Macomb Dakota softball plays on biggest stage

By: Christian Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 21, 2016

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EAST LANSING — Heading into this season, the Macomb Dakota softball program had won only one district championship and never raised a regional trophy.

But here the Cougars were, under a pitch-perfect blue sky battling for the Division 1 state championship June 18 at Michigan State University.

Keeping a one-run difference for most of the game, the Cougars fell to Farmington Hills Mercy 4-0, ending a season the program had never seen before.

“It’s been a great ride. It’s been an honor to be able to play with these girls,” Dakota senior Kelcie LaTour said following the loss.

Mercy scored one run in the first inning, which proved to be the game-winner.

With one out, Dakota threatened in the bottom of the fourth after back-to-back singles by Kendahl Dunford and Julia Salisbury. A wild pitch by Mercy moved the runners to second and third, but the Cougars weren’t able to move the runners any farther.

“We pitched well enough, played good enough defense for the most part … we were just kept off balance today,” Dakota coach Rick Fontaine said.

Corbin Hison led the Cougars with three hits, including a double. In all, Dakota reached base six times — five hits and a walk.

LaTour said it was the team’s ability to work together that led to the program’s longest run yet.

“During practices, you could just feel it. There’s no describing this team and the chemistry we have on and off the field,” she said. “On the field, we turn it on and it’s business.”

Fontaine said his seniors and captains — Kesley Ramus, Samantha Bunk, LaTour and Sarah Fringer — have been leaders in the program since each first pulled on a Dakota jersey.

Dakota ended the year at 38-3 overall. Through eight postseason games, Dakota outscored its opponents 57-7.

“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” Fontaine said. “We’ve had a lot of fun, and a lot of success came with this season. Obviously, we hope to continue to build on it in the future, but it’s been a tremendous experience and one we’ll never forget.”

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