BEVERLY HILLS — Bloomfield Hills Marian softball trailed Birmingham Seaholm by a run in the top of the sixth inning of a Division 1 district final when freshman Lauren Ogurek stepped to the plate.
“I was nervous, but I knew I had my whole team behind me,” she said.
Ogurek then made the swing that ultimately led to Marian’s first district championship in 10 years.
Her two-run home run gave Marian a 5-4 advantage, which it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I actually thought it was a pop up to center field, and I was kind of getting down on myself, but it just kept going,” Ogurek said. “I was pretty happy.”
Marian put two more runs on the board in the sixth and won 7-4. The Mustangs play the winner of the Walled Lake Northern district at 10 a.m. June 8 at Novi High.
“It’s very special. They didn’t show any nerves at all. We just played the game,” Marian coach Mike Milczarski said, noting that he has seven freshmen and four sophomores on the roster.
One of the freshmen is starting pitcher Kelli Conway.
In Seaholm’s half of the sixth inning, it put runners on second and third before Conway put an end to the rally with two straight outs.
“It was great just to be on the mound and be there for my coaches … because I knew they really wanted it,” she said. “The pressure was on, but I think we executed well and held them, so that was good.”
Marian has now won nine straight games, which Milczarski credits to his defense.
“Lately, we’re not giving teams four outs an inning,” he said. “We’re only giving them three. You do that against anyone, you’ll be in the game.”
Freshman Sydney Jascoe said team camaraderie and keeping calm in pressure situations, despite it being most of their first years on varsity, has been key.
“We’ve been playing travel together for a long time, so I think we’re just used to it and know how to play the game,” she said.
On the other side, Seaholm also has a young team, but coach Bill Schuerman said it’s losing two key seniors in Jordan Lenington and Lexie Hamilton.
“I call them ‘day-oners.’ From day one when they were freshmen, they were in the starting lineup,” Schuerman said. “We’re sure going to miss them.”