Bloomfield Hills High junior infielder Olivia Lucia looks to throw a runner out May 2 in a home game against Berkley High.

Bloomfield Hills High junior infielder Olivia Lucia looks to throw a runner out May 2 in a home game against Berkley High.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Bloomfield Hills High softball preparing for elite May schedule

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 6, 2019

Advertisement

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Bloomfield Hills High softball team has channeled its situational hitting and ability to move runners around the base paths to a strong start in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

At press time, the squad was 8-0 in league play.

The Black Hawks have been led by a core group of juniors who have been with the team since freshman year. Coach Dan Whitmire said his juniors have been able to understand the game more and more with each year spent in the program.

Junior infielder Olivia Lucia boasts a .679 batting average, a 1.107 slugging percentage and a 1.826 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Lucia leads the team in all of those categories and has recorded 18 RBIs in 32 plate appearances.

“Olivia is very important, obviously, batting in that (No. 4) slot,” Whitmire said. “Her goal is to get the runners in, and the girls in front of her, their goal is to get on base because they know that Olivia can hit them in.”

Whitmire also praised Lucia’s ability in the field, adding that she understands the game and instantly knows what to do with the ball if it’s hit to her at third base.

Another standout player has been Hannah Kelly. The junior infielder has a .517 batting average with 13 RBIs. She has paired that with a healthy 1.0 slugging percentage and a 1.416 OPS.

“They put the ball in play when needed,” Whitmire said about Lucia and Kelly. “They’re good players.”

As the calendar makes its way into May and the weather starts to change for the better, the Black Hawks will be battling against opponents equipped to give them everything they can handle.

Opponents in the month of May include Berkley High, West Bloomfield High, Birmingham Seaholm, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Birmingham Groves.

Seaholm and Groves finished at 12-2 and 13-1 in league play last year, respectively. West Bloomfield also finished at 12-2 in the Blue last season, while Berkley High is new to the division after dropping down from the OAA White.

To top it all off, Prep was 12-3 playing an independent schedule.

At 10-5 overall, the Black Hawks have only won two non-league games. Whitmire crafted a hard non-league slate with the intention that the experience would pay off for his players in the long run.

Whitmire said he hopes his team has learned that it can’t make defensive mistakes, giving good teams extra at-bats.

“That’s been a good lesson to learn,” he said.

But the necessary improvements don’t stop there.

“I have two solid pitchers that have been with me since their freshman year, and I have another one that’s a freshman,” Whitmire said. “I think minimizing the walks in unnecessary situations and having that confidence to make plays in the field (is important). But everything is defense. We can hit the ball.”

If all those improvements are to be made, the Black Hawks have a chance of accomplishing their goal.

“Our No. 1 goal is to win the league,” Whitmire said. “We’ve kind of put ourselves in that position now.”

Advertisement