Timely hitting and solid pitching help Big Reds toward a successful softball season

By: Sue Teggart | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 25, 2011

 Clinton Township Chippewa Valley freshman Rene Finn makes a play at third base during a game earlier in the season.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley freshman Rene Finn makes a play at third base during a game earlier in the season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s girls softball team has taken its lumps in the past — finishing 4-6 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division the past two seasons — but has seemingly turned the corner this season.

At press time, the Big Reds were 5-3 in the Red Division — three and a half games behind the league-leader Romeo High — and 13-9 overall.

“Right now, we stand second or third in the league, which is a little bit better than we expected,” coach Dave Prestininzi said. “We’ve won some nice ball games this year that I think surprised some teams. We’re pretty happy with our progress.”

After several seasons with a young squad in the field, the Big Reds are strong up the middle, but still have a young battery.

In the circle, Chippewa has seen good results from freshman Stephanie Adamczyk, who had a 7-4 record and 4.0 ERA at press time. Behind the plate is sophomore Nikki Caicedo.

“We’re still young on the mound, but we’re starting to get more experience everywhere else,” Prestininzi said. “Stephanie Adamczyk has come in after one of our pitchers got hurt and has done a great job for us on the mound. She’s kept us in ball games. She’s not a big strikeout pitcher or is going to dominate anybody, but she doesn’t walk anybody, either.”

Helping shore up the young pitcher-catcher duo up the middle are juniors Alyssa Maron (shortstop) and Leah Fifer (center field), and sophomore Tiffany Misch (second base), who brings two years of varsity experience.

“We have a senior first baseman (Jennifer Ricken) that does a nice job for us, and then we have four juniors that are starting right now. That helps us in our hitting department. It’s good to have a little experience when you have such young pitching.”

Prestininzi said the Big Reds have gotten good results from timely hitting. Fifer is leading the squad with a .496 batting average, while junior Kate Hojnacki follows with a .415 average. Junior Taylor Roberts’ 18 RBIs lead the squad.

“When our bats come alive, we’ve been able to pull out a few games,” Prestininzi said. “Leah Fifer is our lead-off hitter. We go as she goes. If she gets on, we’re usually pretty successful.”

Though the Big Reds’ catalyst is Fifer, Prestininzi said offense has been a team effort.

“We’ve gotten some good production from different people when we’ve needed it,” Prestininzi said. “Besides Fifer being very consistent, we may have other players get big hits to help us along. It’s been pretty spread out.”

As the Big Reds turn their attention to the state tournament, which for them begins at 3:30 p.m. May 31 at home, they’ll have to face an opening game against Utica Stevenson.

“We’ve got to play Stevenson in the pre-district, and it’s our fourth year in a row we’ve had a pre-district game,” Prestininzi said. “We split with them earlier in the year. We lost 11-8, and then we came back and won 7-2, so I think the girls understand that it can be anybody’s ball game. It’s not like in the last couple years where we were the underdog.”

 

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