Hazel Park High softball wins district title

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published June 13, 2018

 Hazel Park High softball coach Lisa McClellan is pictured with her players after the team won a district championship June 2. It was Hazel Park’s first district title since 2007.

Hazel Park High softball coach Lisa McClellan is pictured with her players after the team won a district championship June 2. It was Hazel Park’s first district title since 2007.

Photo provided by Lisa McClellan

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hazel Park High played in a regional tournament June 9, after press time. Visit cand
gnews.com/sports for updates.


When a high school sports team wins a district championship, a similar scene can be expected to take place — arms in the air, wide smiles, and players running to embrace each other in a moment of unabashed joy.

Sometimes, there can even be tears.

That is the kind of scene that had eluded Hazel Park High’s softball program in recent years.

Although prior to this season the Vikings had made it as far as a district championship game in three of the last four years, the result was the same: a disappointing loss.

All that changed June 2, as Hazel Park beat Redford Union 16-4 in a Division 2 district final game at Livonia Clarenceville, giving the program its first district championship since 2007.

“That’s what we work hard for all year long, is to (be) the best team out there for that Saturday afternoon,” Hazel Park coach Lisa McClellan said. “We try to work as hard as we can, and I put the best lineup out there on that Saturday that I can to win the districts, and this Saturday it worked out, so it was wonderful.”

With McClellan having also previously been part of district championship teams with Hazel Park as a player and an assistant coach, she described the Vikings’ accomplishment as a “very amazing moment” for herself.

And after enduring losses in previous district title games, McClellan’s players get to come away from this season as champions.

“The juniors and seniors that have been through this for the last couple of years and not come out on top, it was kind of a wonderful moment for them,” McClellan said. “And I was just very, very proud of my group, especially because they played very, very well on Saturday. They played their best on the biggest day, and it paid off.”

Two of the players who had the opportunity to celebrate a championship were senior pitcher Samantha Richardson and senior catcher Haley Beverlin.

Both of those players have been part of the program since their freshman season.

“They showed some serious leadership,” McClellan said. “I was very happy for them.”

The feeling Richardson had on June 2 was a much different one than she had experienced in previous district final games.

“It’s been pretty disappointing every year to lose in the final,” Richardson said. “So, finally, for once, winning feels really good.”

Although coaches can sometimes say things to try to build confidence in players, it may not always carry a lot of weight until athletes see proof for themselves of what can be accomplished.

Now McClellan has a specific example she can point out.

“Today at practice I said, ‘See, now the kids that are coming back next year, you know that we can do this with hard work, and it’s possible,’” McClellan said.