By: Butch Harmon
Alma softball team heads to Flint for regional tournament
By GREG CHRAPEK and JOHN RAFFEL
It’s on to the regional for the Alma softball team.
After winning the Division 2 district title, Alma is playing for a regional title Saturday at Flint Kearsley.
Alma will play Freeland in one regional semifinal game at 12 p.m. at Kearsley. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Frankenmuth/Flint Kearsley game for the championship Saturday afternoon.
Alma won the district title by defeating Owosso 1-0 in the title game. Haley Leister was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits and striking out 10. Delanie Mott had two hits and the game-winning RBI in the third inning. Sarah Gadde had two hits while Hailey Leister had one, plus two intentional walks.
Alma reached the finals by defeating Corunna 11-0 in the semifinals. Danielle Shaw was the winning pitcher, allowing one hit and striking out seven in five innings.
Sarah Gadde led the offense with two hits, one run scored and four RBIs. Alyssa Beechler had two hits, one run scored and one RBI. Hailey Leister had two hits and one RBI. Alyssa Leister and Dalanie Mott had one hit, one run and one RBI apiece.
Strong pitching has been a staple for Alma this season.
“Our losses have come against state-ranked teams or honorable-mention team,” said Alma coach Troy Anderson. “The girls are playing great softball right now. We are seeing great pitching and our conference is such a great conference.”
Alma placed third in the conference this spring behind Freeland and Standish-Sterling. The numbers show just how tough conference play is as Alma is allowing just 2.78 runs per game while the offense is averaging 2.78 runs per game. Outside of league play, Alma is averaging seven runs per game while allowing 2.1 runs per game.
The senior combination of Hailey Leister and Danielle Shaw pace Alma both in the pitching circle and at the plate.
Leister plays third base when not on the mound and brings an all-around game to the field.
“Hailey is a complete player,” Anderson said. “At bat, she has around eight home runs this season. She is a fantastic all-around player, is a great student and is a great leader to have on the team.”
Shaw, a left-handed pitcher who also plays first base, also brings a complete game to the diamond.
“Danielle is a dominant pitcher who throws real good heat,” Anderson said. “She leads us in hitting and is also a great team leader.”
Sophomores Delanie Mott and Alyssa Leister provide the team with a dynamic pair of defenders in the outfield and impact players at the plate.
Leister heads up the outfield defense in centerfield.
“Alyssa is a solid hitter, gets on base and has good power,” Anderson said. “She is second on the team in home runs. Alyssa is an outstanding athlete and a winner.”
Mott holds down right field for the Panthers.
“Delanie is very quick,” Anderson said. “She leads the team in stolen bases and is one of the top hitters on the team.”
Along with excellent pitching, Alma has benefitted from outstanding defense this season.
“We have an outstanding outfield,” Anderson said. “Our outfield is second to none. Our infield has also been doing a tremendous job. If anything, we are not scoring enough runs, but we are going up against some outstanding pitching.”