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Gladwin’s Fennell Rewrites State Record Book

GLADWIN – Breaking school records had become second nature to Gladwin’s Dayna Fennell. After all, the senior infielder on the Flying G’s softball team had tied or broken the program’s single-season home run record on four occasions.

But with one crack of the bat, Fennell etched her name in the Michigan High School Athletic Association record books on May 28, breaking the single-season home run record with 19 round-trippers.

Fennell’s 19th home run of the season was one of three she hit during a tournament at Ogemaw Heights, eclipsing the mark previously shared by Pentwater’s Melinda Van Gillis (1979), Williamston’s Camri Grace (2014) and Romeo’s Madison Jones (2015).

“It was an awesome feeling and I never thought I was going to break it at all,” she said. “I didn’t even think I’d come close to it. I was just setting my standards high for my previous record that I broke last year.”

In addition to the single-season record, Fennell ended her career tied for 10th all-time in career home runs (32).

A three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball), the prospect of hitting a home run seemed like a daunting task to Fennell when she first picked up a bat.  

“I didn’t honestly think I’d ever hit one either,” she said. “In little league… I was wondering how people could hit home runs and I just pushed myself hard during my freshman year and then so on and so forth.”

Gladwin coach Jill Keefer saw Fennell’s potential early on, though.

“It started out her freshman year, I just knew she was a power horse, as far as her arm strength and hitting ability, and every year she has made strides to improve and get better,” Keefer said. “This year has definitely been her breakthrough year because she put in extra time.”

Fennell plans to continue her playing career at Delta College in the fall.