Lamphere softball takes field with new look

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published April 12, 2016

 Lamphere catcher Shaylia Richardson gets in some work during a recent practice.

Lamphere catcher Shaylia Richardson gets in some work during a recent practice.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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With the graduation of the majority of last year’s squad, Madison Heights Lamphere softball coach Don Mullen knows only time will tell what kind of squad 2016 brings.

Mullen noted that a total of 25 girls are in the program between the varsity and JV, one of the smallest groups he’s had with the Rams.

“It’ll be interesting just because the numbers are so low. We’ll be having girls from JV move up and some from varsity move down,” he said.
What does remain consistent is the staff. Mullen is joined once again by assistant coaches Bob Barnauskas and Steve Essenmacher. The trio has worked together for more than a decade.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have that consistency,” Mullen said.

Mullen hopes pitcher Leeanna Radick is another constant in the program.

The junior takes over the No. 1 spot, and Mullen said she’s improved over the summer months.

“She’s very solid. She’s more of a fastball pitcher. She has a decent change-up, but we want her to throw heat,” Mullen said.

Behind the plate is sophomore Alexis Wark.

“She’s just outstanding defensively, and she’s going to hit the ball,” the coach said. “We’re expecting a lot from her.”

Leading the infield is senior Jaclyn D’Arca at shortstop.

“I could literally put her anywhere in the field. She’s very competitive and a very solid hitter,” Mullen said. “She’s just a great athlete.”

Junior Sarah Barrett is at second base.

Mullen said she’s a three-sport athlete, and utilizing her speed “we can get her down the line with slapping and bunting.”

Senior Val Carney roams the outfield.

“She’s a naturally quiet leader. She has great speed in the outfield, and we expect her to help us at the plate,” Mullen said.

Junior Morganne Holdreith is a utility player, but she primarily plays center field. She also hits leadoff.

“She’s very aggressive on the base paths, because she’s so speedy,” Mullen said.

With a core group in place, Mullen said the goal is to finish above .500 and in the top half of the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

“I think we can do well against our nonleague opponents,” Mullen said, adding that the Rams beat the MAC Silver’s Clawson High in the only game of the season so far. “In the league, we’re really going to have to battle to beat Marysville (High) and Port Huron (High). The girls in the thumb play a lot of softball. We’re still not at that level — that’s the challenge.”

Mullen will get a good gauge of his squad when it takes on Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day at 4:30 p.m. April 13 on the road. The Rams fell to the Yellowjackets 1-0 in a Division 2 district final last season.

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