The University UMC coed slow-pitch softball team recently concluded its season, the team’s 28th straight. We play in a Greater Lansing United Methodist Church League along with 5 other teams that offers a semi-competitive experience—Central, Mt. Hope, Grace, Holt and a team comprised of members from the former Trinity United Methodist Churches. Our league philosophy of open participation, faith development and outreach, fellowship, sportsmanship, and Christian values is demonstrated by our team every Tuesday evening in doubleheaders culminating with a season-ending double elimination tournament.
This year, our players ranged in age from 17 to 74 and included 19 different players, including seven women and seven men. We had several first-time players that were “re-acquiring” skills in softball! J.J. Burchman again managed the team. J.J., Alan Wilk and A.J. Wilk were the pitchers for the year, with Alan also patrolling the infield and J.J. and A.J. playing both infield and outfield. Position players were Libby Bartlett (OF and C), Keeton Bigham-Tsai (OF), Caitlin Brown (OF, 1B and C), Laurel Doherty (C), Roger Doherty (SS, 3B and OF), Connie Gamage (1B and C), Ben Hart (OF), Heather Hoshal (1B and C), Nathan Jost (OF), Don Jost (OF, 2B and 1B), Aaron Kabodian (OF), Christina Morey (OF and C), Brian Roth (SS and 3B), Jesse Wade (OF, 3B, 2B and 1B), Charlie Wilk (OF) and Drew Wilk (OF).
Our season was a resounding success, concluding our 18-game season (should have been 20, but we got rained out one week) with a 17-1 record. The tournament, which is always a bit more competitive, covers Friday evening and Saturday, and involved 5 of the 6 teams from the league. Friday evening saw UUMC beat Mt. Hope and Saturday morning saw UUMC handle Central to advance to the championship game. In the (first) championship game, UUMC fell to Holt in extra innings—it took 9 innings for Holt to prevail 10-8. UUMC came roaring back in the ultimate championship game, scoring 15 runs to win 15-8. This was the third straight year the team has won both the regular season and tournament championships, and the tournament championship was UUMC’s 14th championship in the last 21 years.
UUMC is fortunate to have many members, family members and friends to cheer us on throughout the season and tournament. We appreciate the congregation for its support and interest in the way the team represents all of the church in our community. Many photos and stories have been posted in church communications this summer. Special thanks especially to photographer Al Holzhausen; and writers and publicists Kim DePew, Diane Constan and Rebecca Berry Jost.
~J.J. Burchman, UUMC Softball Coach