Published May 29, 2012

SOUTHFIELD — It’s his own prognosis, and at very best, Ken Brown has two weeks remaining on the job.

What’s more, he’s fine with it.

After 30 years on the job, the Southfield Christian softball coach decided earlier this season that this spring would be his last at the helm.

It’s a decision he made comfortably, has embraced all season, and by his own admission, has enjoyed playing out.

Now, though, he’s getting a little greedy.

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Published May 29, 2012

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — With the return of nearly the entire team from last season, Birmigham Seaholm softball coach Bill Schuerman has seen the improvement in his squad.

At press time, the Maples were 25-7 and 8-2 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. They are doing much of their damage from the plate.

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Published May 22, 2012

TROY — Anticipation for the playoffs is often season-long.

Conference games, tournaments and random Wednesday night road trips all serve as preparation for the do-or-die format brought about by the brackets.

Anticipation for longtime rivals to get things going in the Troy Athens softball district, however, won’t be required.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Troy High skipper Tom Calnen said of his playoff opener, a noon start June 2 against Athens in one semifinal. “I expect both teams to be ready to go in this one.”

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Published May 11, 2012

FRASER — As the regular season winds down, the Roseville High softball team is looking ahead to the postseason.

Preparing to face first-place Fraser High in a May 8 Macomb Area Conference Blue Division game, the Panthers talked about shifting their focus to the state playoffs, which begin May 29 across the state.

“I’d just like to see the team really work together and prepare for districts, because that’s where I think we’ll really start to shine,” Roseville senior pitcher Amanda Schankin said.

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Published May 9, 2012

ROCHESTER — Less than four years ago, Laura Guzman was still a softball player.

Roaming the outfield at Wayne State University, she was putting the final touches on a career that started at Royal Oak Dondero and eventually moved to Madison Heights Bishop Foley before the collegiate game came calling.

Now 25, Guzman’s experiences within the game have come somewhat full circle in a short amount of time, which the first-year Rochester High coach is using to her advantage.

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Published May 7, 2012

Heading into the second half of league play and the final stretch of the regular season, the Chippewa Valley softball team has some work to do.

“It’s getting better. It’s just not where we want it to be,” coach Dave Prestininzi said.

The Big Reds were 5-8 overall and 0-6 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time.

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Published May 4, 2012

WARREN — Shortstop and catcher Taylor Verbic is the only senior on the Warren Regina softball team.

The Saddlelites’ roster comprises Verbic, four freshmen, four sophomores and seven juniors. That youth is evident at times, according to longtime coach Diane Laffey, but she believes the young team will improve as the season goes along.

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Published May 2, 2012

Dakota coach Rick Fontaine has a simple plan outlined to keep the Cougars competitive as the softball season enters the final stretch: keep scoring runs and cut the opposition’s runs in half.

“Right now, we are giving up more than four runs a game,” Fontaine said. “I would like that number to be cut in half. As we continue to play (Macomb Area Conference) Red games and approach districts, we cannot expect to outscore opponents in every game.”

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Published May 1, 2012

STERLING HEIGHTS — Utica Eisenhower softball coach Vince Alessandrini likes the direction his team is headed at the halfway point of the season.


That’s because the Eagles, which lost seven seniors from a squad that won the Macomb Area Conference White Division before advancing to the district finals, have been picking up steam as this season progresses.

“It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish,” Alessandrini said.

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Published May 1, 2012

Center Line’s softball team knows what it wants.

For the Panthers, the 2012 season is about going out and trying to get it.

Last season, Center Line’s season ended with an 8-7 loss to Country Day in the first round of the district tournament — a game that was decided in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Coach Ron Thomas isn’t sure exactly when Center Line won its last district title, but in his 12 seasons with the squad, he has yet to hoist a district trophy.

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Published April 23, 2012

Last season, softball’s Macomb Area Conference Gold Division belonged to Warren Woods Tower.

