The Royal Oak Shrine softball district was filled with drama, from weather delays to extra innings, and finally a championship.
The Knights won their Division 4 district after beating Southfield Christian 6-5 in eight innings June 1 at Southfield Christian.
The Eagles had beaten Shrine the two previous seasons in the final.
“We talked to the girls before the final, and they were ready,” Shrine coach Rick Steinmetz said. “We did it all year. When they were focused and ready to go, they can play with anybody.”
Shrine trailed 5-4 in the top of the seventh and was down to its last out when Brittney Stewart stepped up to the plate and launched the pitch over the fence to tie it up.
“It was incredibly exciting. As soon as she hit it, you knew it was going to be gone, that it wasn’t even going to be close,” Steinmetz said. “Afterwards, you don’t even remember that there were two outs and that she was the last batter. That’s the kind of player she is, so that was pretty exciting for her and everyone. The girls went crazy. It was back and forth all day.”
Stewart also earned the win in the circle, recording 12 strikeouts in the final.
In the eighth, Deven Kinney drove in the winning run with a double, but was injured sliding into second and will be out of the rest of the postseason.
Shrine beat Novi Franklin Roach Christian 14-7 in its semifinal, withstanding numerous weather delays.
“The first game, we didn’t play very well. We gave up a lot of runs. We just weren’t scoring, and the pitching was a little slower than we were used to. Although 14-7 is pretty comfortable, it wasn’t comfortable to me,” the coach said. “When we came out in the first inning (against Southfield Christian) and got two runs right away, I told my assistant coach that we’re in this and anything can happen. That’s the way it was. We battled back every time.”
The game also marked the last for Southfield Christian coach Ken Brown after 30 years of being in the sport.
“I’ve been coaching for 19 years, and we’ve played each other the 19 years. We had a meeting this morning for All-District, and I told him that I loved winning, but to be the last guy to beat him, I’m not going to take a lot of pleasure in that,” Steinmetz said.
Next for the Knights is Westland Huron Valley Lutheran at noon June 9 at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.
In other softball news:
Royal Oak High lost to Warren Regina in its D-1 district June 2 at Regina.
Clawson High fell to Madison Heights Lamphere in D-2 June 2 at Warren Fitzgerald.
In local baseball news:
Shrine softball wasn’t the school’s only district champion. The baseball team beat Birmingham Roeper 16-0 June 1 at Southfield Christian for its D-4 title.
Up next, the Knights play Lutheran Westland at noon June 9 at Liggett.
In D-1, Royal Oak High fell to De La Salle 5-0 June 2 at De La Salle.
In D-2, Clawson High lost to Madison Heights Lamphere 10-0 Jun 2 at Fitzgerald.