Glen Lake’s Picard repeats as Division 4 All-Stater
So it comes as no surprise that the 18-year-old senior centerfielder and leadoff batter was a repeat All-Stater in Division 4 softball.
Picard was chosen one of the top four outfielders by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.
“I had good feeling Paige would make it,” Glen Lake coach Gary Gallas said. “She was last year and her stats were even better this year.”
“Making All-State again is really awesome,” said Picard, who quickly added that she couldn’t have done anything without the strong team she played with. “I put in a lot of hard work and it showed.
“I thought I was much improved.”
Picard, a career .430 hitter, batted .433 this spring. She had 52 hits, including nine doubles, and she had 61 runs scored. She also had 30 doubles. She finished her career with 144 runs scored, 154 hits and 81 steals.
“As a lead off hitter Paige had a combination of great speed and making contact with the ball,” Galla said. “She also had decent power when she needed it.
“We would roll if she was on and that’s what got us going as a team.”
The 61 runs scored this season, were second to one other player in Division 4. Only striking out 12 times is also an impressive stat.
“She had 142 plate appearances which tells you she always made contact,” Galla said.
The Lakers finished 29-9-1. They were unbeaten Northwest Conference champions and won their first district since 2003.
Picard, a left-handed batter and fielder, was a big factor with the bat and glove.
“What made Paige so special in center was her first step. She really improved her game from a year ago,” Galla said. “If she made a mistake, she had enough speed to overcome it.
“She caught several balls in the gap this year that saved several games for us.”
“I was able to break some bad habits in the outfield this season, thanks to a lot of repetitions with the coaches catching fly balls,” Picard said.
Picard, who recalls playing ball as a 5-year-old, said softball has always been her No. 1 sport.
Picard said hitting was her favorite part of playing softball.
“Getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs,” Picard said. “That was fun and it really helped the team.”
The 81 career steals was also quite a rush for Picard.
“There’s a lot of adrenaline knowing that you’re going on the pitch and may have to slide and hoping that you are called safe,” she said. “It was fun getting down and dirty.”
While Picard will be attending Michigan State University next year, the Lakers will be left trying to fill the void.
“You can never replace a player like Paige,” Galla said of his three-time All- Conference, All-District and and All- Region player who led the team in batting all four of her seasons. “The only thing you can do as a coach is find the best person to play center and let her make her own way.”
Senior shortstop Marriah Sobczak, who batted No. 2 behind Picard, was an honorable mention All-Stater.