Grosse Pointe North softball building on each game

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 14, 2019

 Grosse Pointe North’s Grace Haynes throws a pitch May 11 against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. At press time, North was 8-11 overall.

Grosse Pointe North’s Grace Haynes throws a pitch May 11 against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. At press time, North was 8-11 overall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

GROSSE POINTES –– Throughout the season, Grosse Pointe North softball has lived by the motto, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Instead of looking ahead to key games, rivalry matchups and even playoffs, the Norsemen are focused on using every inning and every game to prepare for what they may see down the road.

At press time, the Norsemen were 8-11 overall and 4-3 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.

“I think we’ve done all right. We’ve had some ups and downs,” coach Ron Smith said. “We’re doing a little bit of growing, but they’re a good jelling team. They don’t quit, so that part’s been real good.”

The Norsemen have six seniors and returned a total of 11 players from a season ago. With most playing more than one position, North has depth at just about every spot.

Depth is something Smith said his teams haven’t had over the last few years, and that it has proven to be key with injuries popping up throughout the season. While some players have had to move around the field and lineup, North hasn’t looked all that different.

“They know the expectations that I have and that they have of themselves,” Smith said. “It’s a compact season. You’re only talking two months of playing ball. You don’t have a lot of time if you got to build and build and build. It’s nice to come in and everybody knows what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it.”

Pitching is a spot where that depth has shined bright, as the Norsemen have three options they can throw in the circle. Hitting is also an aspect of the game that has impressed Smith thus far.

Senior Evelyn Zacharias noted that the Norsemen are strong in a lot of areas, but she also likes the depth of the team and has high hopes for the squad.

“I think our batting lineup goes really far deep,” she said. “We have speed, we can field really well, our defense is solid. We have good pitching this year, so I think we have a lot of potential.”

With just a couple of weeks left in the season, North has been getting itself ready for the state tournament.  

Playoff softball has left a sour taste in North’s mouth over the last two years. Last season, it fell by 1 run to rival Grosse Pointe South in a Division 1 district final. A year before, the Norsemen were eliminated by Garden City High on a walk-off hit in extra innings.

North will get an opportunity to avenge one of those losses as it will host South to open district play June 1. The winner will advance to take on Eastpointe High in the district final.

“I’ve been playing since I was 8 and been around it since I was younger, so being able to go far in states my last year would just mean everything to me,” senior Rachel Liagre said.

Catch the Norsemen on the field at 4:30 p.m. May 16 at Sterling Heights Stevenson.