East Detroit softball coach says young team has matured
Published May 21, 2014
EASTSIDER — Upon taking the reins prior to the start of the 2013 season, East Detroit High softball coach Jeff Zschernig said he hoped to change the culture of a once-powerful program.
Zschernig, a graduate of East Detroit High, is on the right track.
After winning just three games in 2013, the Shamrocks (7-11, 3-11 Macomb Area Conference Silver Division) have more than doubled last year’s win total. The program isn’t quite back to where it stood in its heyday — advancing to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A state finals in 1978, 1980 and 1987 — but this year’s team is making headway.
“We’re a young team just looking to become more consistent with our execution,” Zschernig said. “This team has made good progress in attitude and maturity. Sadly, we lost a (key) player to a knee injury just before the start of the season, but other players have stepped up and developed into future stars.”
The Shamrocks have made strides in a number of areas, Zschernig said. The team is fundamentally sound in the field and is working hard every day to improve.
Zschernig said East Detroit is more athletic and faster than in past years, and the pitching has improved greatly and has kept the Shamrocks in a number of games.
“Because without pitching, you go nowhere fast,” Zschernig said.
Leading the turnaround is a group of underclassmen.
Sophomore captain Bree Bester (pitcher/shortstop) has been strong on the mound and on the base paths, Zschernig said, along with developing into a solid leader. Junior first base/pitcher Charlotte Hubbard gives the Shamrocks some pop in the lineup. Junior third base Daniella Marsee and junior second base Phristian Cowans provide speed and consistency.
Zschernig called the play of a group of freshman — catcher Hannah Whitlow, left fielder Mashayla Grimes and right fielder Andrea Finn — a pleasant surprise.
The Shamrocks will have to continue to play well if they are to advance in the state playoffs, which begin May 27. The Shamrocks are in a Division 1 district hosted by St. Clair Shores Lakeview with Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe South, Detroit East English Prep Academy and Lakeview.
“Two of the teams are from the MAC White and one is from the MAC Gold, so we’ll represent the MAC Silver to the best of our ability,” Zschernig said.
East Detroit next hits the diamond for a regular-season matchup against Clawson, set for 4:30 p.m. May 21 at Memorial Park in Eastpointe. The Shamrocks travel to Marine City Cardinal Mooney for a doubleheader May 23.
“We’re very excited about the games we have left,” Zschernig said. “Getting some wins would be a good way to end the (regular) season on a positive note.”