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Scholarship Winners Testimonials

2023  Carly Sleeman

My name is Carly Sleeman and I have played for Michigan Storm for ten years and counting. I started off when I was 8 years old on Red Pastors team and after that year, I have played on Deb Sleeman’s team. Storm has made me fall in love with the sport every single year all over again. I have been lucky to always have amazing coaches that don’t just help me on the field, but off the field as well.

Matt Sleeman, Deb Sleeman, Courtney Sleeman, Rick Binney, and Tom Vandenberg have been my main coaches that have helped me not only become a better player, but a better person. They have taught me how to deal with defeat, handle my successes, and play for the bigger picture and not just myself.

On my team, you do not play for yourself, you play for God first, then your team. You wouldn’t be where you are today if it wasn’t for God, so playing for him every game is just a little way to say thank you for everything he has given you. After God, you play for your team. Your teammates are the ones that always have your back and are there to celebrate when you succeed and comfort you when you fail.

My teammates that I have played with, have always been amazing and will hold a very special place in my heart. That comes with the Storm community. We always have great athletes and great families that truly care about the sport, and the program. This is one of my favorite things about Storm.

The owners of Storm are more focused on the well being of the athletes and not making money. Most organizations are all money based and money grabs, but Storm truly wants to make athletes better and make the community a better place. I know first hand that the owners are great people and super fun to be around and work with. I am so thankful I always had Storm.

After high school I will be continuing my softball career at Central Michigan University. I will be studying sports broadcasting with a minor in business. My plan is to get an internship through a big TV provider to start my sports broadcasting career. While doing that I will be running Michigan Storm with my sister, Courtney Sleeman, and hopefully coaching a team. Storm has given me so much, so I am looking forward to giving back.

2023  MacKenzie Parker

I have played for Michigan Storm for 4 years, including 2023. I played during my 13u year at Storm, before leaving and coming back for my 15u, 16u and now 17u years. This organization has been extremely welcoming to me, and is the reason that I have continued playing softball. In my past, I have had disastrous experiences playing under coaches and with teammates who were very unpleasant to be around. However, Michigan Storm has never given me any of these experiences. In fact, it helped me fall back in love with the sport of softball. This organization has also taught me how to be the type of person that people want to be around.

The coaches and administration within this organization hold themselves to such a high standard, it is admirable and I strive to be like them. This is especially true with my current coaches, Matt and Bobbi Hill. They have both instilled in their players how to hold ourselves with respect and dignity. All of their teams have been expected to be respectful and kind to all umpires, regardless of what circumstance occurs, and to be honest with ourselves and those around us. If we were not practicing and doing drills outside of the two hour practice, they made it clear to us that we would not see the results we were seeking.

Matt and Bobbi trusted their players that they would take the advice and instill it into their everyday life, even outside of softball. It was their hope to give each of their players confidence, without the arrogance, to hold themselves to a higher standard. My coaches hoped to give us the mindset that we were better than what we were yesterday, even if it was just by one percent. They hoped to give their players every opportunity that was available, and they have done just that.

Because of the wonderful coaches and teammates I have been with for the 4 years I have been at Michigan Storm, I have decided to continue my academic and athletic journey at Alma College. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to continue playing softball at the next level, as this has been my dream since watching the Women’s College World Series at 8 years old. I will be studying Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish, with the hope that in the future I can help young students learn English as a second language.