2016-02-11 / Sports

Creek pitcher to play for Madonna

By Dan Nilsen
810-452-2648 • dnilsen@mihomepaper.com


Courtesy Madisen Henry signed her letter of intent surrounded by Swartz Creek coach Rick Clolinger, Madonna coach Jerry Abraham and Swartz Creek assistant and Michigan Firestix coach Greg Cruthers. Courtesy Madisen Henry signed her letter of intent surrounded by Swartz Creek coach Rick Clolinger, Madonna coach Jerry Abraham and Swartz Creek assistant and Michigan Firestix coach Greg Cruthers. SWARTZ CREEK – Madisen Henry virtually grew up around baseball and softball diamonds, so it’s no wonder the game is still a big part of her life going into college.

The Swartz Creek senior has signed a letter of intent to play softball for Madonna University, a National Intercollegiate Athletic Association power that came within three outs of playing in the NAIA World Series last spring.

A senior right-handed pitcher, Henry also had Oakland University and Ferris State among her finalists, and had interest from Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley State, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Lourdes University of Sylvania, Ohio. She picked Madonna for both educational and athletic reasons.

“I like that they had a good dietician program, and I liked how small it was, very community based with a family atmosphere,” she said. “I liked the class sizes and the opportunities they have to offer.

“They also win a lot. They play very competitive softball.”

Henry got a lot of her own competitive spirit watching her father, Scott Henry, play City League baseball and slow-pitch softball. Her family also has spent a lot of time at Comerica Park.

“I’ve been playing since I was 6 or 7, and I’ve always been around the game,” she said. “Our family had season tickets for the Tigers, so we’ve been to World Series games and the All-Star Game.”

A lanky 5-foot-10, Henry said she has always been pigeon-holed as a pitcher.

“I used to play outfield but I had to grow into my feet,” she said.

She played on the Swartz Creek varsity a little as a sophomore, then had a big year as a junior last spring. She won 14 games and fashioned a 2.36 earned-run average with 155 strikeouts in 178 innings, tying the school’s single-season record for strikeouts. At the plate she batted .278 with 11 extra-base hits, including three home runs.

“She has the potential this year to set many Swartz Creek records for pitching,” said Dragons assistant coach Greg Cruthers, who also coached Henry last summer with the 16U Michigan Firestix. “She hits with tremendous power and is expected to accumulate a lot of extra-base hits and RBI.”

Next fall Henry will join a Madonna program that went 37-14-1 last year and reached the final game of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round in Irvine, Calif. The Crusaders took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning against Dickinson State but lost 7-3 on a walk-off grand slam.

Madonna coach Jerry Abraham looks forward to her arrival.

“She’s a very talented pitcher and fulfills a great need for us moving forward,” said Abraham. “She throws hard, has a nice variety of pitches and is very smart as far as situational pitching is concerned. She possesses a great upside with the ability to play right away at the next level.

“Madisen will be a great addition to our program on and off the field, and we are very excited about her joining the Crusader softball family next season.”

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