Meet Head Coach Sharon De Kleine
Sharon De Kleine is in her fourth year as Calvin’s head softball coach.
A 1985 Calvin College graduate, DeKleine was a standout student-athlete for the Knights in both softball, as a pitcher and a shortstop, and basketball, where she played point guard.
A native of Holland, Mich., De Kleine was a three-sport athlete at Holland Christian High School, participating in volleyball, basketball and softball. At Calvin she earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors in softball and basketball, including league MVP awards in softball in 1983 and 1984, and in basketball in 1983.
Also in 1983 she became the first NCAA III softball All-American in Calvin history. And she was part of three Calvin softball teams that advanced to the NCAA III Tournament with Calvin’s 1984 team advancing all the way to the NCAA World Series.
As a senior she was honored with Calvin’s Kay Tiemersma Award – given to the senior female student-athlete who most exemplifies athletic and academic excellent along with Christian leadership.
De Kleine graduated in 1985 with a major in physical education and a minor in English. In 1992, She earned her master’s degree in secondary education at Grand Valley State University.
After graduating from Calvin, De Kleine accepted a teaching position at Hudsonville Unity Christian High School where she remained for the next 23 years. While at Unity, she coached girls tennis, volleyball and softball. She was the varsity softball coach at Unity Christian from 1986-1995, leading the Crusaders to a Class B state title in 1992 along with a state runner-up finish in 1990 and a berth in the 1993 state quarterfinals. Despite choosing to step away from her position as a head coach in 1995, DeKleine continued to stay involved in the game over the 14 years on a volunteer basis. Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Calvin. DeKleine served one year as pitching coach with the Hope softball program.
In the fall of 2008, De Kleine joined the Calvin Kinesiology department as an instructor. She is now an assistant professor in the department along with her softball coaching duties.
Meet Assistant Coach Tara Sipperley
Tara Sipperley is heading into her second year as Calvin’s assistant softball coach. She is a native of Newaygo, Michigan, and a 2007 graduate of Newaygo High School. She was a three-sport athlete at Newaygo receiving honors on the field as a middle infielder in softball. She furthered her education at Muskegon Community College and continued her love for softball under the 2010 National Champion head coach Matthew Houseman. There she received all conference honors by playing left field and having a dominating bat. After her two years were finished at MCC, she traveled to Angola, Indiana, to play for Donnie Danklefsen at Trine University. While there, she established her major in Exercise Science. She was a captain of her team and a very self-motivated leader. She helped bring the Thunder to a pair of MIAA conference tournament championships where she earned all-conference honors. She is in the process of completing her bachelor's degree in exercise science at Grand Valley State University. In addition, she currently coaches with a West Michigan based Elite travel team in the summer and works as an instructor at the Blue Chip softball camps.
MEET ASSISTANT COACH JAMIE MELCHERT
Jamie begins her first season as an assistant coach at Calvin College where she will work with Calvin's pitching staff.
Melchert was a two time varsity letter winner at Eastern Michigan University (2009-2011) after transferring from Muskegon Community College (2007-2009). She was the first junior college transfer into the EMU softball program. In her years at Eastern she was able to help the Eagles get back into the MAC Tournament.
For the 2010-2011 Season Melchert was named captain of the Eastern Michigan Softball Team. During the 2010 season she appeared in 24 games, making 16 starts. She led the team with 87 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched. She had a 3.11 ERA and tallied eight complete games and one save for the Eagles. Originally sought to be a reliever, she worked her way into the starting line-up with an eighth inning victory over Florida Atlantic on March 5. She also recorded a sub 3.00 ERA with four complete games in 11 starts in league play.
At Muskegon Community College Jamie worked the bulk of her innings on the mound compiling a 13-17 record her freshman year and a 7-1 record her sophomore year. She completed her sophomore year with a 1.889 ERA. While at Muskegon she also batted in the clean up position and played first base. Melchert finished her 2009 season with a .393 batting average, 52 RBI’s, 11 doubles, 3 triples and 9 homeruns. She was named first team All-Conference, All-Region and All-State. She was also an All-Tournament selection in 2008 and 2009. Jamie was also chosen as Muskegon Community College’s overall female athlete in the spring of 2009.
A native of Scottville, Michigan, Jamie attended Mason County Central High School where she was four year varsity letter winner in softball, basketball and volleyball. In softball she was a four year all-conference and all district selection, along with a three year all-region and all-area choice. Her senior year she was awarded a 1st team All-State honor as a 1st baseman. She was also elected to the Mason County’s Sports Hall of Fame as the county’s outstanding female athlete in 2007.