Quick Starts Help Athens Softball Capture District Title Over Adams
The Red Hawks strike first in both district games on Saturday on their way to school’s first district championship since 1997.
TROY – The Athens varsity softball team is going to have to set some new goals.
After winning 30 games and a division title in the regular season, the Red Hawks went into playoffs on Saturday with one thing left on their to-do-list – a district title.
Now, that can be crossed off as well. Athens beat Adams in the district finals 9-0 to capture its first title since 1997.
“It’s been a long time,” Athens coach Dave Marr said of his team’s title draught. “It feels great, all of our goals, we’ve gotten everyone we wanted to get.”
That the championship came at the expense of city-rival Troy is even better.
Before facing the Highlanders in the finals, the Red Hawks ended the Colts' season in the semifinals with a convincing 6-2 victory.
“Beating Troy felt great,” Athens shortstop Melissa Palmer said. “I’ve never beaten Troy in my four years here.”
Palmer set the tone right out of the batter’s box. She hit a single in the first inning, stole second and went around to score on Sarah Wilson’s triple.
Haley Zemmer, the Red Hawk’s workhorse on the mound, showed just how dangerous she can be when she stepped up to bat and launched a rocket over the centerfield fence to put her team up 3-0 before the Colts knew what hit them.
“That was so exciting, we were so pumped up,” Palmer said, smiling. “We were on our feet and all yelling.”
Athens (32-6-1) would add two more runs in the second and it was more than enough.
“We just weren’t that good today,” Troy coach Tom Calnen said. “These are a bunch of great kids, but we weren’t good. The homerun didn’t help, but besides that I believe we had nine hits and left nine on.”
Kamryn LaCarter put Troy on the board in the fifth inning with an RBI single, but her hit with runners in scoring position was a rarity. The Colts stranded runners in scoring position in every inning except the first and third.
“Zemmer wasn’t at her best, she had to fight, but she got the job down,” Marr said.
And she also got it done again in the finals against the Highlanders. Zemmer struck out 10 and allowed only three hits over seven innings of work for her second win of the day.
Adams (20-19) didn’t have a single baserunner reach third.
The finals started off much like the semifinals with Athens getting off to a hot start. The Red Hawks scored four runs in the first inning with four straight singles.
“Nothing was hit very hard,” Adams coach Fran Scislowicz said. “As soon as you get down three or four runs, you know they are going to thrive on that cause they know their pitcher isn’t going to give up five runs.”
Scislowicz watched as his team gave up two more runs in the fifth and the seventh.
Just getting to the finals was a big accomplishment for a Highlanders team that was 10 games under .500 earlier this year.
“We were 5-15 at one point, we kind of righted the ship and were very pleased with how we stuck with it,” Scislowicz said. “We will lose one or two starting seniors, we feel good about the future.”
Athens advances to regionals where they will play White Lake Lakeland at Hartland at 11 a.m. on Saturday.