Hazel Park High softball learning on the run

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published April 18, 2016

 Hazel Park’s Monica Bean is expected to be a key contributor.

Hazel Park’s Monica Bean is expected to be a key contributor.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


In some ways, it’s a new start for the Hazel Park High softball team.

With the graduation of Kyla Lynn, who started the last three years in the circle, coach Lisa McClellan is in search of her next ace.

The field is crowded with seven pitchers in the practice rotation.

“It’s anybody’s game to step up,” the coach said. “Hopefully, one of the seven will step up and be the No. 1.”

McClellan said junior Haley Matlick has the inside track. She was the No. 2 last season and started Hazel Park’s only two games this season at press time, going 1-1 in the process.

“She really has shown a lot in the two games that she has pitched. … When she pitched against Clawson (High) a week ago, she really kept us in the game,” McClellan said of the 9-7 victory. “She kept her head, she didn’t get upset, she fought through battles, and when she went down 3-0 (in the count), she came back and struck a couple out.”

The Vikings fell to Fraser High in their second game of the season.

Sophomore Sami Richardson has also seen time in the circle, and McClellan noted that she’d like to get more reps for junior Monica Bean, calling those two, along with Matlick, the top three throwers so far.

Overall, Hazel Park returns five starters, but it doesn’t have any seniors on the roster. More than half the team is underclassmen.

The Vikings do have experience with juniors Ella Wilson, Haley Lyell and Matlick. The three are in their third year on varsity.

Wilson is one constant, entering her third season starting at catcher. McClellan said she’s still finding the right combinations for the rest of the lineup.

“I have a very young team, so I really have no one set in stone anywhere, except for Wilson,” McClellan said.

The coach added that she sees potential in the squad. The Vikings compete in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, where they’ve finished second each of the last two seasons.

McClellan expects her team to contend again, but noted that defending champion Royal Oak High and Ferndale High will be tough, but “we should be able to (compete) with any one of them.”

“If we can grow, we still have a chance to win the league and district,” McClellan said. “I’m looking for kids to stand up and be leaders. If the juniors can do that, by the end of the season we’ll be strong, and we’ll start next year strong.”      

Catch the Vikings in a doubleheader against Richmond High starting at 4:30 p.m. April 21 at home.