By: Butch Harmon
Millington softball team brings home first-ever team state championship
By GREG CHRAPEK
After falling one agonizing run short last season, the Millington softball team put a hammer-lock on the school’s first-ever, MHSAA team championship this season.
Led by a powerful offense and the lock-down pitching of senior Gabbie Sherman, the Cardinals defeated Schoolcraft 8-0 in the Division 3 softball state championship game.
“This is our first team championship ever in our community,” said Millington coach Greg Hudie. “It means a lot. We were the first ones to ever make it to a state final last year but to win it, this is legendary. Some people might take it for granted, but I know me and the girls in the dugout and our coaches and parents do not take this for granted. We will remember this the rest of our lives.”
Millington struck quickly to take control of the title game. Darrien Roberts led off the first inning for Millington by hitting a towering home run that sparked the Cardinals to a five-run, first inning.
Roberts, who hit 18 home runs and drove in 48 runs this season, had a good feeling after the dinger.
“I just knew this was going to be a great game,” Roberts said. “Not just for me but for our team. This was our year and we were ready to win.”
Roberts was part of a Millington offense that received production from various spots in the batting order. Leah Denome finished the game by going 4-for-4. Denome was on fire the entire state tournament as she went 19-for-24 (.792) with three home runs, 16 runs scored and 10 RBI during the entire tournament. Elizabeth Bees, Madi Hahn and Sydney Bishop added two hits apiece. Sherman helped her cause with three hits.
In the circle, Sherman turned in a dynamic pitching performance. Sherman struck out 12 and allowed four hits on the game.
Sherman turned in a dazzling season overall as she totaled 274 strike outs against nine walks with a 0.79 ERA for the Cardinals who turned in a 38-2-1 record. A four-year varsity player, Sherman and her fellow seniors helped the Cardinals to four-straight regional titles. Winning the state title was the ultimate goal, however.
“We’ve been working for this since we were little kids,” Sherman said. “We just kept working and working and for this to come true it was incredible. This means everything to our town. We wanted to leave a mark of our own. Our town follows us everywhere. It was a sea of red up there and to give back to our town is incredible.”
The title capped an incredible season for Millington that finished the year ranked 20th in the nation by MaxPreps Sports.
Along with the pitching of Sherman, the Cardinals boasted an offense led by Denome who hit .528 with 46 RBI. Senior catcher Sydney Bishop hit .460 with eight home runs and 41 RBI, senior third baseman Hannah Rabideau hit .405 with 49 RBI, Roberts with 18 home runs and 48 RBI and Sherman hit .435 with seven home runs and 43 RBI.