Center Line High sophomore pitcher Emma Hastings looks to make a play during a win over Madison Heights Lamphere earlier this season. At press time, the Panthers had outscored opponents 169-24 on their way to a 14-0 record.

Center Line High sophomore pitcher Emma Hastings looks to make a play during a win over Madison Heights Lamphere earlier this season. At press time, the Panthers had outscored opponents 169-24 on their way to a 14-0 record.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Center Line High softball firing on all cylinders

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published May 20, 2019

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Center Line High went on to win the MAC Gold, finishing 12-0 in the division. 

CENTER LINE — This year’s edition of the Center Line High softball team is full of youth, with just four seniors leading a collection of freshmen and sophomores.

But the Panthers have shown that youth doesn’t necessarily lead to a lack of success.

At press time, the Panthers were 14-0 overall and 9-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division. Center Line has a chance to win its first division title in more than 20 years.

“I guess it’s just teamwork,” Panthers coach Ron Thomas said. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work, a lot of hours. They’re great kids to work with. We’ve got a lot of travel players too. They all mesh well together. They all believe in each other.”

That belief has carried over to the diamond.

The Panthers have outscored opponents 169-24. Center Line has scored in double digits in all but three of its games. Nine of the team’s wins have come by at least 10 runs.

“We’ve got a team full of good hitters,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a lot of players with high softball IQs. They know how to run the bases and get runs across the plate. We work on lots of things that all come into play in our games. When you have kids who want to play, a team can do a lot of things.”

The team has recorded seven shutout wins. Center Line’s pitching has been outstanding, Thomas said, led by sophomore hurlers Emma Hastings and Emma Lautenbach.

Thomas, who has led Center Line to six district titles in the last seven seasons, said that once the team was able to hit the diamond, he could tell there was potential for a special season.

“When you’re working in the gym, you can do some things, but not a lot,” Thomas said. “When we were able to get outside, I could see that they were for real. We worked on some things, tweaked some things, and everything fell into place. It’s been awesome to see.”    

Even with that potential, Thomas makes sure the players don’t look too far ahead.

Winning another district title is a goal, Thomas said, but that’s not something that is discussed frequently.

“We don’t want them looking too far ahead,” Thomas said. “We just try to take care of that particular day’s business. If you look past an opponent, you can get into trouble.

“I give the kids all the credit for the success we’re having. They’re working hard, through bruises and being banged up. They’re awesome.”

Center Line’s next game is against Madison Heights Bishop Foley at 6 p.m. May 22 on the road.

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