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Fifth-ranked Coleman, sixth-ranked Holton meet in D4 quarterfinals for third straight year WITH GALLERY

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A dream shared last year by three Coleman softball coaches about playing a game the following season at Saginaw Valley State was apparently a false prophecy.

But nonetheless, the Comets' dream of advancing to the state finals is alive and well even if the next challenge will happen at Greenville instead of the originally scheduled location of SVSU.

When the Comets advanced to the Division 4 quarterfinals Saturday by clinching their third consecutive regional title with a 12-6 win over Morrice, head coach Chad Klopf shared a story from a year ago.

Following a loss for a second straight year to Holton in the 2016 quarterfinals, Klopf and two assistant coaches all had a dream about Coleman playing a game the following year at Saginaw Valley State.

It was not until later that the trio of coaches realized that the location of its D4 quarterfinal game was slated to be Saginaw Valley State.

“Saginaw Valley State is where our dreams were at,” Klopf said following Saturday's regionals. “For whatever reason, half the coaching staff had dreams about SVSU after we lost to Holton. We'll go over there Tuesday and be fired up no matter who the opponent is.”

As it turns out, the SVSU dreams will remain only dreams but a familiar foe awaits in the other dugout.

The opponent for fifth-ranked Coleman in Tuesday's quarterfinals will be sixth-ranked Holton for a third straight year, giving the Comets an opportunity for revenge from the last two heartbreaks. The decision was also made to move the game to a more centrally located facility in Greenville, where it is now slated for a 4 p.m. start.

Holton defeated Coleman by a count of 4-2, while last season a top-ranked Comets squad that set MHSAA records for offensive proficiency was stunned 6-3 by the Red Devils.

Coleman enters the quarterfinals with a 34-6 record, while Holton sports a 32-9 mark.

Will this be the year the Comets can finally take down the Red Devils?

“We had so many talented seniors on the 2016 team and now we only have one in Liz Dana,” Klopf said. “But our returners learned so much from our leaders the last couple years and Liz has elevated her game to a whole new level. She's caught almost every game for us and is a great athlete. We've only played her in the outfield a couple times, but she's probably our best outfielder too. She's a catalyst for this team.”

Dana is second on the team with a .478 batting average, has scored a team-high 60 runs and is third with 45 RBIs despite batting almost exclusively out of the leadoff spot.

As a team, Coleman is batting .381 with a .948 OPS and has averaged 9.3 runs per game.

Pitching-wise, the Comets have a talented one-two combo in junior Faith Barden and sophomore Jaden Berthume. Barden is 16-3 with a 1.41 earned-run average in 21 appearances (19 starts), allowing 41 runs (23 earned) on 65 hits while striking out 172 over 114 1/3 innings pitched. Berthume also has a 16-3 record and a 1.49 ERA, giving up 36 runs (24 earned) on 92 hits with 102 strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings.

“Hopefully this is the year,” Barden said. “I think we've got it.”

Holton advanced to the quarterfinals via a pair of come-from-behind victories Saturday, downing Frankfort 10-9 with a pair of seventh-inning runs and Beal City 8-7 with three final at-bat runs.

Last Updated: 6/12/2017 4:33:35 PM EST