karley Froberg, Sofie Kyllonen

Ironwood — Lauren Gauthier

Norway — Karli Stanchina, Jenna Johnson, Kayte Casanova

Stephenson — Kennedy Tharp