Farmington Hills Mercy softball takes D-1 state crown

Marlins beat Macomb Dakota 4-0 in final

By: Christian Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published June 18, 2016

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EAST LANSING — Farmington Hills Mercy pitcher Andrea Elmore threw a third strike, good for the third out and the program’s first softball state championship.

The Marlins beat Macomb Dakota 4-0 June 18 in the Division 1 final at Michigan State University.

Following the third strike, the mitts that had treated Mercy so well were tossed in the air and the celebration began.

“It feels so great. I’m so glad we were able to do this for our school and for each other,” Mercy’s Nicole Belans said.

The win also marked a moment of redemption for Mercy. The Marlins lost in last year’s state semifinal, and that was always close on their minds.

“I really wish we could have done this last year for (the seniors) too, but this year we were a really close team. I consider them my sisters,” Elmore said. “Just getting to do this one last time, it’s the last day … it’s amazing to find a way to come out and get a win.”

Mercy struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning after an RBI triple from Sophia VanAcker drove in Anna Dixon.

Dakota threatened in the bottom of fourth, putting runners on second and third with one out, but Elmore was able to get a strikeout and pop fly in order to end the inning. She finished the complete-game shutout with five strikeouts and allowed five hits with one walk.

“It just seemed like all year, the last two years, the bigger the situation, the bigger Andrea would be,” Mercy coach Alec Lesko said. “She just rose (to the occasion) today. … We got that first run in the first inning, and her demeanor snapped. She was on.”

The Marlins opened up the game in the top half of the seventh inning, scoring three insurance runs. Belans started the action with a first-pitch home run to left field to make it 2-0.

“I thought she might try to jam me inside like she had done my first at-bat, so I took a step off the plate and was just looking for an inside pitch,” she said. “I got it on the first pitch and just took it.”

Elmore then doubled, and her pinch runner, Julia Kleismit, was driven in by Megan Satawa to make it 3-0. The final run came from a sacrifice fly from Mary Reeber to score Shannon Gibbons.

Elmore and Belans led the Marlins offensively with two hits each.

Dakota’s Corbin Hison finished with three hits. Kendahl Dunford pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Cougars, giving up three earned runs and striking out four to go along with eight hits.

Dakota finishes the year 38-3 overall.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience. We’ve had a lot of fun, and a lot of success came with this season,” Dakota coach Rick Fontaine said. “Obviously, we hope to continue to build on it in the future, but it’s been a tremendous experience and one we’ll never forget.”

Mercy ends 43-2.

“These are my best friends in the entire world, and although the season ended, it ended on a good note,” Mercy’s Abby Krzywiecki said. She was also named Miss Softball following the final. “It’s nice to know we did everything we could to extend it.”

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