Local squads prepare for softball districts

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published May 31, 2011

 Berkley High softball coach Ken DePerro gives some pointers to freshman Shannon Smith in a practice earlier this season.

Berkley High softball coach Ken DePerro gives some pointers to freshman Shannon Smith in a practice earlier this season.

Photo by Deb Jacques

With rosters overflowing with youth, Ferndale High’s and Berkley High’s softball teams have taken some lumps during the regular season.

At press time, Ferndale was 6-17 overall and Berkley was 4-11.

“We’re very, very young,” Berkley coach Ken DePerro said. “Most of the time, we’re starting three freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors, and then another position that fluctuates.”

Ferndale has three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen.

“They didn’t understand much about districts, regionals and quarterfinal. It’s a whole different mindset. When it’s a single-game elimination like that, you’re done for the season. That’s it,” Ferndale coach Tony Smith said. “This year, I’m telling them that the district is what we’re shooting for, because the season has been so tough.”

But now the regular season has passed and the postseason has begun.

In its Class A district opener, Berkley played Warren Mott May 31, after press time. The winner of that game takes on Warren Woods Tower at 10 a.m. June 3 at Mott. The final is at 12:30 p.m. the same day.

“We always have a chance because we pitch pretty well, but we have to catch the ball,” DePerro said. “We can win if we catch, because we can score a couple runs even against good pitching.”

Ferndale opens against Warren Lincoln at 10 a.m. June 4 at Chatterton Middle School in Warren.

The winner of that game plays Hazel Park High, Warren Fitzgerald or Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy at 2 p.m. in the final.

“Lincoln is really good, but we’re getting better. So I think we’ll give them a run for their money. Anything is possible,” Smith said.

The coach also has confidence from what he witnessed last season, which was his first with Ferndale. The Eagles entered the postseason around .500, but played their best ball in the district before losing to Hazel Park.

“That’s what I see with these guys; they’re getting better and better,” he said.

Sophomore captain Hannah Reiter agreed.

“We won four games in a row last week, and it’s good to see everyone getting the hang of things,” she said. “We got off to a slow start, but we’re looking forward to the district. It’s a whole new chance.”