Rochester Adams sophomore second baseman Brynna Garden (13) is greeted at home by her teammates after hitting a home run against Rochester Hills Stoney Creek June 2. Garden and the Highlanders finished the season at 27-10 overall and with an OAA White Division title.

Rochester Adams sophomore second baseman Brynna Garden (13) is greeted at home by her teammates after hitting a home run against Rochester Hills Stoney Creek June 2. Garden and the Highlanders finished the season at 27-10 overall and with an OAA White Division title.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Adams softball coach reflects on successful rebound

By: Timothy Pontzer | Rochester Post | Published June 19, 2018

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ROCHESTER HILLS — In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Rochester Adams softball team combined for 26 victories.

The 2018 campaign topped that total, as it saw Adams go 27-10 overall with an 11-1 finish in the Oakland Activities Association White Division to win a league title. It marked the most wins for the program since 2004, and the first winning record and division crown since 2014.

When asked what sparked the turnaround, longtime Adams coach Fran Scislowicz pointed to the top of his lineup. A group he dubbed the “core four” featured junior center fielder Mary Nash as the leadoff hitter, sophomore second baseman Brynna Garden, junior pitcher/third baseman Emma Curran and junior pitcher/first baseman Sarah Judis.

All four earned First Team All-League, All-District and All-Regional honors. Curran and Judis combined for the majority of the 27 victories from the circle.

“They made my job much, much easier,” Scislowicz said with a laugh. “They are four really good players. It’s been years since we’ve had four kids earn All-League, All-District and All-Regional. It’s quite an accomplishment for them, and we got to 27 (wins) because those guys really performed at the top of the order.”

Scislowicz recalled an early stretch of the season when his squad found success and started to believe.

“We beat Farmington (High) 2-1 early in the year. They were a co-favorite with Rochester (High) to win the White,” Scislowicz explained. “Later on we beat Rochester. It was amazing to see how they took that mentally and got on a bit of a roll. They started to believe and kept it going for the rest of the season. Once you get a little momentum like that, it can do wonders.”

Adams returned six starters, filling in the rest of the lineup with freshman catcher/first baseman Andrea Waack, catcher/third baseman Ava Andreshak and left fielder Elizabeth Blaine.

“The really interesting part of our year was that we started three freshmen and two sophomores,” Scislowicz said. “When you start three 14-year-olds against 18-year-olds, you never know what’s going to happen. Our team did a really good job with a nice blend of young and old. I thought we would be competitive, but since we were so young I had no vision of getting above 20 (wins).”

With the influx of youth, Scislowicz praised his senior captain in Christina Churay. Along with outfielder Alexa Fenchak, Churay was the only senior on the team.

A two-year captain, Churay completed three seasons on varsity in right field, leading both on and off the field for the Highlanders.

“(Churay) handled so many things, plenty of which I could never do,” Scislowicz said. “She was outstanding in so many ways. She had a very solid year in right field. She was a hard worker that not only brought it on the field, but made sure to always be there for her teammates.”

Rounding out the starting lineup was sophomore shortstop Nicole Claerhout. Scislowicz gave Claerhout high marks at a position he called crucial for a winning club.

“(Claerhout) brought it every game and practice,” Scislowicz said. “I expect big things from my shortstop, and she did a great job of keeping the mistakes down and being someone we could count on.”

While the season ended with a 2-1 loss to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in a Division 1 district final June 2, Scislowicz said there was much to be proud of and look forward to for the program.

“Honestly, I value a league title over a district. It only takes two games in a single day to win a district, while you need to be good for 12 games to win the league,” said Scislowicz, who just completed his 31st season at the helm of the Highlanders. “We return 11 kids and nine of them are playing summer ball, so that bodes well for the future. As coaches, we’re really excited to bring those pieces back.”

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