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Shelby Township, Utica

May 20, 2013

Eisenhower softball looks to build strong foundation

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Pictured from a game earlier this season is Utica Eisenhower catcher Ellie Kauten, who along with Kolette Sherry, Victoria Hall and Kayla Laquiere, is one of the team captains.

When Utica Eisenhower softball coach Vince Alessandrini took the helm of the program, he had two primary goals.

One of those goals was to get his team, which at the time was competing in the Macomb Area Conference Division, moved into the MAC Red. His other goal was to create a family atmosphere around the program.

Alessandrini, in his third season as Eisenhower’s coach, considers the Eagles a team that does indeed act as a cohesive family unit. And as far as his goal to get the program moved to the MAC Red, Alessandrini can put “mission accomplished” next to that one, as well, as the Eagles joined the division this season.

Given how challenging the MAC Red can be, Alessandrini entered the season with a goal of being competitive and finishing somewhere “in the middle of the pack” in what is the Eagles’ first time back in the division since 2010. At press time, Eisenhower had a record of 4-6 in the MAC Red (13-8 overall), five games behind Sterling Heights Stevenson (9-1 MAC Red, 18-4 overall) in divisional play.

With districts approaching, Alessandrini thinks that facing the kind of competition his team does in the MAC Red could be beneficial.

“We’re hoping playing in the MAC Red will help us experiencewise for the district,” he said. “MAC Red is, by far, the best division in the state. You got two of the best pitchers in the MAC Red you have in face in Alyssa Huntley (Stevenson) and Taylor Weaver (Romeo). That’s who we have to face in the MAC Red — the two best pitchers in the state, as far as I’m concerned.”

Aside from the leadership he has gotten from captains Kolette Sherry, Ellie Kauten, Victoria Hall, Kayla Laquiere, as well as senior Corrine Walny, Alessandrini has also been pleased with the general character he has seen his players display.

In fact, what Alessandrini considers to be the team’s biggest strength is one he thinks could help his players succeed, both on and off the field.

“This team never gives up,” he said. “I preach to them that nothing matters until the final score. Whether we’re down 5-0 or winning 6-0, they’re (going to) go hard.”

While Alessandrini would like to see his team be in the thick of things when it competes in a Division 1 district tournament hosted by Romeo, scheduled for May 28-June 1, he has also given some thought as to what may be in store for Eisenhower’s program as it moves forward.

“We have, I think, eight sophomores on varsity right now, along with three freshmen,” he said. “And we got eight freshmen on JV, so our program’s looking good right now for the next four years. And then we got a good incoming class coming in next year, so the program’s headed in the right direction with a lot of good kids coming in.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.