Berkley High softball filled with youth and exuberance

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published April 12, 2011

 Though just a sophomore, Berkley High’s Madelyn Oliver is a captain looking to lead the Bears.

Though just a sophomore, Berkley High’s Madelyn Oliver is a captain looking to lead the Bears.

Photo by Deb Jacques


BERKLEY — For Berkley High softball coach Ken DePerro, the weather is a test for more than just the field his squad plays on.

“One of the big things is, this weather has been awful and (the team) doesn’t complain. They don’t complain as much as I do,” DePerro said with a laugh. “I think they want to play, and I think that’s a key for any athlete. We’ve got a bunch of young ladies that want to play, want to be here and want to work.”

Sophomore captain Madelyn Oliver echoed those sentiments.

“It doesn’t matter what the conditions are as long as we’re out here playing, having a good time,” she said.

The Bears are plenty young. They have three returning starters, but only four players with varsity experience, and they carry three freshmen and two sophomores on the roster.

“The inexperience is something they have to grow through. We understand that, and we’ve explained to them that, ‘You know what, when you’re overmatched by an 18-year-old pitcher and you’re 14 years old, it’s going to happen.’

“We want them to understand that they’re on the varsity because they belong here, and some days are going to be tougher than others.”

A freshman on varsity last season, Oliver is there to help ease the transition.

“We’re a super young team, but if we all play to our potential, we’ll be able to compete, for sure,” she said. “I don’t think age matters. We’re just as good as anyone else.”

DePerro said the players are quickly understanding what is expected of them.

“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and years ago, we determined our goal is to get better every day, and that’s how we coach,” he said. “Every day we try to work a little harder, get a little better and do something that kind of sticks out. I really contend that wins and losses take care of themselves.”

Last season, Berkley finished 12-22 overall. This year, the Bears moved from the Oakland Activities Association White Division to the Blue and expect to contend for the title. For it to happen, they’re implementing an aggressive game style.

“I think that’s the way to play the game — to put pressure on the other team’s defense — and to do that, you have to run a little, fake run and do things that make the other team think,” he said. “If they make mistakes, hopefully, we can capitalize on them.”

Bears for a cause
Berkley is hosting a breast cancer fundraiser against Rochester Adams at 4:30 p.m. April 18 at Community Field. There will be shirts and bake goods for sale to help raise money.