SOFTBALL: OAA-Red champion Wolves turn attention to state tournament | North Oakland Sports
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SOFTBALL: OAA-Red champion Wolves turn attention to state tournament

| June 1, 2012 | Comments (1)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

 

CLARKSTON — As a state powerhouse program, Clarkston always has high expectations on the softball diamond.

The Wolves are frequent visitors to the Division 1 top 20 and play a loaded schedule year-in and year-out. That still hasn’t translated tin o tremendous success in the postseason during the past decade.

Although Clarkston has won district championships in five of the past 10 years, the Wolves have only advanced beyond the regional semifinals once in the past decade and that was before current coach Don Peters took the helm.

“It’s one thing to be good on paper, but to do it on the field is another thing. Whatever the reason, we haven’t done much in the tournament the past few years,” admitted Clarkston coach Don Peters, who is in his eighth season with the Wolves. “We have been averaging around 28 wins a year the past few years but haven’t been able to get it done when it counts.”

CONSTANT CONTACT: Clarkston's Rachel Alli and the Wolves have had no problems putting the bat on the ball this season and enter the Division 1 state tournament ranked second in the state. Photo | Larry McKee, www.lmkeephotography.com

The last time Clarkston made a run beyond regional play and onto the Final Four was 2004, when the Wolves lost to Portage Northern (5-4). That was under the direction of Al Land, who retired after that season and recently returned to rejuvenate Waterford Kettering.

For Peters, he coached four Final Four teams at Ortonville Brandon back in the 1990s, including the 1994 Class B state championship team. He is still seeking his first long run managing from the Wolves’ dugout.

Even with the talent at Clarkston in recent years, the Wolves have not ventured beyond the regional semifinals the past seven seasons. In fact, Clarkston was upset in the district semifinals each of the past two years by Hartland and Kettering, respectively, even though the Wolves were a state-ranked team.

Clarkston won district titles under Peters in 2007 and 2009, and both runs ended in the regional semifinals.

“I don’t give much weight to the rankings. We didn’t win last year when it counted,” sighed Peters. “I just have to worry about how we’re playing this season. If we play well, we can play if anybody. But we know we can get beat just as easily.”

Clarkston enters the postseason ranked second in the state in Division 1. The Wolves will play in a tough district Friday at Lake Orion, which also includes Kettering, Lake Orion and much-improved Oxford. The Wolves will face rival Lake Orion, a team they split with in late April, in a 12 noon district semifinal. Oxford and Kettering will meet in the other semifinal.

“This is the most wins that we’ve had since I’ve been here and one of our better teams, but that doesn’t mean anything in the tournament if you don’t come ready to play,” said Peters. “I hope what we experienced the last couple of years, the girls that were here will remember that we have to show up at the districts. There are some good teams in our district.”

Clarkston, which finished 9-1 in conference play, has been led by senior relief pitcher-infielder Megan Hastings, along with Sydney Hasselbach, Shauna Siwicki, Rachel Alli and Rachel Pytel. Freshmen pitchers Madeline Maday and Candace Kitchen have given the Wolves a fine 1-2 punch from the pitcher’s circle, as Hastings has been limited in her pitching duties after earning all-league and all-area honors a year ago.

“We are solid top to bottom in our lineup and we have been blessed by two talented freshmen pitchers that have pitched a lot of innings for us,” said Peters, who lost another key pitcher from last year’s team for undisclosed reasons. “Megan Hastings has been tearing the cover off the ball and Sydney Hasselbach is one of the most underrated players around. We have good players. We just have to turn that into something in the tournament.

“We’re hoping that they can do some good things in the state tournament this year,” concluded Peters.

 

CLARKSTON SOFTBALL IN THE POSTSEASON IN PAST DECADE

2012: To be determined.

2011: Lost in districts.

2010: Lost in districts.

2009: District champions; lost in regional semifinals to Troy (1-0).

2008: Lost in districts.

2007: District champions; lost in regional semifinals to Birmingham Seaholm (4-3).

2006: Lost in districts.

2005: Lost in districts.

2004: District, regional champs; lost in Division 1 Final Four to Portage Northern (5-4).

2003: District champs; lost in regional regional semifinals to Walled Lake Western (1-0).

2002: District champs; lost in regional regional semifinals to Walled Lake Western (6-4).

 

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Have photos or video of this event that you wish to share? E-mail pertinent information to www.northoaklandsports.com Senior Editor Dan Stickradt at dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com or e-mail results@northoaklandsports.com.

 

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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