Warren Regina softball players and coaches pose with their Division 1 regional championship trophy after a 12-11 June 9 win over Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse.

Warren Regina softball players and coaches pose with their Division 1 regional championship trophy after a 12-11 June 9 win over Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse.

Regina softball outlasts L'Anse Creuse to capture regional title

Teams combine for 23 runs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published June 9, 2018

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Longtime Warren Regina softball coach Diane Laffey said this season her team’s defense and pitching have been serviceable, but that hitting is what has pushed the team to Catholic High School League tournament and Division 1 district crowns.

In order for the Saddlelites to advance past the regional playoff round, that firepower had to be on display and it was, as Regina downed Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 12-11 in a D-1 regional final June 9 at Macomb Dakota. The regional title is the first for the Saddlelites since 2015 — the season the team won its sixth state title.

Regina (22-6) advances to take on Garden City High in a state quarterfinal set for 4 p.m. June 12 at Wayne State University.

“We can hit. That’s the thing we do really well,” Laffey said following the regional final. “The girls keep saying we’re not done. They want to keep winning.”

A double to center field by senior second base Meghan Berlin in the bottom of the sixth inning that scored junior pitcher Marisa Muglia proved to be the game-winning score.

“I just wanted to make a play for our team,” Berlin said. “L’Anse Creuse is a good team, so I knew there was a chance they could get some more runs and I just wanted to try to help keep us out front.”

The Lancers (29-8) did all they could to stay alive. Junior pitcher Brooke Nadolny in the top of the seventh hit a three-run bomb over the right field wall to pull her team to within one at 12-11. L’Anse Creuse was unable to drive in any more runs. Nadolny’s home run was her 26th of the season and 54th of her career — both state records.

“(Nadolny) showed how clutch she is,” L’Anse Creuse coach Lisa Downey said. “She made a big play to keep us in the game.”

The Lancers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, as the team sent eight players to the plate. Sophomore infielder Cynthia Galvan, freshman utility player Rylee Thomas and freshman outfielder Sydney Simon all drove in runs to put L’Anse Creuse out front early.

Regina answered in its half of the first, scoring eight runs to take an early lead. The Saddlelites first two runs came on an error that allowed senior third base Melina Livingston and junior shortstop Leah Munson to score. Senior outfielders Megan Ross and Katie Bieszke had RBI hits in the inning — Bieszke with a single that plated two runs to give Regina a 5-4 advantage. Livingston, who next season will play at Penn State University, hit a three-run shot to right field to give the Saddlelites an 8-5 lead after one.

“I got what I thought were a couple of bad strike calls, so I just told myself I’m gonna take the next pitch and I was able to get ahold of it,” Livingston said. “I don’t think I’ve been a part of a game like this. Usually we take control by the fourth or fifth inning. This was pretty wild.”

The Lancers cut the Saddlelites lead to 8-5 on a sacrifice fly from sophomore first base Ava Ferrarelli in the top of the second that scored Nadolny.

Berlin drove in freshman infielder Miranda Nicholas with a single to center field to push the Regina lead to 9-5 in the bottom of the fourth. Muglia, who reached on an infield hit earlier in the inning, scored on a fielding error to give the Saddlelites a 10-5 lead. Senior outfielder Maddie Simon laced a single to left field to score Berlin and give Regina an 11-5 lead after four innings.

L’Anse Creuse didn’t fold, though, as freshman outfielder Jaycie LaValley hit a single to center field that plated Simon to cut the Regina lead to 11-6 in the top of the fifth.

Lancers senior catcher Sammi Mills, the lone senior on the team, drove in Nadolny with a two-run home run that cleared the center field wall to cut the Saddlelites lead to 11-8 in the top of the sixth.

All of the Saddlelites runs in the regional final came with two outs. Laffey said her team has been able to come up with clutch hits all season.

Downey said the game came down to a couple of plays her team wasn’t able to make. Regina in the first inning recorded five straight two-out hits on its way to taking the early 8-4 lead.

“We start three freshmen and five sophomores, so it took them four or five innings before they realized they didn’t need to keep overthinking things and just play,” Downey said.

Both Regina and L’Anse Creuse had to battle just to get to the regional final.

Nadolny hit a walkoff two-run home run to push the Lancers past Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a regional semi, while the Saddlelites rallied from a late 9-6 deficit to get past Anchor Bay 10-9.

“I wasn’t sure how we’d play after having to fight so hard to come back,” Laffey said. “Then we got down 4-0 (to L’Anse Creuse) and things didn’t look too good. The girls did a great job of fighting today. A lot of girls made big hits today.”