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Big seventh innings pushes Regina softball past Bay City Western and into the D-1 state title game

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published June 13, 2019

 Warren Regina senior pitcher Marisa Muglia winds up during a June 11 Division 1 state quarterfinal win over Garden City High. Muglia struck out nine and allowed just two hits in the Saddlelites 4-0 June 13 win over Bay City Western in the state semifinals.

Warren Regina senior pitcher Marisa Muglia winds up during a June 11 Division 1 state quarterfinal win over Garden City High. Muglia struck out nine and allowed just two hits in the Saddlelites 4-0 June 13 win over Bay City Western in the state semifinals.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

EAST LANSING — Luck comes into play for teams that go on state title winning runs and that played a major role in the Warren Regina softball team’s 4-0 win over Bay City Western in a June 13 Division 1 state semifinal.

The game was quiet for a long time, as the teams entered the seventh inning in a scoreless tie.

Regina sophomore first baseman Mia Konyvka laid down a sacrifice hit that allowed pinch runner Jenna Holt to reach second base. Holt overran second and couldn’t get back, and a bad throw to third allowed her to score to put the Saddlelites up 1-0 with one out in the top of the seventh.

That proved to be the game’s winning run.

“Honestly, I overrun second all the time. I just knew that with my speed I could cause chaos,” Holt said. “I got to third and heard the ball was dead, and I slid home. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.”

Regina senior pitcher Marisa Muglia — who allowed just two hits and struck out nine in the win — got the hit that led to the winning run. Muglia said Saddlelites coach Diane Laffey often calls in a pinch runner for her so she’s fresh for the next inning.

“(Holt) does all the things I can’t,” Muglia said. “She’s really fast. In my at-bat, I was just thinking I have to do something to get our team going.”

Laffey, going for her seventh state championship on Saturday, said Holt is a late-season JV call up. Laffey confirmed that Holt does have a tendency to overrun bases.

“But she could get away with that on JV,” said Laffey, who’s team enters the state title game with a 29-11 record. “She’d gotten thrown out doing that a couple of times since we brought her up, but luckily the throw was behind her and went into the dead-ball area in the dugout.”

Later in the inning, after walks by freshman shortstop Abby Hornberger and freshman infielder Adriana James, sophomore outfielder Megan Nicholas came up and laced a single to left field. The ball got past Bay City Western sophomore outfielder Savannah Sprague, allowing 2 runs to score to put the Saddlelites up 3-0 with two outs. Regina junior outfielder Jacqueline Jozefczyk followed with a single to center field to score Nicholas and give the Saddlelites a 4-0 edge.

“(Nicholas) had been struggling a little bit. Before her at-bat, I actually asked the umpire if (Holt) could re-enter the game as a pinch hitter,” Laffey said. “She got a big hit in a big spot. We’re lucky to have gotten the 3 other runs.”

Muglia in the fifth inning got into a bit of a jam when with one out she hit two straight Warriors batters before ending the threat with a pop-out and a strikeout.

“They were really crowding the plate that inning,” Muglia said.

Bay City Western (31-6) made back-to-back state title game appearances in 2013 and 2014, winning the championship in 2014.

Laffey, in her 49th year leading the Saddlelites, said her team will practice at a field in Lansing June 14 in advance of the title game and stay in the area to prepare. Regina takes on either Clarkston High or Howell High at 12:30 p.m. June 15 at Michigan State.

“We’re going to work and then just see what happens on Saturday,” Laffey said.