Ike softball eyes MAC Red title and first district crown since 2009

By: Timothy Pontzer, | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 17, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Boasting seven returning members, the Utica Eisenhower softball team has high expectations entering the new season.

The Eagles have been perfect out of the gate, earning a 3-0 record at press time.

“It is a good start, showing what we can do in nonconference games,” said coach Bob Hall. “It definitely gives us confidence going forward, especially with some of the pitching and hitting we’ve been getting.”

The nonleague contests help to gear up for one of the top leagues in the state, the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. Hall said his experienced club has made winning the league the top chore on its list of goals for the year.

“We have a lot of good, quality players, but so does the rest of the Red,” Hall said. “Having the experience we do certainly helps, because the Red is tough, and what we do in these early games and practices helps to prepare for that high level of play. We want to win the league and make a playoff run, and really it is anybody’s league. It is tough to grab because of all the talent, but that is what makes the MAC Red shine.”

Also the Ike boys hockey coach, Hall is entering his third year at the helm of the softball program. He cited his club’s quickness on offense and defense as the biggest strength for the Eagles.

“We have great athleticism; we’re very quick around the bases,” Hall said. “We’re faster than we’ve ever been to balls in the field, and we can turn ground balls into a hit.”

The athletic ability is apparent on a roster that includes a handful of softball standouts who have either signed or verbally committed to play at the next level. Senior center fielder Sarah Wojcik and junior catcher Malynn Kosnik will represent Hillsdale College, junior utility player Katie Bolonga will attend Ferris State University, junior pitcher Kiersten Korber is headed to Oakland University, and the rest are currently uncommitted.

“To have that many is pretty impressive, the most we’ve had in years,” Hall said. “Kosnik is extremely smart and a great leader for us. (Wojcik), I kid you not, can cover the entire outfield. She is lighting fast.”

Junior third baseman Aspen Starr serves as one of four team captains. Hall specifically pointed to her as a key leader for Ike.

“Aspen is a fantastic player, always very positive and confident,” Hall said. “I can always count on her to do her job on and off the field. She’s just a player who brings it every single play she is involved with.”

In her second year on varsity, Starr said she enjoys that leadership role and the relationships she and her teammates share on and off the field.

“I like teaching the other kids and just helping to let everyone know what is going on, because communication is key out on the field,” Starr said. “A lot of the girls are friends, so we have a really strong bond.”

Ike heads to Anchor Bay High for a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. April 20. The Eagles return home to host Macomb Dakota at 4:30 p.m. April 25.