Chippewa Valley softball coach to attempt to lead program back to championship form

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published March 21, 2016

 Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior Cherie Allard is pictured at a recent softball practice. The Big Reds’ season opener is scheduled for March 31.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior Cherie Allard is pictured at a recent softball practice. The Big Reds’ season opener is scheduled for March 31.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The last time Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s softball team won a title, current head coach Claire Cannon was suiting up as a player for the program.

The last division championship came in 2007, when the program won the Macomb Area Conference Red Division  with a 12-0 record, finishing with an overall record of 31-3.

The season prior to that, Chippewa won both division and district championships.

Cannon’s ambition is to turn Chippewa, which currently competes in the MAC White, back into a championship program.

“I’ve always known Chippewa Valley to have a winning tradition,” she said. “When I was there, I was on winning teams. To win a championship, to get back to being the best again, that’s what Chippewa Valley’s all about. That’s what I expect. It would be great. I know the girls are capable of it. We have a very strong work ethic at Chippewa Valley. I’m expecting to get back up there. We’re on our way.”

Cannon will have some experienced players to help her attempt to reach that goal, as she said the program only lost two players from last season’s squad.

Two of Chippewa’s returning players are senior captains Kristin Naidus and Laura Miller. Naidus is a catcher, while Miller will help take care of the pitching duties.

Cannon said her captains are doing a “phenomenal job as leaders.”

With Maddie Mystkowski at second base, strength up the middle could be one of Chippewa’s best weapons.

“I’m feeling really good about it,” Cannon said of the upcoming season. “Last year we were about .500, placed fourth in the MAC White. We started the season off tremendously well,  and hit a slump and couldn’t recover. But we have most of the team coming back. We did have six freshmen last year. Now they have a year under their belt, a little bit more confidence, and we have some great, amazing upperclassmen leading us. I’m feeling really confident about this season.”

Like her coach, Naidus would like for Chippewa to aim for division and district titles, and return the program back to championship form.

“It would mean a lot,” Naidus said. “We’re so young and we have so much talent that has come up this past year. To win the MAC White — I think we can do it. We’ve got a really good shot this year. Our overall goal should be to go for those titles and try to get our team back to where coach Cannon wants it.”

Cannon cited pitching and clutch hitting as a couple of the key components for Chippewa to make this season a championship one.

She is enthusiastic to see how it all comes together when Chippewa officially gets its 2016 campaign underway.

“I’m really excited,” Cannon said. “We’re ready to rock and roll. We’ve been going all winter, so I think they’re pretty excited to show what they’ve accomplished.”

Chippewa’s season opener is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 31 at home against Fraser High.

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