Ferndale High softball coach Akilah Evans saw something in her squad early on that made her feel like a special season was on the horizon.
“Before the season, I already knew. We would have to cancel practices because of the weather, and they would be upset. I knew right there that they had heart,” Evans said. “It was just a matter of getting them to believe that they can do it.”
The Eagles believed and accomplished, winning a co-championship in the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division.
Ferndale finished 8-2 in the division, tied with Southfield-Lathrup, which just so happens to be the program Evans coached last season.
The Eagles played Madison Heights Lamphere in a Division 2 district semifinal after press time.
The winner of the district plays Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at 10 a.m. June 8 at Bloomfield Hills Andover in a regional semifinal.
Evans credited the team’s “hunger for the game” that made it tough to beat.
“It took the girls buying in to my vision, and I give them credit. They had to fight through adversity to become a champion,” she said. “We had a lot of canceled games, lots of injuries and then transitioning to a new coach. They took it on, still stayed together and kept pushing.
“I don’t even know if I can put it into words. I’m just so proud of them.”
With only two seniors on the roster and a core group of underclassmen on the squad, Evans also believes this is just the beginning.
“I know because they’re young, next year is really going to be amazing,” she said.
In other local softball action:
Berkley High fell to Warren Regina 12-0 June 1 at Warren Cousino in a D-1 district final.
The Bears beat Royal Oak High 3-0 in their semifinal.
Royal Oak Shrine’s season also came to a close. The Knights fell to Wixom St. Catherine 4-1 May 31 at Southfield Christian in a Division 4 district final.
The Knights say goodbye to eight seniors who were four-year varsity members and helped lead the team to a Catholic High School League C-D Division champion this season.
“The (seniors) have been great, all eight of them contributed,” coach Rick Steinmetz said. “We had three of the best captains I’ve had in several years; they all worked hard and they played together. That’s all you can ask. Coaching the group of them, it’s like sending your daughters away or something. It’s a hard thing to do.”