Dearborn, Mich. - Sophomore second baseman Michelle Hollister is taking her talents to Dearborn.
The Newport, MI native (Airport HS) will continue her athletic and academic career at University of Michigan-Dearborn. She becomes the third member of the this past year's team to move on to a four-year school (Kasey Graham - Lourdes University and Ashlyn Michalak - Valparaiso University).
"I'm very excited to move on and start a new chapter of my life at UM-Dearborn," she said.
Hollister's journey to Owens began with a walk-on tryout in the summer of 2010. She had planned on attending college near her hometown, but a coach from Monroe HS in Monroe, MI suggested she check out Owens. Hollister attended a tryout, earned a scholarship and became a driving force in the most successful two year stretch in Express softball history.
"In my honest opinion, Michelle is the best second baseman we have had at Owens," said Express softball assistant coach Kevin Snyder, who serves as the team's hitting coach. "She was a player that could play great defense, hit for average, hit for power and deliver clutch hits and RBIs, but most of all she was a relentless competitor. She played every game to win. She was a very important piece in having the most successful two year record in Owens softball history."
During her freshmen year, Hollister started 47 games en route to leading the Express to the national championship game. She hit .378 with an on base percentage of .431 and a slugging percentage of .640 while adding 27 runs, 42 hits, 15 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 11 walks and 39 RBIs. She hit a big home run in the regional championship game, and another one in the national tournament. In the seven games during the national tournament, she hit .318 (7-for-22) with four runs, two doubles, one home run and six RBIs. As a team, the Express tied the school record for wins in a season while finishing 44-5.
As a sophomore, Hollister was the only player to start all 48 games. She hit .383 with an on base percentage of .449 and a slugging percentage of .692 while adding 37 runs, 46 hits, 18 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 13 walks and 48 RBIs. She only struck out six times in 120 at bats and was 14-for-14 in stolen bases.
Following her sophomore year, Hollister was named First Team All-OCCAC, Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) Player of the Year and team MVP.
In her two year career, the Express went 85-12, which is the best two year run in Express softball history. The team captured two OCCAC championships, one Region XII District G title, and became the first women's sports program in Owens history to compete in a national championship game. During that time, Hollister started 95 games while hitting .381 with 64 runs, 88 hits, 33 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 24 walks and 87 RBIs.
"These last two years have been some of the best of my life," Hollister said. "The girls and coaches became my family and I knew that we all had each others backs no matter what. The memories with all the girls and the experience of living outside of home were memories that will not be forgotten."
Hollister will now look to improve a UM-Dearborn team that finished 12-33 last year, including a 3-11 record in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC). The team competes at the NAIA level. She chose UM-Dearborn over schools such as Lourdes University and Siena Heights University.