In Play with Tom Markowski

Lakeshore shows its championship form by going 7-0 last week

Softball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

 

 

 

Stevensville – Twenty games into the season and coach Denny Dock had some concerns with his Stevensville Lakeshore team.

Lakeshore returned seven starters from a team that won the Division 2 title and seemed primed to make yet another long state tournament run.

Lakeshore was 15-5, 8-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division before the Lancers moved into high gear and like a championship team. They went 7-0 during a six-day stretch capped off by a 14-1 victory over St. Joseph on Saturday in the St. Joseph Tournament title game.

“Maybe the girls were feeling some pressure,” Dock said. “Much of it was self-imposed. We were struggling at the plate, and I anticipated it.

“In the last seven games we’ve started to hit the ball. (Rachel) Clem had two home runs and, overall, we played quite well. That’s a good sign.”

Lakeshore is now 10-2 in the division, tied for first place with St. Joseph and Portage Central, a team that lost in the Division 1 final last season.

The southwest Michigan has long been a stronghold for top echelon softball, and baseball, teams in the state. And Lakeshore’s softball program is smack in the middle of this highly competitive region.

This is Dock’s 37th season as head coach and his teams have won seven state titles and were runner-up once. In the mid-to-late 90s the Lancers enjoyed their greatest success capturing titles in 1995, ’97 and ’98, and finishing second in ’96. The ’95 finished 43-1, the school’s best record.

Dock coached the football program, with much success, for 40 seasons before stepping down after the 2013 season.

Recently Dock and the school hosted a reunion for the players on those great teams and many memories were no doubt hyperbolized.

This team is without the one superstar that often places a stamp on a team’s success. Instead this club has balance throughout the lineup and on the mound.

Clem, a first baseman who signed with U-M-Dearborn, is the team’s top hitter (.380, four home runs) and is one of just two seniors.

Freshman Taylor Simon has emerged as the ace of the staff. Simon is 12-2 and her two losses were 1-0 decisions to Central and Crown Point, IN, one of the top programs in the Midwest.

Junior Belt is 10-3 and gives the Lancers two quality right-handers in whom Dock has complete confidence.

Lakeshore plays Vicksburg Monday and, looking ahead, has St. Joseph in its district, which begins May 26.