St. Clair Shores South Lake softball players and coaches celebrate with the Division 2 regional title trophy June 8 after a walk-off 4-3 win over Ferndale High in the regional final. The win gave the Cavaliers their first regional championship.

St. Clair Shores South Lake softball players and coaches celebrate with the Division 2 regional title trophy June 8 after a walk-off 4-3 win over Ferndale High in the regional final. The win gave the Cavaliers their first regional championship.

Photo provided by Dave Ahearn


South Lake softball wins first regional title, falls in quarters

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 17, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake softball coach Dave Ahearn has led the program for more than a quarter-century.

And a win June 8 gave the coach a feeling he hadn’t experienced in his time in the dugout.

A walk-off hit gave the Cavaliers a 4-3 win over Ferndale High in a Division 2 regional final. The victory put South Lake in the state quarterfinals for the first time.

The Cavaliers would fall to North Branch High 15-0 three days later, but the story of the season is the team’s regional championship.

Freshman pitcher Brooklyn Giroux’s RBI hit with one out in the bottom of the seventh drove in the winning run, allowing South Lake to play into the final week of the season for the first time in program history.

Ahearn, a South Lake graduate, was overcome with emotion following the win.

“As the winning run crossed the plate, I just stood in my third base coach’s box and took a moment,” Ahearn said. “It was such a special moment for me personally, but more importantly, for those ballplayers. I watched them and thought about how many incredible, talented, dedicated athletes I’ve coached over the years who never got the chance to experience a moment like that.

“There were several former players in the stands, and one on our bench as a new assistant coach, which only added to the sense of how historic a moment we were seeing.”

Junior shortstop Mya Perron had the at-bat of the day, Ahearn said.

Perron came up in the bottom of the seventh and was down 0-2 before fouling off three pitches and eventually drawing a walk. Perron advanced to second base on a wild pitch and later scored on a single from senior catcher Avery Salvia. Salvia came home on Giroux’s hit — a ground ball between shortstop and third base.

“The (Ferndale) shortstop knocked it down but couldn’t field the ball cleanly. Salvia was coming in hard to third, and our first base coach had Giroux round the bag at first aggressively,” Ahearn said. “That got the attention of the shortstop, who, anticipating a play, turned toward second. Because of Salvia’s heads-up base running, I was able to take the chance and send her home. By the time the shortstop realized Salvia wasn’t stopping, it was too late. Her throw wasn’t in time.”

Ferndale put 16 total runners on base, but only managed 1 run in the second inning and 2 in the third inning. South Lake’s scoring came in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.

Giroux got the win in the regional final, allowing three hits and 1 earned run, while striking out nine.

Perron in a regional semifinal win over Detroit Cesar Chavez struck out seven, and allowed three hits and 1 earned run.

“As we huddled together in the pitcher’s circle,” Ahearn said, “I told the players I’d been around a long time and I’d seen a lot of things, but this — this was something I’d never seen. A come-from-behind, walk-off win to clinch South Lake softball’s first-ever regional title. I thanked them for their hard work and told them how proud I was of what they had just achieved together.”

A host of players contributed to the team’s success this postseason, including junior infielders Juliyana Torres, Maria Sanchez-Lopez and Alex Anderson; junior outfielders Leah Truba and Miranda Orzechowski; and senior outfielder Olivia Beyer.

Sanchez-Lopez and Clemence Barcque are foreign-exchange students. Sanchez-Lopez (Spain) and Barcque (France) provided the team with strong defense, key hits and good base running, Ahearn said.

“Everyone wanted to keep the season going so we didn’t have to say goodbye to our European imports,” Ahearn said.

Ahearn said he hopes the regional title will push returning and future players to continue to improve and play in more big games.

“We also hope that it will excite future ballplayers, our middle school and even elementary students, and make them want to join our South Lake softball family and be a part of something special,” the coach said.

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