Ferndale High’s Kala Twymon slides toward home plate during a district semifinal against Hazel Park High June 1.

Ferndale High’s Kala Twymon slides toward home plate during a district semifinal against Hazel Park High June 1.

Photo by Sean Work

Ferndale High softball coach reflects on memorable run

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published June 18, 2019


FERNDALE — It was a “heartbreaking” end to the season for Ferndale High softball, but it was a year to remember.      

The Eagles fell 4-3 to St. Clair Shores South Lake in a Division 2 regional final June 8 at Harper Woods High.

Along their way to the final, Ferndale won its first district championship since 2005, beating Warren Fitzgerald June 3 at Warren Lincoln.

Ferndale coach Patrick McNally said winning the district title “was a huge celebration.”

“It was amazing,” McNally said. “They were so excited, and watching the joy on their faces after winning that district championship made everything worth it this season. … They loved getting the trophy. They were excited to come back to school. … The girls were excited to bring home the trophy to Ferndale.”

McNally noted that the team seemed like a work in progress to start the season. With a championship under the program’s belt, next year could be a lot different.

“I think the biggest benefit for our team was just realizing that we were capable,” McNally said. “I don’t think anyone feared the program, necessarily. We made the goal to be district (champions) at the beginning of the season, and I think that was kind of a big goal for us at the time. But now, realizing that we have accomplished that goal, realizing that we can compete in our region, I think it lends itself to make our goal to win the regional next year and see how far we can really push ourselves.”

McNally said the team faced adversity at times this season, but kept moving forward.

“To be able to bounce back from that and then to build every game moving forward in their personal development was huge,” McNally said. “Our pitcher really came on strong at the end of the season — our freshman pitcher (Kirsten Zvibleman). The whole group really worked together as a team. And our team defense was really strong, a lot better than I expected it even could be. I think our hitting will come with that next season.”

McNally also credited his assistant coach, Pedro Kasperek.

Ferndale made its run this year with just one senior on the roster in Grace Rost. McNally said she was a very positive influence on the team.

But the plethora of players expected to return next year won’t be the only ones on the roster who gained invaluable experience this season. It was McNally’s first year coaching the program.

“My knowledge of the game grew, the girls’ knowledge of the game grew, and being able to put together a string of wins at the end got me really excited to continue coaching,” he said.