Sterling Heights Parkway Christian junior catcher Austyn Spach checks a runner at first base after making a tag at home in an April 12 game against Clinton Township Clintondale. The Eagles’ next game is against Center Line High at 4:30 p.m. April 29 on the road.

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian junior catcher Austyn Spach checks a runner at first base after making a tag at home in an April 12 game against Clinton Township Clintondale. The Eagles’ next game is against Center Line High at 4:30 p.m. April 29 on the road.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Parkway Christian softball coach working with young group

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 22, 2019

 Parkway Christian senior outfielder Nathalie Ferry rounds the bases after hitting a home run against Clintondale. The Eagles are out for a second straight Division 4 district title.

Parkway Christian senior outfielder Nathalie Ferry rounds the bases after hitting a home run against Clintondale. The Eagles are out for a second straight Division 4 district title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Parkway Christian softball team is seeing an infusion of youth, and coach Joy Sprang is hopeful the squad can round into form in time to make a push at a second straight district championship.

The Eagles have just one senior out of 11 players on the team. All but three players are learning a new position, Sprang said. Eight of those 11 players are in either their first or second year playing varsity softball.

“We’re looking to grow stronger in all areas of play this season,” Sprang said. “I expect our defense to grow more solid as the players learn the intricacies of their positions.

“As their knowledge grows, so will their skills. I also look for our vision at the plate to improve as the season progresses.”

Leading the way is the team’s lone senior, outfielder Nathalie Ferry. Ferry earned Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association All-State honorable mention honors last season.

Ferry, who is committed to play at Grand Rapids’ Cornerstone University, is a force at the plate, Sprang said, and will also lead the team on defense.

Junior pitcher Rebecca Shea is the team’s ace.

“(Ferry) is a vocal leader, always offering insight and advice to the girls,” Sprang said. “(Shea) is a leader in her actions and quiet strength. She advises girls with demonstrations and timely advice. Junior catcher Austyn Spach and sophomore infielder Olivia Joye are also taking on mentoring roles.”

The Eagles play in a strong league: the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue Division. Four of the six MIAC Blue teams won district titles in 2018.

Sprang expects the battle for the top spot to be intense. She said Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest and Allen Park Inter-City Baptist are traditionally strong teams. Huron Valley Lutheran, new to the MIAC Blue, should be a factor too, she added.

“I’m extremely excited to see all the potential growth over the course of the season,” Sprang said. “I can’t wait to see all the girls become more successful as the season progresses.”

Parkway Christian’s next game is against Center Line High at 4:30 p.m. April 29 on the road.