Softball

Published June 3, 2017

C&G Newspapers

UTICA — Macomb Dakota junior infielder Arieanna Grammatica was a member of last year's team that advanced all the way to the Division 1 state title game, but she didn't see much in-game action.

With her team down to its last out and trailing Utica Ford II 4-3 in a June 3 district final, Grammatica made a huge contribution, making contact on a pitch that would drive in the two winning runs in the Cougars' 5-4 win. Grammatica — who made contact with two strikes — reached on an error that allowed the runs to score.

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Published June 2, 2017

C&G Newspapers

ROSEVILLE — A big fourth inning powered the St. Clair Shores Lake Shore softball team past Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse 6-3 in a June 2 district title game and to regionals for the first time since 2014.

A three-run home run from Elizabeth Gatto and a solo shot from Mackenzie Maison put the Shorians up 4-0 after the fourth inning. Maison's shot over the center field wall proved to be the difference, as the Lancers got one run in the fifth and two in the seventh before Lake Shore pitcher Sarah Ratledge closed the door.

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Published May 30, 2017

AUBURN HILLS — When asked to compare Rebekah Crane to a past player from the program’s annals, Mike Tison can only bring up names from the mid-’80s.

Tison, the coach of the Auburn Hills Oakland Christian softball team, praised the junior pitcher for leading on and off the diamond.

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Published May 24, 2017

TROY — With the season winding down and the playoffs on the horizon, the Troy High softball team was engaged in a serious bowling match.

The May 19 trip to the lanes was designed by coach Tom Calnen, looking to take the team’s mind off of softball.

“They just needed to get away from the dirt and focus on why we like each other and the game,” Calnen said. “We’re committed to two very tough weeks of practice and playing, and I wanted to make sure that the kids are mentally in the right spot headed into districts.”

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Published May 23, 2017

ROCHESTER HILLS — After struggling through two seasons in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, the Rochester High softball team moved to the White this year.

The Falcons made the most of the transfer, going 12-0 in league play to earn a division title.

Rochester coach Laura Guzman is proud to capture a banner, saying her team earned it through hard work and believing in one another.

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Published May 23, 2017

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett softball coach Jim Schmidt has been around the game for more than 40 years, and he considers senior Emma St. John to be among the best high school pitchers he has ever seen.

Facts help to back up Schmidt’s high opinion of St. John’s talents.

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Published May 22, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — They were semifinalists two years ago.

Then in 2016, the girls on the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team put it all together and took the next step, winning the Division 1 state championship.

So, just what’s in store for the 2017 edition?

We’re about to find out.

After winning it all last spring and then going through a major roster turnover, the Marlins appear ready for another run toward East Lansing — if a lot of things fall into place, as coach Alec Lesko put it.

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Published May 19, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Based on current trends, this could be a very fruitful spring for local softball teams.

When the state playoffs begin May 30, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore — which has received votes in the most recent Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Division 1 rankings — will play for its first district title since 2014. St. Clair Shores Lakeview will vie for a sixth straight D-1 district crown, and St. Clair Shores South Lake will play for a school-record fourth consecutive D-2 district championship.

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Published May 18, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — In addition to a tough Macomb Area Conference Blue Division slate, the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse softball team has faced off against some stiff competition with the hopes of being primed and ready to go for the playoffs.

The Lancers — who were 16-6 overall and 7-0 in the MAC Blue at press time — have played in three multiday tournaments this season. The team has faced the likes of Warren Regina, Clarkston High, Anchor Bay High and Utica Eisenhower.

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Published May 17, 2017

SOUTHFIELD — On a warm and sunny Monday afternoon, the Southfield Christian softball team was out to snap a five-game losing skid.

But in a date with Auburn Hills Oakland Christian May 15, the Eagles allowed six unearned runs and stranded two runners in scoring position in what was an eventual 6-2 loss.

The game was a microcosm of the season so far, as co-coach Ken Brown put it.

And he said so with a ton of optimism.

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Published May 17, 2017

ROSEVILLE — After a successful stint as the school’s girls basketball coach, Cliff Piper has returned to guide Roseville High’s softball program.

“It was a very surprising last-minute hire,” said Piper, whose team sat at 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division at press time. “The last coach has resigned, and it just worked out that I was available.”

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Published May 16, 2017

STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Stevenson softball team has been flexing its muscles at the plate.

At press time, the Titans had outscored opponents 90-38, helping them reach a 10-6 overall mark and 2-4 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division. 

Senior leadoff hitter Shannon Carr — who has committed to Oakland University — leads the way, hitting .647. Senior Amber Huntley (.500), sophomores Bri Platz (.500) and Dana Vitale (.465), and senior Hayley Bryce (.353) are also making their marks at the plate. 

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Published May 16, 2017

For all Madison Heights Bishop Foley’s softball program has accomplished in recent seasons, which includes nine district championships since 2004, coach John Ploskonka wants more.

According to Ploskonka, the Ventures haven’t won the Catholic High School League playoffs since 1978, and that is an experience he wants to be a part of during his tenure with the program.

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Published May 16, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — Dave Brubaker has two seniors on his North Farmington softball team.

One has been battling injury this season and limited to courtesy running for the most part; the other is a hockey player by trade, but gave softball a shot this spring.

“Needless to say, we’re a very young team,” Brubaker said with a laugh last week. “Almost every time out, we don’t have a senior in the starting lineup.”

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Published May 16, 2017

Grosse Pointe North softball coach Ron Smith said the state of his program is the best it’s been in at least a decade.

“The reason I say that is the talent we have from all our JV and varsity combined,” Smith said. “We haven’t had that (much) talent here in a long time.”

Like her coach, Rebecca Alway also likes the look of the Norsemen’s squad.

“I think we really have a special team this year,” the junior pitcher said. “We’re so young, yet everyone knows how to play, and how to play well.”

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Published May 12, 2017

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The ride has been bumpy to this point, but with a little luck and a little consistency, Brandy Wilson believes she has a softball team capable of turning things around.

Now it’s on her and her West Bloomfield High squad to do just that.

“This could be a good team,” the coach said last week. “The main thing for us right now is finding that consistent play and consistent effort. That’s what’s slowed us down to this point.”

At press time, the Lakers were 2-6 overall.

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Published May 11, 2017

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Come late May, Macomb Lutheran North softball coach Duane Anger said his team will play in the toughest Division 2 district it has played in over the last six or seven years.

The Mustangs (7-7 overall and 5-7 in the Catholic High School League Intersectional I Division, at press time) play in a district May 30 hosted by Auburn Hills Avondale.

The field also includes Armada High, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Richmond High.

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Published May 9, 2017

ROCHESTER HILLS — As the saying goes, 'April showers bring May flowers.'

For the Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest softball team it is a little different, with those April downpours bringing a busy May schedule.

Due to multiple games, series and doubleheaders being washed away, the Crusaders hope to complete 13 contests in the next three weeks.

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Published May 5, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake softball coach Dave Ahearn has guided his team to three straight Division 2 district championships. A fourth consecutive postseason title would tie Ahearn with the man who hired him — former Cavaliers coach Don Frederick, who accomplished the feat in the 1990s.

Ahearn and Frederick are both South Lake alums. The possibility of another district title is top of mind for Ahearn, too.

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Published May 5, 2017

STERLING HEIGHTS — When the Macomb Area Conference created a sixth division this year, it was met with high approval from Steve Schiesel.

As the coach of the Sterling Heights High softball team, Schiesel appreciates how the MAC’s 35 member schools are now evenly spread out, creating fair competition in each division.

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