Softball

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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Published May 5, 2017

MADISON HEIGHTS — In many ways, this season could already be considered a success for the Madison Heights Madison softball team.

At press time, the Eagles were 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division, putting them just one game back from division leader Warren Fitzgerald.

Madison’s two wins have already matched its win total from last season (2-17 overall).

Coach George Barndollar wants more for his program, including a division championship, which could attract more players to the team in the future.

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Published May 3, 2017

FRASER — Fraser High softball coach Matt Fishburn said it has been too long since the program won a district championship.

Although the Ramblers won a division title as recently as 2012, the program’s last Division 1 district championship came in 2000.

With Fraser hosting a district tournament later this season, Fishburn hopes this is the year the program can break through and win a postseason title.

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Published May 3, 2017

ROYAL OAK — Erica Hayworth inherited a talented group of players when the first-year skipper took over the Royal Oak High softball program.

So, before the first day of practice was ever held, she had a certain expectation for herself and her new team.

So far, the Ravens haven’t disappointed.

“We’ve expected everything that’s happened,” Hayworth said last week. “We’re a young team, but we’re also a very good team.”

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Published May 2, 2017

It was just two seasons ago that Grosse Pointe South’s softball program finished 12-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division and 29-6 overall.

Although there have been some struggles since then — as South finished 2-10 in the MAC Blue last year (15-19 overall), and at press time was 0-3 in division play (5-9 overall) this season — coach Bill Fleming said “we’d like to get our title back this year.”

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Published April 28, 2017

WARREN — Last season, Warren Cousino’s softball program won its first Division 1 district championship since 2007.

Perhaps even more impressive than the feat itself was the team the Patriots beat to earn their district title.

Aside from being the defending state champion, Warren Regina was riding a streak of at least 16 consecutive district titles, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

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Published April 28, 2017

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Sitting in his office following an April 26 loss, Clinton Township Clintondale softball coach Jim Steffler lets out a heavy sigh.

He is not upset by the defeat, which moved his club to 0-3 at press time and 0-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. Instead, he is dismayed by an injury update.

“I just found out that my best player, our top pitcher, could potentially be out for the season,” Steffler said.

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Published April 26, 2017

Although Liana Easterby is in just her first year as Berkley High’s softball coach, she entered the position with plenty of familiarity with the program.

Easterby was an assistant to Megan Colligan for the past four seasons.

After Colligan left the Berkley School District to pursue an opportunity in the special education field, Easterby was given the opportunity to lead the Bears, with Colligan remaining with the program as an assistant.

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Published April 25, 2017

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s softball program has advanced at least as far as the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs each of the last four years.

The Knights are once again proving themselves to be capable of making a deep playoff run.

At press time, Liggett was the No. 2 ranked team in Division 3 according to the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association, behind only Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.

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Published April 18, 2017

ROCHESTER HILLS — Tom Hayman has a short commute to work.

The second-year coach of the Rochester Hills Stoney Creek softball team, Hayman exits the front door of the home he has owned for a decade and briskly walks for 45 seconds, arriving at the Cougars’ home dugout.

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