Lathrup softball aiming big in final season

By: Christian Davis | Southfield Sun | Published April 6, 2016

 Lathrup’s Kenya Hardyway waits on a pitch during a recent practice. The Chargers are young, but they have six returning starters.

Lathrup’s Kenya Hardyway waits on a pitch during a recent practice. The Chargers are young, but they have six returning starters.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

With half of the roster consisting of freshmen, Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup softball coach Sharnese Marshall knows her team is a work in progress.

“You never know how things look until you’re out on the field, but they’re very teachable and coachable. They’re learning fast, plus we have some good (leaders) in place that are helping,” Marshall said. “They come to practice every day and want to get better.”

A key component is senior captain Lenae Jefferson.

Marshall said Jefferson can play anywhere and is the hardest worker on and off the field.

She’s currently the Chargers’ No. 1 thrower. Marshall said her best pitch is a corkscrew.

“It’s actually better than her fastball. We learned that last week. It looks like a fastball going down the middle, but then it fades to the outside corner,” Marshall said. “I think it’ll be surprising some teams, especially now that our catcher is getting used to catching it and framing it as a strike.”

If a batter does get a piece of it, Marshall has junior shortstop Danita Smith leading the infield.

“She’s very athletic and this is her third year playing on varsity,” Marshall said. “She’s just an outstanding base runner and one of our top three hitters with all-around good defense.”

Marshall added that sophomore Essence Farmer gives added experience to the infield at second base. Last season was her first time playing softball, and she earned All-Association honors.

“She’s a leader. She’s young, but she learns quickly. She’s naturally athletic and has a great attitude. She’s always positive,” Marshall said.

The Chargers had not played a game yet in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division at press time. The OAA Blue consists of Bloomfield Hills High, Ferndale High, Hazel Park High, Oak Park High, Pontiac High, Royal Oak High and Southfield High.

Last season, Lathrup finished 1-9 in the Blue, but Marshall expects that to change. With this being the final season before Lathrup and Southfield merge, the coach has elevated the team’s goal.

“I think we’ll be in at least the top three … (but) we do want to take the championship for our last time around,” she said. 

Catch the Chargers against Southfield in a doubleheader starting at 4:30 p.m. April 19 at Southfield.

Advertisement