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June 5, 2013

Troy softball team back on top of districts; baseball team ends one win shy

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Troy softball team back on top of districts; baseball team ends one win shy
Troy’s Katy Krajenta is pictured during a game earlier this season. Troy won its district last weekend and faces Romeo High in a June 8 regional semifinal at Rochester High.

TROY — A year ago, something that had become so routine was suddenly beyond reach.

The Troy High softball team was out of the 2012 district tournament, sent home two wins shy of the regional round — by its city rival, no less.

The drought, so to speak, didn’t last long.

“It’s really nice — something we strive for,” Colts coach Tom Calnen said following a 3-0 victory against Rochester Adams in a Division 1 district final at home. The Colts have won a district title nine times in the last 11 years. “It’s great for our program and great for our kids. This is what you play for.”

As it has been so many times in years past, pitching was the fuel to the Colts’ fire.

After cruising past Pontiac High 15-0 in a playoff opener, the Colts met Athens in the semifinal, seeking a bit of redemption after last year.

Taylor Schmidt then went out and gave up two hits in a 1-0 victory.

Hours later against Adams, she allowed two fewer.

“And she struck out 12 girls,” Calnen said of Schmidt’s no-hitter against the Highlanders.

Hardly his first trip to the regional round, Calnen, after a series of heath issues the past 12 months, said he’s enjoying all the little things life brings him a lot more these days.

District titles included.

“This year was a grind — it really was,” he said with a laugh. “Right now, I’m just so happy for these kids and our coaches. Last year wasn’t a good feeling, and we had to really work to get back to this point. To do it is pretty special.”

Getting beyond the next point is now the goal.

The Colts (31-8) face Romeo High in a June 8 regional semifinal at Rochester High.

The other half of the bracket features Hartland High and Lake Orion High.

“Pitching and defense,” Calnen said about the keys this weekend. “It’s plain, simple and cliché. But if we pitch and play defense, we have a shot.”

Quite the run

The Troy baseball team nearly duplicated the softball squad’s success.

The Colts eventually fell in the district final 5-2 to Adams.

“They went up 5-0 right off the bat, and that hurt,” coach Tim Mullen said. “But after that, the offense came together and the pitchers settled down. It was a good baseball game.”

Troy had chances, putting runners on base in five of the final six innings.

The Colts reached the game after beating Athens 13-5 in the semifinals and Pontiac 1-0 in the opener.

The Colts won 15 of their 16 games entering the final.

“I’m real proud of what happened this year,” Mullen said. “There were a few seasons here with .500 records and finishing in the middle of the division. I think a year like this can really change the program.”

Troy ended 20-10 overall and 13-5 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, tied for tops with Berkley High.

“Expectations are going up,” Mullen added. “As a team, talking to the guys that will be back, they feel like they are good enough to keep getting this better and better.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.