ROYAL OAK – Bonded by sisterhood on and off the field, the five seniors on the Troy Athens softball squad are cherishing their final moments as teammates this spring, making the most of the time they have left together on the diamond.
“We’re going to be carrying a lot of amazing memories with us when all this is through and we each move on to college,” said Haley Zemmer, the Red Hawks all-state pitcher and Oakland University-signee. “These are the days we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”
Zemmer, centerfielder Amanda Mildfelt, shortstop Mary Grace Stark, first basemen Lauren Genereau and left fielder Sara Watson are all four-year varsity letter-winners.
As sophomores in 2012, the five-pack helped lead the Red Hawks to both league and district titles.
"We all grew up together playing this game, relying on each other as we got older, so it's only right that we're finishing it up at this level the same way," Mildfelt said.
This season, with the five-headed monster that is Athens’ senior class spurring the ship, the Red Hawks are 15-7, hot off a 9-1 handling of Walled Lake Northern Saturday to advance into the second day of play in the annual Fred Pieper Tournament at Memorial Park in Royal Oak.
Unfurling a crafty blend of fast balls and off-speed pitches, Zemmer stymied the Northern bats, 2-hitting the Knights en route to the victory from the circle.
“We’ve reached a number of milestones together playing softball at Athens and we hope there are still some more left to come down the road,” she said.
Genereau was in top form at the plate Saturday against Northern, going 3-for-3, including a triple and a homer and a trio of RBI to fuel the Red Hawks offense.
“This whole group of seniors is like family,” she said. “Starting from when we were in the ninth grade, we’ve been through the battles with each other and have always watched one another’s backs. I’ll never forget these four years and I wouldn’t have wanted to go through them with anyone else.”
The smiles seem never ending whenever or wherever they huddle up.
"The five of us have so much fun together, we laugh non-stop, that's what I'll miss the most," Stark said
Longtime Athens skipper Dave Marr is well aware of how special a set of seniors he has in his dugout in 2014.
“They’re phenomenal and they’ve set themselves apart by making a true mark on this program in their time here,” he said. “On the field, they’re excellent players, but they’re just really tough, hard-nosed and driven young ladies, too. They’ll be difficult to replace in so many ways next year, so we’re trying to take advantage as much as we can when we still have them here.”