Young Saddlelites softball squad has plenty to build on

By: Jon Malavolti | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 11, 2012

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Warren Regina’s softball team fell in regional play after winning another district title this postseason.

The Saddlelites closed out the year with a 5-0 loss to Utica Stevenson in a Division 1 regional semifinal at Macomb L’Anse Creuse North June 9. Stevenson went on to win the regional title.

“You don’t hit, you don’t win,” Regina coach Diane Laffey said, noting her team’s lack of offense in the season-ending loss.

But with just one graduating senior — infielder/catcher Taylor Verbic — there’s plenty for the Saddlelites to build from.

“It’s good, because we’re so young,” Laffey said. “We only have one senior, and you really feel bad for her. She played her heart out, and she’s a good player.

“But we have four freshmen and five sophomores. Like I said to them, you know what it feels like to lose in a regional. You don’t want to feel that way again. And the young kids, hopefully, can react to that.”

Facing some of the top talent in the state, Laffey hopes her returning players benefit from the trial-by-fire experience in the regional.

“It’s a very tough regional for young kids; three of the freshmen start,” Laffey said. “You get into this, and yeah, you’ve played travel ball, but you’ve not played a high school regional ever before. You don’t know the pressure. You don’t know what’s going to happen. But they’ll learn from it, I’m sure.

“I’m not worried about the future,” the coach continued. “These kids will bounce back. They don’t want to feel like this again.”

Regina wraps up the year 22-20 after dominating in the district, outscoring Berkley High, Royal Oak High and Warren Mott by the combined score of 46-1.

“We struggled to get above .500, so it’s good to finish that way,” Laffey said.

The Regina regional roster also included juniors Dana Smith, Morghan Cracchiolo, Maria Smith, Christine Palazzolo, Monica Brugoni, Jessica Steele and Jenna Landa; sophomores Sierra Kett, Olivia Pellerito, Myranda Martin, Amanda Blok and Courtney Smith; and freshmen Ryanne Braun, Riley Hison, Marissa Tiano and Gina Munson.