Published June 12, 2013

With the bases loaded, nobody out and trailing by a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Nancy Malinowski felt pretty good about her team and its chances of moving on.

Which is exactly why losing was so tough.

“I mean, you load the bases with nobody out, and you think you can get one or two in,” the Farmington Hills Mercy softball coach said with a laugh after her team was ousted by Canton High in a 3-2 Division 1 regional semifinal loss June 8 at Novi High. “It just wasn’t meant to be for us.”

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Published June 12, 2013

St. Clair Shores Lakeview softball coach Becky Quinn left the program for a year after relocating for a job.

In Quinn’s first year back — and her third overall — the Huskies’ coach has guided the team to its third district title in four years.

Lakeview (9-12 at press time) knocked off Grosse Pointe North 8-5 in a Division 1 district final played June 1 at Grosse Pointe North. The Huskies beat East Detroit High 18-0 a district semifinal played June 1 to advance to the final.

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Published June 5, 2013

FARMINGTON — With roughly two weeks remaining in the regular season, Farmington Hills Mercy softball coaches Nancy and Brandon Malinowski said their team was certainty good enough to reach the state finals.

On June 1, the Marlins went to Farmington High and took their first stride toward Battle Creek.

“This was a good first step,” Brandon Malinowski said following a 14-4 victory against Novi High in a Division 1 district final. “We have some things to work on, but there was a lot to like about today.”

Namely, the offense.

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Published June 4, 2013

St. Clair Shores South Lake softball coach Dave Ahearn and his players set a “lofty” goal of going 12-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, and met that goal to win the league title.

The division title is the first for the Cavaliers since they went back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.

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Published May 29, 2013

While the regular season may not have gone as well as Grosse Pointe North’s softball team would have hoped, from first-year coach Claire Cannon’s perspective, the team’s biggest goal is still out there — namely, postseason success.

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Published May 22, 2013

The scheduled practice time had yet to expire, but the work done to this point was “pretty good,” as Farmington Hills Mercy softball coach Nancy Malinowski put it.

The reward was an early exit and a little more time for girls on the team to enjoy the rest of their afternoon.

“We got some good work in, so we like to let them go a little early,” Malinowski explained with a smile on a sunny May 13 afternoon at the school. “They were good today.”

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Published May 15, 2013

FARMINGTON — Both coaches agreed that the past was just that: the past.

Besides, there’s enough in present day to serve as motivation when city rivals square off.

“It’s always a big game, anytime you play Farmington or Harrison,” North Farmington softball coach Dave Brubaker said of a May 15 doubleheader against Farmington, set for 4:30 p.m. at home. “We’re playing for a city championship. Bragging rights for the year and for this rivalry are always key.”

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Published May 8, 2013

Pitching and defense.

They have the keys to success for the North Farmington softball team the past few years.

With Katy Severson dominant in the circle and solid group of seven behind her, the Raiders rolled to 64 combined wins in 2011 and 2012.

But with Severson now lost to graduation, coach Dave Brubaker was asked about the keys to success this season, and his answer was, well, “pitching and defense.”

“That’s how we’re going to do it.”

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Published May 1, 2013

Trailing by six runs in the fourth inning, Berkley High softball coach Megan Colligan witnessed her team find its stride.

The Bears battled back and left Bloomfield Hills Andover April 22 with a 19-11 victory after being down 11-5 in the fourth inning.

“I was really proud of them. It was really a team win because they all hit,” Colligan said. “I think they needed it to prove to themselves that they could come back because, last year, they saw a lot of those games go the other way. They proved to themselves that they had it in them.”

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Published April 16, 2013

Kayce Nieto has come and gone, and with that, the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team has some work to do in replacing a dominant starting pitcher.

As far as substitutes go, that’s the beginning and the end for Nancy Malinowski and her 2013 team.

“I think we can be very good this year,” the Marlins skipper said last week. “The talent is there, and the experience is there. … It’s a team that could do some great things.”

Nieto was the workhorse for years within the circle.

