Foley softball takes district crown

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published June 13, 2016

 Bishop Foley’s Emily Myers makes a throw during a practice earlier this season. The Ventures played in the regional round after press time.

Bishop Foley’s Emily Myers makes a throw during a practice earlier this season. The Ventures played in the regional round after press time.

Photo provided by John Ploskonka

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Madison Heights Bishop Foley softball coach John Ploskonka was relieved.

The Ventures had just won a Division 3 district championship, beating Clinton Township Clintondale 12-1 in five innings June 4 at home to earn the program’s first district title since 2012, and it came against the team that beat Foley in the final last season. 

“I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want us to win it for the kids,” Ploskonka said. “We do lose so many times; getting a district title makes all those losses OK. … It’s all about the medals, all about the hardware, not our record.”

The Ventures were 13-20 overall at press time, but as is often the case, most of the defeats came from playing in the highly competitive Catholic High School League. Ploskonka noted that half of the losses came from state-ranked teams.

“People can look at our record and ask why we have so many losses. It’s because we play so many good teams,” the coach said.

Against Clintondale, the Ventures led 6-1 after the first inning and never looked back. Ploskonka said he was confident that his was the team to beat in the tournament. The Ventures won their district semifinal via forfeit against Detroit Pershing.

“I knew (Clintondale) had graduated a lot of people, but you can never take anyone for granted. I just knew we were playing good softball coming in,” Ploskonka said. “They never faced a pitcher like my pitcher.”

Sophomore hurler Emilee Dover earned the win. She went five innings, allowing three hits, a walk and striking out six. At the plate, she finished with two hits and two RBIs.

Phoebe Szakacs and Claire Craig also had two hits each, but it was the Ventures’ patience at the plate that was the difference. Foley walked 11 times compared to its 10 total hits.

In the CHSL, Foley plays a three-ball, two-strike count. At the state level, it’s the traditional four-ball, three-strike count. With that in mind, Ploskonka told his team not to swing until after the first strike.

“We were going to make her work,” the coach said of the opposing pitcher.

Foley went on to play in a regional tournament June 11, at home and after press time.

Whether the season ended that day or not, Ploskonka sees this year as a success.

“I tell the girls, ‘You start with 160 teams in D-3, now we’re one of 32 left. How nice is that?’” the coach said. “If we win a regional semifinal, we’re one of 16 teams. You put it into perspective, break down the numbers — that’s an accomplishment.”

For more on the playoffs, visit www.candgnews.com.

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