Chanler McCaskey makes all-state team 2010.06.30

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

chanler.all-state.jpgYou might say it runs in the family.

1983: Phil McCaskey named an all-state football player.

1984: Ronda (Sutherland) McCaskey became Morenci’s first and only all-state volleyball player.

2010: Their daughter Chanler joined the ranks as an all-state softball player.

The recent Morenci graduate became the 15th Bulldog to earn all-state softball honors through coach Kay Johnson’s program.

In more than three decades of leading Morenci softball teams, Johnson wonders if McCaskey might be the finest third basemen she’s had.

“I don’t know if any of the others were as complete as Chanler,” Johnson said. “She really developed into an all-around player.”

Quickness, a strong arm and a feared presence at the plate.

That last quality wasn’t known during McCaskey’s first two years with the team.

She played left field in her freshman year, but soon earned a starting position at third base. She wasn’t given too many opportunities at the plate, however.

“I only had a few plate appearances because I couldn’t hit and I had quite a few strikeouts, so someone else hit for me,” McCaskey recalls.

Eventually she realized that wasn’t the way she wanted to finish her softball career.

“She worked on her swing form more than anyone else,” Johnson said, “and there was a change last year.”

McCaskey worked hard and gained confidence. Soon it all clicked, she said, and hitting became a strong point of her game.

The girl who used to strike out a lot finished her senior year with a .414 batting average, about 150 points higher than the team average.

She led the team with 41 hits and scored 42 runs. She finished with 31 RBIs and plenty of extra bases—24 of her 41 hits.

“She didn’t stop at first base,” Coach Johnson said. “When she put the ball in play, she did it with some authority.”

Her senior year produced 12 doubles, five triples and seven home runs—four of them over the fence.

That puts her in second place for homers in the Bulldog record book, behind Anna Sell’s 11. Sell batted back in the days before most schools had an outfield fence, when a hard hit ball kept on rolling.

Johnson said McCaskey earned respect at the plate and recalls two games this season when she received intentional walks.

McCaskey slammed doubles against two of the premier pitchers in the state, Johnson said, which gives some perspective to her batting average. Her quickness on the bases resulted in 19 steals.

Her quick first step also allowed her to play closer to home from her third base position. She developed into a “super arm,” Johnson said, and she cut her errors down to six this season.

McCaskey will play for Alma College next season.

“They’re really pleased with her,” Coach Johnson said. “Her athleticism, her agility and her versatility.”

“Softball is my favorite sport and definitely my best sport, but volleyball is fun to play and something that I would also like to continue at Alma College,” McCaskey said.

There was a time that neither softball nor volleyball were at the front of her mind.

“I started playing baseball and softball when I was five, but I was also a gymnast and I thought that was my calling,“ she said, “but I can’t even do a proper cartwheel.”

Then it was basketball that she thought might accompany her to college, but that wasn’t clicking like she expected.

In the end, softball was the sport to which she devoted the most time and effort, and that’s the one that will stay with her.

  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017