Prior to last year, Tower won the MAC Silver two consecutive seasons, and when they were moved to the Gold Division in 2011, the Titans proceeded to pick up where they left off, winning another league title.

One of the teams that will be vying to end Tower’s dynasty of league titles is Madison Heights Lamphere, which was 3-1 at press time.

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Published April 18, 2012

FARMINGTON HILLS — Assessing a true contender can sometime be a difficult, if not impossible, task.

It’s even more puzzling without sufficient game evidence to back up or refute a claim as to just how good a team may be.

But Dave Marr thinks he knows what he’s got in 2012.

And the Troy Athens softball coach didn’t hesitate for a second before calling his squad a contender in the Oakland Activities Association White Division this spring.

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Published April 18, 2012

BEVERLY HILLS — He’s essentially a benchwarmer now.

His days actively pacing the base paths have all but ended.

He’s using a more hands-off approach to the art of coaching.

And Ken Brown loves it.

“Taking it all in, just enjoying everything I can,” the long-time Southfield Christian softball skipper said before an April 13 doubleheader at Beverly Hills Groves. “My assistants handle the pre-game. And during the game, I’m not at third base anymore. I like to be on the bench, be part of it from over here.”

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Published April 13, 2012

Last year was difficult for Madison High’s softball team, as the Eagles finished 7-16 and were not much of a factor in the race for a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.

Madison (0-1) will have an opportunity to start fresh in 2012, and the Eagles would like to re-establish a winning tradition for the school’s softball program.

As a senior, Natichsha White is in her final season with the Eagles, and before she hangs up her uniform, she would like to be part of a Madison team that has the opportunity to celebrate its fair share of victories.

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Published April 10, 2012

LATHRUP VILLAGE — New Southfield-Lathrup softball coach Akilah Evans isn’t shy about her love for softball and taking over the program.

“This is my passion. I’m trying to instill that into the team, and it’s been awesome,” she said as practice wrapped up April 4. “I’m really looking forward to the things that we’re beginning to build here for years to come. I’m really excited.”

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Published April 10, 2012

TROY — By the law of averages, Tom Calnen knows he’s due for a dud of a season.

He admitted it with a hearty laugh during an April 4 practice.

Success can’t be sustained this consistently from one year to the next, can it?

“I’m telling you, one of these times, it’s just not going to be our year. We’re going to struggle, and we’re going to lay an egg in the district opener,” he said smiling. “It’s bound to happen, right? We’ve just avoided it so far.”

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Published March 28, 2012

Last season, softball’s Macomb Area Conference Gold Division belonged to Warren Woods Tower.

Prior to last year, the Titans won the MAC Silver two consecutive seasons, and when they were moved to the Gold Division in 2011, they proceeded to pick up where they left off by winning another league title.

Plenty of teams in the MAC Gold will be looking to end Tower’s dynasty of league titles, but the one with the best shot of doing it may be Grosse Pointe South.

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Published March 28, 2012

Last season, South Lake’s softball team came within one run of capturing a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, they were on the wrong side of that one run, as it was the Abes of Warren Lincoln who walked off the field as the 2011 MAC Silver champions.

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Published December 27, 2011

TROY — The hard work was done.

The bags were packed, and a collection that would warm the soul, not to mention the bodies, of some of the most needy in the area was complete.

Now, Tom Calnen and some members of his Troy High softball team stood knocking on a door, yet no one answered.

“The girls looked at me like I was crazy,” he said with a laugh last week. “I knew we were in the right place. We had all these clothes to donate, but nobody would answer.”

Calnen was in the right place — sort of.

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Published July 27, 2011

TROY — For all the special players he’s coached during his time at Troy High, Tom Calnen can usually refer back to one memory or instant where he realized exactly the uniqueness he was working with.

When it comes to recent grad Lynsey Mukomel, his mind wandered to the playoff run of 2008, when a freshman who had split time between the junior varsity and varsity most of the season stepped in the batter’s box in the late stages of a district game against Utica High.

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