In Play with Tom Markowski

Clarkston overcomes 2-1 deficit, scores six in the sixth and defeats Lake Orion for district title, 11-3

Softball   | Tom Markowski

Clarkston overcomes 2-1 deficit, scores six in the sixth and defeats Lake Orion for district title, 11-3

 

Lake Orion – Rachel Dolland’s home run that gave Lake Orion a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning might have been a deflating at bat to a lesser team but not to Clarkston.

Alex Favazza’s home run tied the game in the bottom half of the inning highlighting a 3-run fourth and the Wolves scored six in the sixth to cruise past the Dragons 11-3 in a Division 1 district final on Tuesday at Lake Orion.

Clarkston (38-2) will play Troy in a regional semifinal on Saturday at Rochester at 11 a.m.

Clarkston had 18 hits with four of its batters collecting three hits apiece, including starting pitcher Candace Kitchen.

Kitchen went the first 4 1/3 innings to pick up the victory and Madeline Maday pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to get the save.

Earlier in the day Kitchen went all seven innings as Clarkston defeated Waterford Mott 3-0 in a semifinal to advance.

Kitchen said she was tired and was losing velocity on her riser. In the fourth she gave up the home run to Dolland but Kitchen worked out of potentially more serious trouble after the Dragons put runners on first and second on singles by Carly McGee and Megan Hall.

Despite giving up the lead Kitchen remained calm and confident.

“Down 2-1, to me it’s no big deal,” Kitchen said. “I have so much confidence in my teammates. With the team chemistry we have, we’ve come together as a team. It’s exciting.”

It’s also gratifying. Last season it was Lake Orion’s turn to take the district title. The year before it was Clarkston and in 2011 Lake Orion won the title.

Mikayla Blaska went 3-4 with two triples and two runs. Favazza went 3-3 with two RBI and Mariah Hood went 3-4 for Clarkston.

Dolland went 3-4 with two RBI for Lake Orion (28-11).

Clarkston coach Don Peters said he planned on using both pitchers in the final, he was just unsure when he’d make the switch. Kitchen gave up three hits and a walk to the first five batters in the fifth signaling her departure. With runners on first and third Maday came in to protect a 4-3 lead. She got McGee to hit a fly to Hannah Chadwell in left. Chadwell threw home to catcher Abby Skvarce who put the tag on Shelby Misiak to end the inning.

Clarkston regained its two-run cushion when Kitchen’s single scored Blaska from third in the bottom half of the inning.

“Madeline is a competent pitcher,” Peters said. “But I was going to go with Kitchen as the starter. I’m just comfortable with that.”

After some stressful moments, Clarkston eventually hit its comfort zone.