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  • Jim Townsend

Natalie Linebaugh Named May Student Athlete of the Month

May ended up being an exciting month in local high school sports with several teams beginning runs into the post season, as well as several individual athletes displaying impressive performances. Our Student Athlete of the Month selection panel had a number of fine athletes in contention for May.

We are pleased to announce that Natalie Linebaugh, a Junior second baseman on the softball team at Portland High School, has been chosen as the winner of the J-Dubbs Signature Subs/Portland Beacon Student Athlete of the Month award for May.

In his nomination of Linebaugh, Head Softball Coach Jack Anderson said, “Natalie has had a batting average of .417 for the month of May which includes 3 doubles 3 triples and a home run. She is not only one of our top hitters but is also an outstanding defensive player. Her batting average for the season is .459. In the pre-district she went 2 for 3 with a double and scored twice. She made some outstanding defensive plays in the game including a game ending circus catch in the bottom of the 7th inning with two runners on and the go ahead run at the plate. She also had a game ending triple in which she scored on against Mio in the Manistee Tournament. She is an excellent leader with a great attitude who continues to improve her skills every practice.”

Anderson went on to say that Linebaugh was a leader on and off the field. One example in particular is her assistance with the off-season pitcher workouts. Anderson said, “She sat and worked as a catcher all winter long, two or three times a week, to help the pitchers. She knew that she would not catch in a game but did it for the team.”

Natalie is the daughter of Dana and Andy Linebaugh and was also a member of the Raider Volleyball team. She is also a member of the PHS chapter of the National Honor Society, PHS Captain’s Club, and the Links Program.

To be nominated for this award, a student athlete must attend either Portland High School or St. Patrick School, and be a member of a varsity sports program or school-sponsored athletic club at his/her school. Nominations may be made by a member of their high school coaching staff, athletic director, principal, or a school recognized student government organization at his/her school. Nominations are also accepted from The Portland Beacon contributing writers.

The monthly winner is selected by a three-person panel consisting of myself and Portland Beacon contributors Robert Lathers and Benjamin Rex Cross.

Other talented local athletes receiving nominations for May were:

Lesley Barker – PHS Track

Nominated by Bart Simpson, PHS Track Coach.

Simpson said “In May alone Leslie participated in...

3 Dual Meets:

Sexton - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 1st Place in 4x100 & 4x200 Relays

Eaton Rapids - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 1st Place in 4x100 & 4x200 Relays

Charlotte - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 1st Place in 4x100 & 4x200 Relays

5 Invitationals

Portland Invite - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 1st Place in 4x100 & 4x200 Relays

Bath Invite - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 5th Place Medal in 4x100 Relay

CAAC League - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 1st Place in 4x100 Relay

Regionals - 2 Individual Events with 2-1st Place & a 6th Place Medal in 4x100 Relay

Honor Roll - 2 Individual Events with 5th Place Medal in 100m & 5th Place Medal in Long Jump

Simpson added, “Plus, she’s participating in the Long Jump at the State Finals this weekend.”

Lesley was the Beacon’s April Student Athlete of the Month.

Zach Pier – PHS Golf

Portland Golf Coach Jon Snellenberger said, “I would like to nominate junior Zach Pier (Portland High). Zach is currently noted by the LSJ as one of the top HS golfers in mid-Michigan with an eighteen-hole average of 80.0 and a nine-hole average of 39.9. On 5.29.19, Zach shot a "State Final" individual qualifying round of a three over par 74 at the MHSAA Division 3 Regional #14 at Pigeon Creek GC in West Olive, MI. This the third consecutive year that he has qualified to compete in the MHSAA Boys Golf Division 3 State Finals as an individual. As a freshman (2017), he finished in third place individually and was the eleventh-place finisher his sophomore year (2018). If further information is needed, please let me know.”

Photos courtesy of AJ Guilford and Tammy Gardner.

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