With nearly entire roster back, Mercy softball looking to roll again

By: Mike Moore | Farmington Press | Published April 16, 2013

 Elizabeth Carlson and the Mercy softball team reached a Division 1 regional last season.

Elizabeth Carlson and the Mercy softball team reached a Division 1 regional last season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Kayce Nieto has come and gone, and with that, the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team has some work to do in replacing a dominant starting pitcher.

As far as substitutes go, that’s the beginning and the end for Nancy Malinowski and her 2013 team.

“I think we can be very good this year,” the Marlins skipper said last week. “The talent is there, and the experience is there. … It’s a team that could do some great things.”

Nieto was the workhorse for years within the circle.

If a big game was to be played, the ball rested in her right hand.

The eight other starting positions are occupied by girls who held them in 2012, and senior Jacquelyn Murphy is there to assume the rotation’s top spot.

“They are big shoes to fill, but I don’t think it’s all on me,” Murphy said calmly. “We’ve got a whole team of girls ready to step up.”

If that’s the case, the spring may just be a good — and long — one for Mercy.

The team was 26-7 a year ago and lost in the Catholic League championship game before winning the program’s first district title since 2010.

The Marlins eventually lost 1-0 to Northville High in a Division 1 regional final.

At press time, Mercy was 1-0 overall, beating Gibraltar Carlson 11-0.

The team has been outdoors twice all spring.

“It’s been frustrating because, in the times we were outside, you could see there were things we struggled with that you can’t do in a gym,” Murphy said. “We’re going to have to make some adjustments, whenever the weather breaks.”

“You like what we’ve got going, but again, you base that on work in a cage and on the gym floor,” Malinowski said with a laugh. “We were glad to get a game in, and things looked real good in the game, but who knows what that means.”

Along with Murphy in the circle, MacKenzie Cahill, a sophomore transfer from Northville, as well as freshman Abby Krzywiecki, will also see time pitching, and hopefully push the Marlins past a step they’ve been stuck on for three years now.

“We’ve lost in the Catholic League finals since I started here,” Murphy said. “It’s time we get one of those. That’s where our season goals begin.”

“And they are like any other team right now. They want to go to Battle Creek,” Malinowski added. “Is it a team that can do that? Sure, based on what I think I’ve seen so far. We have a lot of work to do, but the talent and the potential are here to have a great season.”

The Marlins are slated to next hit the field against Livonia Ladywood at 4 p.m. April 19 at Ladywood.