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Jags win regional crown, Anderson falls PHOTO GALLERY

At the beginning of this season, Allen Park softball Coach Patsy Curnell said that while her team was talented, they lacked game experience after graduating several top players last June.

Fast forward three months and a season full of experience, another Downriver League title, another district title and the team’s first regional crown in six years has been added to each player’s resume.

The Jags topped Belleville 5-0 in Saturday’s regional championship game for the regional title.

“Every regional final game has come down to one play or one pitch,” Curnell said. “But today, we didn’t have to come down to that. They came and they played their hearts out.”

The Jags got things started right away. They went to bat in the bottom of the first frame and Hailey Genaw’s hit brought Kailey Littleton across the plate.

Allen Park never looked back.

Behind the strong pitching of Miranda Hebert, some great defensive plays and some not too shabby offense, the Jags added the runs, got the outs and took home the trophy.

A great double play ended the Belleville threat in the second, and a bunt turned into a double, scored SAmmi Howell in the bottom of the frame for a 2-0 lead.

The third and fourth flew by before Allen Park got things going again.

In the bottom of the fifth, Hailey Lazarek’s single plated Littleton and Lazarek then came home when Hebert smacked a double.

Littleton capped the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when her sacrifice bunt scored Carlie Magier and three outs in four batters in the top of the seventh gave Allen Park the win.

The semifinal was a rather quick 3-1 victory over host Saline.

Saline scored in the top of the second on an Allen Park throwing error, but it was the only run the hosts would muster during the game.

The hornets held their lead until the bottom of the fourth, when Hebert helped her pitching cause by blasting the ball over the fence for a tied game.

The game-winning run came in the bottom of the fifth.

Genaw smacked a double to plate Lazarek and Chelsea Warga’s bunt in the bottom of the sixth plated Magier for the final score.

Curnell was thrilled with the work of her team throughout the day.

“My concern (coming in) was our game; the energy of our team, the unity of our team,” she said. “The way these kids pulled together … every player did their job today and that’s what it’s about.

“When we do that; anytime you can catch a ball, pitch a ball as well as Miranda; and her hit was great and just built so much energy.”

The Jags did not put a huge emphasis on anything in particular heading into the regional final game.

“We wanted to see the importance of beating a great Saline team and letting that energy stay there because Belleville is a scrappy, good team,” Curnell said. “I didn’t focus on anything except making plays.”

The Jags now advance to the MHSAA quarterfinals. They will play Portage Central on Tuesday at 4:00 at the University of Michigan.



Anderson falls



It was a tough day for the Anderson girls in the early semifinal game.

The Titans, coming off of their fifth district championship title in six years, fell 11-2 to Belleville.

Anderson gave up over 20 hits, while only managing five themselves in the tough to swallow loss.

“It was frustrating,” Coach Eric Druchniak said. “We’ve never given up that many hits.”

Belleville took an early lead in the top of the first, but Kennedy Caldwell tied things up when Chelsea Crandall was walked in a bases loaded situation.

Belleville opened things up in the second, led 4-1 after the frame and added two more before Anderson could get on board again.

Maggie Piesz smacked a single that scored Crandall that capped the Anderson scoring.

Belleville added three more in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh to advance to the finals.

“We weren’t disciplined today,” Druchniak said. “We made some errors and when you add that to 20 hits or whatever it was, you can’t win a game.

“It’s a great learning experience for the younger kids, but pretty crappy for the seniors.”

The Titans lost in the semifinals last year as well, but Druchniak wasn’t focused on last year heading into Saturday’s game.

“I talked about continuing doing the same things you’ve been doing (and) staying mentally focused,” he said. “Don’t do anything different, just continue to do everything the way you’ve been doing it, but we didn’t do it today.”

Although disappointed with the loss, Druchniak said he is optimistic about the future.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’ve got another pitcher coming in and there’s some talent on the JV that’s gonna be coming up and helping us out.

“It’ll be another exciting year. We’ll definitely regroup and come out fighting next year.”





















Last Updated: 6/7/2014 8:50:56 PM EST

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