Clinton Township Clintondale sophomore infielder/pitcher Jazmine Myers reaches  out to make a tag during an April 12 win over Sterling Heights Parkway Christian.  The Dragons’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 4:30 p.m. April 24 on the road.

Clinton Township Clintondale sophomore infielder/pitcher Jazmine Myers reaches out to make a tag during an April 12 win over Sterling Heights Parkway Christian. The Dragons’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 4:30 p.m. April 24 on the road.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Clintondale softball coach thinks team has pieces to challenge

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 22, 2019

 Clintondale junior outfielder Laila Ali-Khan wipes her hands after  crossing home plate against Parkway Christian. At press time, the Dragons had scored 80 runs on their way to a 5-1 start.

Clintondale junior outfielder Laila Ali-Khan wipes her hands after crossing home plate against Parkway Christian. At press time, the Dragons had scored 80 runs on their way to a 5-1 start.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A fast start by the Clinton Township Clintondale softball team has the team on pace to record more wins this spring than in the last two seasons combined, but coach Jim Steffler still sees room for improvement.

“I think we’re playing well, but we’re still not playing our best softball,” said Steffler, whose team sat at 5-1 at press time. 

The team won eight games total in 2017 and 2018.

“We talk about getting better every day and every play. The girls are committed to not being satisfied with ‘good enough,’” the coach added. “If they stay committed, we’ll do well this season.”

Play at the plate is the major reason behind the team’s hot start. The Dragons have averaged 16 runs per game.

Even with the big numbers, Clintondale already has two come-from-behind wins.

The Dragons’ pitching will need to improve if the team is to be a factor this spring. Clintondale has allowed 54 runs thus far. 

“We’re always working on fundamentals: making sure we’re swinging at good pitches, throwing strikes and making outs we should make,” Steffler said. “If we do those things, the wins should come.”

Leading the way are senior outfielder Alyssia Slezga and infielder Jenna Mathison, who Steffler said have earned the respect of their teammates and coaches. Sophomore pitcher Jazmine Myers anchors the Dragons rotation. Sophomore catcher Sara Armet, junior outfielder Laila Ali-Khan and junior infielder Lauren McDonald, are expected to contribute too.

Clintondale hopes to challenge for a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title. The program’s last league championship came in 2015. That’s also the last time the Dragons won a district title and a program-record 21 games.

New Haven High has won the last three MAC Silver titles. The division is bigger this time around, as the MAC Bronze is now combined with the MAC Silver. The division now comprises Clawson High, Eastpointe High, Madison Heights Madison, Warren Lincoln, Warren Fitzgerald, St. Clair Shores South Lake and Clintondale.

“We’ll have our hands full playing against well-coached teams,” Steffler said. “I think our team has some special players. We’re excited to be the coaches of the Lady Dragons, and our outlook is very favorable.”

Clintondale’s next game is against Fitzgerald at 4:30 p.m. April 24 on the road.

Call Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at (586) 498-1038. Follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports.

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