Lake Shore softball coach looks back on run to regionals

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 16, 2017

 St. Clair Shores Lake Shore senior Natalie Stepanenko looks on during a June 3 district semifinal win. The Shorians lose three players to graduation, including two who will play in college — Stepanenko and Sarah Ratledge.

St. Clair Shores Lake Shore senior Natalie Stepanenko looks on during a June 3 district semifinal win. The Shorians lose three players to graduation, including two who will play in college — Stepanenko and Sarah Ratledge.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ANCHOR BAY — After winning a Division 1 district championship June 3, the St. Clair Shores Lake Shore softball team saw its season end in a 1-0 loss to Anchor Bay High June 10 in a regional semifinal.

The Tars pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the sixth inning as sophomore Callie Tatum singled to center field, scoring senior Felicia Maximiuk from second base.

Anchor Bay went on to fall to Macomb Dakota 7-0 in the regional final.

Lake Shore coach Will Puvalowski — who guided the team to a second district title in his fourth year at the helm — said he was proud of his team. 

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great game,” he said.

The game ended a season that saw Lake Shore go 22-11. The team rebounded from a 14-17 campaign in 2016. The district championship, which came June 3, was the first for the program since 2014.

The Shorians lose three players to graduation: Andie Lane, Natalie Stepanenko and Sarah Ratledge. Stepanenko and Ratledge will continue their careers at the college level at Hillsdale College and the Indiana Institute of Technology, respectively.

Puvalowski made it a point to thank his seniors for helping to establish a strong culture within the program.

“When I took over four years ago, I had a vision of what I wanted this program to be, and this is it,” Puvalowski said of a team that has won two district titles and a Macomb Area Conference White Division title in his tenure.

“It’s not because of me. Lake Shore softball is about having fun, believing in yourself and your teammates, and staying together, and that’s what this team is thanks to those three girls. It’s special to have a group like that as my first graduating class. It’s a bittersweet way to end the year, but they should be proud of themselves.”

Lake Shore has 10 players eligible to return next season, including sophomore Mackenzie Maison and junior Elizabeth Gatto, who both hit home runs in the team’s district title win. The team started one freshman and three sophomores this season.

“Our younger players know what it’s about now with being a part of this run,” Puvalowski said. “Last year was a little rough, but for the most part we’ve been successful. Everybody’s just doing their best. Nobody is putting pressure on anyone else. That says a lot about the kids I coach.”

 

South Lake baseball, softball fall in regionals
The St. Clair Shores South Lake baseball and softball teams both saw their seasons end in the Division 2 regional playoffs.

The Cavs baseball team fell 12-2 to Dearborn Divine Child in a June 10 regional semifinal. The Cavs — who won a fourth straight district title — ended the season at 8-18. Divine Child went on to win a regional championship.

South Lake softball — which also won a fourth consecutive district title — lost 14-0 to Divine Child in a June 10 regional semifinal. The Cavs softball team ended the season at 12-8.