Farmington Hills Mercy’s Asia Barbato throws a pitch against Warren Regina April 22. The Marlins won both games of the doubleheader.

Farmington Hills Mercy’s Asia Barbato throws a pitch against Warren Regina April 22. The Marlins won both games of the doubleheader.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Mercy softball off to hot start

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published April 26, 2021

 Farmington Hills Mercy’s Maggie Murphy runs the bases after hitting a home run April 22 against Warren Regina. At press time, the Marlins were 6-0 overall.

Farmington Hills Mercy’s Maggie Murphy runs the bases after hitting a home run April 22 against Warren Regina. At press time, the Marlins were 6-0 overall.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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FARMINGTON HILLS — After missing the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team has been making the most of its opportunities early in the 2021 campaign.

Through six games, the Marlins are undefeated, including a pair of victories over the 2019 Division 1 champion Warren Regina. Just two of their games have gone the full length.

New coach Corey Burras has surrounded himself with a talented staff, including former coach Jerry Ashe, and a pair of former Marlins in Jacqueline Murray and 2015 Miss Softball winner Alex Sobczak.

“It’s easy and it’s humbling,” Burras said of coaching a team with a lot of talent. “They have a very high bar. They have high expectations, and they push you to be a better coach. You have to deliver, you have to know what you’re talking about, because they can sniff it out.”

The Marlins have been firing on all cylinders to open the season. At the plate, Mercy has scored 75 runs, while the pitchers have held opponents to just eight.

They currently have six hitters batting .500 or above, including Grace Nieto, who leads the team with a .632 batting average. She’s also scored 13 runs and driven in seven. Aiding the attack has been Maggie Murphy, who is hitting .571, with three home runs, 13 runs scored and 14 RBI.

Kat Burras, Gage Lambert, Alisa Elmore and Sabrina Shea are the other four hitting .500 or higher. Burras and Elmore are the team’s on-base percentage leaders at .750, Lambert is third on the team in hits, and Shea is second on the team in RBIs.

On the mound, Asia Barbato is 3-0, with a 1.47 earned run average and 43 strikeouts over 19 innings of work. Sophia Paluk is 2-0 in nine innings and hasn’t allowed a run, while Elmore is 1-0 in four innings of work.

As a team, the Marlins are hitting .436, while the pitchers have combined to post a 0.88 earned run average.

“It’s just be aggressive. It’s a simple game. Go up there looking for a pitch to drive and force them to make a play,” Corey Burras said of his team’s approach at the plate. “If they get out, that’s fine. I just don’t want to be up there and be hesitant. Just go up there, play the game like it’s meant to be played, don’t think too much about it.”

Burras noted that the sky’s the limit for his group, and they’ve talked about winning the league and potentially making a run in the playoffs.

Mercy has one state championship in program history, which came back in 2016. The Marlins also finished as runners-up in 2002.

As for right now, however, there are still things to work on, and the season is far from over. The goal is to be playing their best softball when postseason play begins.

“I don’t think we have any limits. We’ve had fun so far,” Burras said.

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