Published April 29, 2015

FARMINGTON HILLS — As the pregame prayer begins, they stand next to one another with the team surrounding them.

Father and daughter, coach and assistant.

It’s the second straight season that this has been the arrangement with the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team, yet as familiar as this all is, it’s entirely different.

A year ago, Sara McGavin was coaching softball at Mercy and her dad, Alec Lesko, was her assistant.

The job, the sport, the role as skipper was all a dream come true for her.

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Published April 29, 2015

TROY — Pleased, but hardly surprised.

There’s always that balance that coaches must have in assessing early-season success, especially with bigger games looming down the road.

But when Dave Marr saw his Troy Athens softball team coming together this offseason, and then witnessed what was on display during the early parts of practice, he formed a certain expectation.

Roughly a month into the season, his girls are certainly living up to it.

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Published April 28, 2015

C&G Newspapers

Chippewa Valley junior pitcher Laura Miller kept Utica's off balance, and the Big Reds used an aggressive approach on offense to claim a 4-1 victory at Utica on Tuesday evening.

MIller threw a complete game while giving up four hits a one earned run. She struck out four batters while walking none.

"She pitched a great game. She pitched a no-hitter earlier this season and has been pitching low-hit games for us all season," Chippewa coach Claire Cannon said. "She got a lot faster and has way more movement than last year."

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Published April 27, 2015

The squad is young, and Clawson High softball coach Sheri Sienkiewicz believes there will be plenty of wins in the future.

For now, the goal is to improve each day and continue to build a foundation that will, hopefully, take the Trojans back to where Sienkiewicz feels they belong.

“Overall, I have a great group of talent, but it’s just going to take time to build it,” the coach said.

Clawson has three seniors, a junior and an abundance of underclassmen, with three sophomores and seven freshmen.

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Published April 23, 2015

Gary Bryce is in his 34th season as the softball coach at Wayne State University.

During his tenure, Wayne State has made it to the NCAA Tournament 19 times and has advanced as far as the NCAA Division II College World Series three times. That kind of track record helps to create a healthy program.

“I think we’re one of the top Division II programs in the country, year in, year out,” said Bryce, who acknowledged the great job by his assistants.

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Published April 22, 2015

TROY — For years, this has been a late-season, predistrict meeting that carried a sort of playoff feel to it.

The playoff feel remains, but for the first time in a while, the Troy and Troy Athens softball teams will face off against one another at the front end of the schedule instead of the back.

And both coaches are just fine with that.

“It’s not something I ever really liked, playing them that close to districts,” Troy coach Tom Calnen said. “I’d rather see them early, when you can just focus on this.”

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Published April 17, 2015

EASTPOINTE — The East Detroit High softball team has seen some lean years but looks to be making a comeback.

The Shamrocks have seen their win total increase in each of the last three seasons: from no wins in 2012, to three in 2013, to eight in 2014. Last year’s group went 8-13 overall and 4-8 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

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Published April 13, 2015

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — Softball coaches across the Macomb Area Conference are torn on a newly implemented rule that takes doubleheaders out of divisional play.

For the past two seasons, instead of playing a team once and then going back through the league schedule a second time several weeks later, divisional showdowns were played in doubleheader format.

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Published April 13, 2015

ROSEVILLE — After struggling to a 5-15 finish in 2014, including a 1-11 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, Roseville High softball coach Jessica Hansen thinks staying upbeat is the key to the new season.

“We need to stay positive and enjoy the game,” said Hansen, whose team sat at 0-2, 0-1 MAC Gold at press time. “This season will be a gradual improvement for the team. If we can stay patient, we’ll be fine.”

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Published April 9, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley softball coach John Ploskonka looked up at the board, which hangs just a pop fly from the field and lists all the district titles the program has won.

He speaks of the 2012 team that upset a highly touted Dundee High squad in a Division 3 regional semifinal before losing to Allen Park Cabrini in the next round.

That team was also the last one to win a district championship for the Ventures, after a streak of seven straight.

Ploskonka believes his current group is the one to put the program back on top.

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Published April 7, 2015

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Last season, Grosse Pointe South’s softball team won what head coach Bill Fleming said was the first Macomb Area Conference title in the history of the program.

Aside from winning a MAC Gold title, South went 24-8 overall in a season that Fleming called “special.”

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Published April 3, 2015

STERLING HEIGHTS — The Utica Ford softball team has become the model of success in recent years.

The Falcons have averaged 24 wins over the past four seasons and have won back-to-back Division 1 district and regional t. They advanced to the state semifinals last year, in addition to winning a Macomb Area Conference White Division championship in 2012.

So what needs to happen for that run of winning to continue?

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Published April 3, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore softball team started its season with a 16-0 win over Port Huron Northern on March 26, and coach Will Puvalowski said the team started the season exactly how he’d hoped it would.

“We put in a lot of offseason work, and it showed in our first game,” said Puvalowski, in his second year leading the program. “I’m really happy. There’s things we can get better at, sure, but for this time of year, we look pretty good.”

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Published April 2, 2015

Hazel Park High softball coach Lisa McClellan believes the pieces are there to have a successful season.

Now she just needs to put them in the right places.

“We have potential, but we’re very young with sophomores and freshmen,” she said. “My goal is that everyone has to learn two positions so that if I need you, you can step up. At the end of the day, they know the best lineup will be on the field.”

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Published April 1, 2015

UTICA — There are plenty of fresh faces on Utica High’s softball team this spring, but that hasn’t changed expectations for a program that has won back-to-back Macomb Area Conference White titles.

Seven players return, but four freshmen will begin the work of replacing a trio of seniors who left a big mark at Utica.

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Published April 1, 2015

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Bob Hall has been coaching travel softball and the hockey team at Utica Eisenhower for several years, and now he is taking over the varsity softball program.

Hall is replacing Vince Alessandrini, who is now the head softball coach at Macomb Community College.

Hall is inheriting a roster that features 14 returning  players from a team that went 29-9 overall last season.

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Published March 27, 2015

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse softball team is raring to go.

The players haven’t been able to get outside yet, forced instead to practice in the school auxiliary gym, where there are limited opportunities for fielding drills and hitting is limited to taking swings off a tee.

“The kids get bored inside,” said Lancers coach Lisa Downey, now in her 17th season with the team.

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Published July 31, 2013

Meet the All-Stars

The C & G coverage area was well-represented in the 2013 MHSSCA All-Star Softball games.

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Published June 19, 2013

Prior to the beginning of the regular season, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett softball coach Ted Alpert said of his team, “I suspect they will be a final-four team. If we’re not on the bus to Battle Creek, the season will have been a disappointment. I’m pretty sure that discipline and repetition will get us on that bus.”

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Published June 12, 2013

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s softball team won what coach Ted Alpert thinks is the program’s first regional championship in approximately eight years with a 5-0 win against Westland Huron Valley Lutheran School in a Division 4 contest June 8 at Liggett.

The win allowed the Knights to advance to the quarterfinals, where they were scheduled to face Concord at Adrian College June 11, after press time.
Earlier in the day, Liggett defeated Wixom St. Catherine of Siena 1-0 in its regional

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