By Sonny Bursey
Grand Rapids ‑‑ For those that want to play Big‑Time division 1 college softball, they must do something so unbelievable that everyone starts to talk about them.
They need to be explosive on the field, possess a demeanor of a confident expert, bring out the best in their teammates. And that’s just for starters. A player needs to be astonishing great.
Then the elite college teams may ask questions about who they are and where their from. Well, their asking. College scouts are in a frenzy when the subject is about the Michigan Gold Rush ‑‑ And in particular, Harrison’s Allison Lipovsky.
Lipovsky defied all odds from the pitching circle once again this weekend. Although the defense played awesome behind her all tournament, her sheer ability to keep the ball from being hit was amazing. Through her first 30 innings pitched this weekend, she held opponents to no runs on four measly hits and only allowed eight total base runners.
Just one base runner reached second base in her first five games on the mound. She struck out an amazing 79 out of 135 batters faced on the weekend through 37 innings. Her ERA was 0.76 and opponents batted just .111 against her.
And this is against the best players in the state. Holy Cow … the scouts are not only talking ‑‑ they are drooling. Lipovsky, who is just 11 months removed from ACL surgery to her right leg following a volleyball injury truly amazed.
“Allison was lights out on the mound. Going into Sunday (after five games) she had struckout 71% of the batters faced and the opposition look completely baffled and confused in the batters box. They couldn’t even get down bunts successfully,” said Gold Rush coach Jamie Lipovsky.
“With seven games going simulaneously at the park, it was awesome to see those not playing being drawn over to watch us play. It was standing room only at times and that is the mark of great team ‑ when others want to watch you play. The team we lost to (Elite) and and the team that won the whole thing (Finesse) sat and watched us play two times each during the weekend.”
Coach Lipovsky continued.
“Other teams like Compuware also sat in the bleachers and watched. I think they watch because of the way we play ‑hard, aggressive and with a lot of heart. I know that I have my girls watch games when I want them to see how a great team plays, responds to adversity, and holds themselves on the field. I hope that is what others think when they watch us,” he said.
Allison brought out the best in her team.
The Gold Rush followed up five straight top 10 finishes in previous tournaments with a blazing 4‑0 start in pool play, allowing zero runs in the process and claiming the #1 seed going into bracket play. That’s right ‑ they claimed the #1 seed out of 50 class “A” ball teams going into Saturday’s bracket play.
According to the promoter, no other team has blanked all opponents thru pool play. That’s quite an accomplishment from a northern Michigan team going against larger organizations down state.
The Gold Rush started with a 3‑0 shutout of Great Lakes United who were coming off a #2 finish at ASA states in the B division.
They followed that with a 8‑0 five inning mercy of Browns Fastpitch out of Kalamazoo. Game three was a 7‑0 shutout of the Saginaw Bay Riverdawgs and they finished pool play with a 10‑0 mercy over Hangtuff from the Parchment area.
Bracket play started with a 2‑0 no hitter over Hangtuff from Lansing and at 5‑0 the girls advanced to Sunday yet once again.
On Sunday their scoreless streak ran out vs the Michigan Rage from the Downriver area, but the Gold Rush battled and pulled out a 8‑6 victory to move on to the final 8. That is where their luck ran out as they fell 5‑0 to the Elite.
With only the Eastern Nationals in Ohio left the Gold Rush stand with a 35‑11 record on the summer going six for six in top 10 finishes.