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Published April 16, 2013

Sterling Heights Stevenson softball coach Tony Misuraca said he and his players still have the memories of their last game of 2012 in the back of their minds.

The Titans, which went 26-10 and earned district and regional titles in 2012, had a lead on White Lake Lakeland going into the last half inning of their D-1 state quarterfinal before squandering that lead and seeing their season end in a one-run loss.

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Published April 2, 2013

Having coached a high school baseball program in Oklahoma to two state titles, Liggett softball coach Ted Alpert has seen what winning teams looks like.

And while he can’t say for sure how far it will take them, Alpert thinks the Knights have the talent in place to have a special season of their own.

Apparently, he is not alone.

According to Alpert, Liggett is ranked as the No. 9 team in the state amongst Division 4 programs.

Alpert is not shying away from creating big goals for his team.

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Published April 2, 2013

Stephanie Volpe is all about setting realistic goals — ones her team has a legitimate shot at seizing.

She’s also a firm believer her Farmington High softball team will surprise some people in 2013.

“We’re coming in as the underdog again, and we know that,” Volpe said last week. “But I think this team can make some things happen. I think we’ll sneak up on some people.”

The Falcons enter the spring attempting to rebound from what turned out to be a rather disappointing 2012 season.

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Published April 2, 2013

EASTPOINTE — Rookie East Detroit High softball coach Jeff Zschernig, an alumnus of the school, said he remembers a time when the Shamrocks’ softball program was a force to be reckoned with.

“When I was here 30 or so years ago, the softball team was winning — competing for regional titles and everything else,” Zschernig said. The Shamrocks advanced to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A state finals in 1978, 1980 and 1987.

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Published June 19, 2012

EAST LANSING — Fourth-year Troy High girls soccer coach Brian Zawislak will have to wait at least one more year to bring the school another Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 girls soccer title.

The Colts fell 2-0 to Okemos June 16 at Michigan State University in the D-1 state championship game.

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Published June 15, 2012

Utica Stevenson’s softball season came to an end in heartbreaking fashion June 12. The Titans fell 5-4 to White Lake Lakeland in a Division 1 state quarterfinal at Madison Heights Bishop Foley despite breaking a 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh and taking a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

“It was a great game,” Stevenson coach Tony Misuraca said. “Both teams gave each other some runs in the seventh. Give them credit: They put the ball in play.”

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Published June 15, 2012

Warren Woods Tower’s softball season came to an end following a loss to St. Clair Shores Lakeview 7-2 in the championship game of the district tournament June 4.

Tower defeated Roseville 10-2 earlier in the day to advance to the championship round of the tournament.

Their season may be over, but not before the Titans laid claim to a fourth consecutive league championship after winning the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title.

Tower coach Lance Sell appreciates the effort his team put forth in order to realize its goal.

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Published June 12, 2012

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Utica Stevenson’s softball team’s lead disappeared just as quickly as it materialized. And just like that, with a bad case of déjà vu, the Titans were knocked out of the state tournament.

Stevenson fell 5-4 to White Lake Lakeland in a Division 1 state quarterfinal June 12 at Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

The game was tied 2-2 entering the seventh inning. The Titans were up first and brought two runners home on a bunt by junior shortstop Andrea Deneweth to take a 4-2 lead.

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Published June 6, 2012

TROY — It’s as if he knew the question was coming, like a power hitter facing a 3-0 fastball with the green light to swing.

So when asked how long it had been since Troy Athens had last won a district title, the question was hardly complete when softball coach Dave Marr answered emphatically, “1997. A long time.”

Some 15 years in the making, the Red Hawks are officially marching on to the regional round of the 2012 Division 1 softball tournament.

All year, Marr has talked about his team, its potential and just what he thought was possible.

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Published June 1, 2012


The Titans did so by winning the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title, which was their fourth consecutive league championship.

On the other side of town, Fitzgerald won the MAC Silver championship, and coach Rich Smith believes it is the first league title a softball team has won at the school since 1970. To the best of Smith’s knowledge, the Spartans record of 21-8 also gives them the most wins in program history.

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