St. Clair Shores
Longtime South Lake softball coach on verge of something special
Posted May 5, 2017
ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake softball coach Dave Ahearn has guided his team to three straight Division 2 district championships. A fourth consecutive postseason title would tie Ahearn with the man who hired him — former Cavaliers coach Don Frederick, who accomplished the feat in the 1990s.
Ahearn and Frederick are both South Lake alums. The possibility of another district title is top of mind for Ahearn, too.
“It would mean so much,” said Ahearn, whose team sat at 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division at press time. “It would mean a great deal to me to be able to carry on the tradition of quality softball at South Lake. For our seniors who’ve been with us four years, to end every season with a championship trophy would be fantastic.”
Ahearn is in his 23rd year with the program, where he started out as a JV coach. The current run of district titles represents the first postseason championships of his tenure.
The team has started to come together following a three-game skid that saw South Lake drop games to Roseville High April 18, New Haven High April 24 and Center Line High April 25. The team left 15 runners on base in a 5-3 loss to Roseville. The Cavs had one bad inning, Ahearn said, in a 7-3 loss to Center Line.
“The floodgates started to open (in a 10-0 April 27 win against Clinton Township Clintondale),” Ahearn said. “Then we followed that up with a big win over (Madison Heights) Lamphere.
“In the three-game losing streak, we had a lot of trouble with leaving runners on base. Now we’re starting to see things come together.”
Ahearn and his team have made a concerted effort to be aggressive on the base paths. Through May 4, the Cavs were averaging 10 runs a game, while letting up 5.3.
“We had three rookies get their first hit in the game against Lamphere, and we set the tone early with a big hit with the bases loaded. You see the excitement coming out of the players, and their confidence goes through the roof.”
Leading the way at the plate is sophomore catcher Avery Salvia. She leads the team in RBIs.
A group of seniors have also stepped up and gotten big hits: shortstop Emily Sturgis, first baseman Shelby Nelson, center fielder Torri Brown and first baseman/outfielder Daija Desaussure.
In the circle, junior pitchers Madison Horton and Brynn Perron give the team a chance to win every day.
Ahearn said having a pair of solid pitchers makes the team’s defense more confident. They know, Ahearn said, that the pitchers can pick them up with a strikeout or a weak ground ball to get the team out of a jam.
“Having pitchers like we have makes a big difference,” Ahearn said. “Pitching is everything, and we have two veteran, quality pitchers. They know how to get out of a jam.”
That will be vital if the team is to win another district title.
South Lake hosts a district that features Harper Woods High, Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy, Detroit Osborn and Detroit Denby. The district playoffs start May 30.
“(Frederick) always reminds me that he won four straight,” Ahearn said. “It’d mean a lot to me to match him.”
South Lake’s next game is against Clawson High at 4:30 p.m. May 10 on the road.
About the author
Staff Writer Jason Carmel Davis covers prep sports throughout Macomb County. Jason has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2011 and graduated from Michigan State University.
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