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St. Clair Shores

June 17, 2014

Lake Shore softball coach looks back at strong 2014 campaign

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The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore softball team finished with a 21-12 record. Pictured is Shorians junior pitcher/outfielder Andrea Rico sliding safely into home during a D-1 regional semifinal against Utica Ford II June 7.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Lake Shore softball coach Will Puvalowski said he and the Shorians softball team set a goal of winning a district title at the outset of the season.

That came to fruition, as Lake Shore won the program’s first district title since 2010 with a 10-4 win over Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse in seven innings in a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 district championship game May 30 at Roseville High.

“We made (winning a district title) our focus every day this season, and utlimately, that’s something the girls accomplished,” Puvalowski said June 9.

Lake Shore’s season came to an end in an 11-10 loss to Utica Ford II in a D-1 regional semifinal June 7 at Anchor Bay. The Falcons went on to win the regional title — Ford II’s second straight — in a 3-2 win over Warren Regina.

The Shorians end the season at 21-12. Lake Shore has won at least 20 games for two straight years. Lake Shore held a 10-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Ford scored six runs in the frame to pick up the win and advance.

“After the Utica Ford game, I told the girls to keep their heads up, and I wanted them to realize that they played well,” Puvalowski said. “They need to know there is no team they can’t compete with. The (regional semifinal) just didn’t go our way.”

Puvalowski said he feels his team had a very successful season and that the playoff run will give the 10 players eligible to return next season a lot of confidence.

Lake Shore loses five seniors — Brooke Wauters, Jordyn Dunlap, Mackenzie Alvae, Lauren George and Taylor LaPorte. Puvalowski said that group did a lot to help bring the program to its current level.

The Shorians coach said he believes returning players such as junior pitcher/outfielder Andrea Rico, sophomore outfielder Natalie Vanderhaegen, junior shortstop Mackenzie Nemitz, freshman outfielder/first baseman Natalie Stepanenko, sophomore catcher Jordan Miller and freshman pitcher/first baseman Sarah Ratledge will all provide Lake Shore with strong play next season.

Ratledge picked up a complete-game win in the district title game.

“These girls all had great seasons, and they will lead our team in the offseason and into next year,” Puvalowski said.