Clinton Township Clintondale’s Christina Kramer watches the ball fly after making contact in a game earlier this season against Sterling Heights Parkway Christian. The Dragons went 11-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division to claim the title.

Clinton Township Clintondale’s Christina Kramer watches the ball fly after making contact in a game earlier this season against Sterling Heights Parkway Christian. The Dragons went 11-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division to claim the title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Clintondale softball captures division championship

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 30, 2019

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Following a historic 2015 campaign that saw the team set a school record for wins and win its first district title in 20 years, the Clinton Township Clintondale softball team struggled.

The Dragons finished 1-16 in 2017 and 7-12 in 2018.

Despite those less than ideal seasons, Clintondale coach Jim Steffler was optimistic coming into this season, saying he believed the team had the pieces in place for a strong run.

The Dragons lived up to their coach’s expectations. The team finished 11-1 in Macomb Area Conference Silver Division play to capture a division championship. Heading into the state playoffs, Clintondale had an overall mark of 16-4.

“The last four years have seen the program in a difficult transitional state,” Steffler said. “We went from league and district champion in 2015 to winning one game in 2017. It’s been a long climb back.

“(Our coaches) have been preaching constant improvement and working hard in the offseason. The vast majority of our players are multi-sport athletes, and I think that helps. It feels amazing to help these kids realize one of their goals.”

The Dragons’ proficiency in all phases of the game has led to the turnaround.

At press time, Clintondale had scored 272 runs — good for 13.6 per game. The Dragons had allowed less than half that number (6.2) per game.

In MAC Silver play, Clintondale outscored its opponents 185-43.

Steffler said it’s his players’ commitment to three pillars — hustle, loyalty and respect — that pushed the team to the top of the MAC Silver. Seniors Alyssa Szeliga and Jenna Mathison captain the team.

The coach said the team has received contributions from several spots up and down its lineup. Players such as Jellisa Knight, Leila Ali Khan, Christina Kramer and Serenity Rybicki have all come up with clutch hits at various points this season. Cleanup hitter Lauren McDonald leads the team in batting average and home runs.

Sophomore pitcher Jazmine Myers and sophomore catcher Sara Armet have combined to be a dominant pair, Steffler said. Clintondale has recorded three shutout wins and has held five other opponents to two runs or less. Freshman hurler Kassidy Sackett stepped in at points to take some of the pressure off Myers, Steffler said.

“Freshmen and sophomores form a major part of our team,” Steffler said. “The future is bright for the Dragons.”

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