GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The upstart Wixom St. Catherine of Siena softball team nearly pulled off the upset victory over host Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett Saturday, mounting a late comeback attempt— before losing 1-0 in the Division 2 regional semifinals.
St. Catherine was looking to advance to the regional final in its first year of varsity softball.
The Stars started the game a little shaky, as Liggett took advantage of a pair of errors in the second inning. The first error from the Stars allowed senior first baseman Julia DeRoo to reach base. She eventually scored on a RBI single by sophomore right fielder Kacie Wuthrich for the game’s only run.
After the second inning, junior pitcher Mary Green and the Stars settled down. For the game, Green scattered seven hits over seven innings, striking out two and walking just two. Sophomore second baseman Kerry Prowse made several key stops as well.
After the game, Green said she was proud of her teammates and can’t wait to improve during the offseason.
“I was so proud of everyone, they worked so hard and we were so close,” Green said. “I’m really looking forward to (next season), in some way I think this (loss) will help us grow a lot. It’s just that kick you need in the offseason to work harder and become a better team.”
While Green was able to limit the Knights' offense, Liggett senior pitcher Ashley Tengler was just as stingy, allowing three hits over six innings, striking out three and walking one.
Even with Tengler’s strong pitching performance, it was the defense behind her that helped keep the Siena Stars off the scoreboard.
In the top of the third inning, Knights freshman catcher Amanda Majewski threw out a base runner trying to advance into scoring position. And in the top of the fifth, Majewski stuffed out another Star rally.
Green advanced a runner to third on a sacrifice bunt for out number one. Then, Majewski caught a popped up bunt for the second out, before firing back to third to double off the base runner — ending the inning.
Despite that killed rally, the Siena Stars mounted one more comeback attempt in the top of the seventh. Junior catcher Emily Nowka advanced to second on a throwing error with one out. After a pop out to the shortstop. Sophomore right fielder Sarah Choate made solid contact with the ball, driving the pitch into left field where it was caught to end the game.
After the game, coach Robert Green said he was very pleased with the performance of his young team. This performance should open some eyes around the division, he said.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of them. We don’t have a senior class at our school — we have freshmen starting all over the place. It’s a phenomenal effort by our girls against a well-coached team,” Green said. “Nobody knew who we were coming into this game. They know now.”
Heading into the season, Green said the goal for his team was to play in the Catholic League championship. While they were not able to accomplish that, defeating Royal Oak Shrine to reach the regional round was huge for the program.
Moving forward, Green said reaching regionals will be the goal for next year's team. With everyone returning, and the addition of the incoming freshman class. Green said the future of softball at St. Catherine is bright.