In Play with Tom Markowski

Dew of Mona Shores and Nadolny of L'Anse Creuse tie record for home runs in a season, tournament games to follow

Softball   | Tom Markowski

Dew of Mona Shores and Nadolny of L'Anse Creuse tie record for home runs in a season, tournament games to follow

No player hit 20 home runs in a season until last year. Now there are three.

Abby Krzywiecki of Farmington Hills Mercy hit 20 home runs last season to surpass the record of 18 held by four players, the last being Madison Jones of Romeo is 2015.

On Friday junior first baseman Taylor Dew of Muskegon Mona Shores hit her 20th and on the next day sophomore shortstop Brooke Nadolny of Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse hit her 20th. And their seasons are not yet over.

Dew hit eight home runs in each of her first two seasons on varsity and last season Nadolny hit six.

Before this season 25 players hit 14 home runs or more in a season. Of those only three recorded 14 or more before 2005. There were 10 players who hit 17 or more and of those only one, Melinda Van Gillis of Pentwater (18 in 1979) accomplished this before 2010.

Donny Dreyer of Total Softball in Wixom said home runs are being hit at a greater pace in the past 15 years more players are taking a full swing rather than using the slap style of hitting, which many players continue to use.

“It only makes sense,” he said. “The game has changed. Look at baseball.”

Babe Ruth, when he played with the Boston Red Sox in 1919, is credited with being the game’s first slugger as he hit 29 home runs that season. The season before Ruth and Tillie Walker of the Philadelphia Athletics each hit 11 home runs to lead the major leagues.

Fast-forward nearly a century to softball in Michigan. The top four on the list of the most home runs hit in a season all reached this list since last season. Dayna Fennell of Gladwin hit 19 last season.

It seems our newest sluggers have the penchant of hitting home runs in bunches. Dew had three in a doubleheader with Wyoming and Nadolny also had three in a doubleheader, all in consecutive at bats, in last Saturday’s doubleheader with Richmond.

L’Anse Creuse coach Lisa Downey said Nadolny’s third home run of the day came in her first at bat in the second game then drew a base on balls in her final two trips to the plate.

Mona Shores coach Jason Crago has a similar story.

“She singled in her first at bat against Holton,” Crago said. “Then she hit her 20th the next at bat. The people at Holton were really good about it. They acknowledged her accomplishment to the crowd and received an applause. She had a few more chances to break it and in the seventh inning we were down three runs and had two base runners on when she came up. They walked her to load the bases but I can’t blame them for that.”

Nadolny started at second base her freshman season and led the team in hitting (.421) and had 26 RBI. She grew nearly four inches since then and is 5-foot-8 now. Downey said Nadolny added a few pounds of muscle as well and is the team’s leadoff hitter. Nadolny is batting .574 with 51 RBI and 14 doubles.

“Her timing is impeccable,” she said. “She hits in spurts. In one stretch she had five home runs in three days. Her commitment has always been top notch.”

In the recruiting department Dew committed to Ferris State and Nadolny remains uncommitted.

Mona Shores is a member of the O-K Black Division, is 23-15 and its next game is Thursday at home against Whitehall. The Sailors will then play in a Division 1 district semifinal against Muskegon Reeths-Puffer at Holland West Ottawa at noon.

L’Anse Creuse is 23-9 and won the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title with a 9-1 record. Its next game is on Friday in a Division 1 district semifinal at Roseville at 11 a.m. The Lancers will play St. Clair Shores Lakeview.