Spearheaded by freshman pitchers Morgan Overaitis and Maddy Rosiewicz, Salem swept to victory at Saturday’s Ann Arbor Pioneer softball tournament.
The Rocks, now 7-1 overall, continue to impress veteran head coach Bonnie Southerland, who recently tallied her 400th victory as Salem coach.
“We did some really good things today,” Southerland said. “And we moved some players around in different positions (so) it was nice to see them working so well together.
“I’ve got to say both Morgan Overaitis and Maddy Rosiewicz sure pitched very well,” Southerland continued. “They kept us in the games when the bats were quiet.”
In the championship game against the host Pioneers, it was Rosiewicz who handled duties in the circle as the Rocks won 7-4. Rosiewicz went the distance, allowing seven hits.
Salem needed to rally in the late innings against Pioneer.
Trailing 4-1 in the fifth, Jamie Squires tripled in three runs to deadlock the contest.
The Rocks then took the lead in the sixth. Emily Stewart led off with a double. A bunt single by Malaleigh Silverman and another double, slammed by Caroline Miller, made it a 6-4 Salem advantage. Miller then scored on a hit by Kristin Mihalic (3-for-4).
In the earlier games, the Rocks earned wins of 11-1 over Grosse Isle (five innings), 5-3 and then 1-0 in the semifinals over Hanover.
In the latter, the game that catapulted Salem into the championship game, Overaitis held Hanover to three hits and struck out four in five innings. She was relieved by Rosiewicz who closed it out with a pair of 1-2-3 innings.
On offense, Mihalic had two hits in three at-bats with one safety each registered by Kara Hutchison, Stewart, Silverman, Rosiewicz and Maranda Armstead.
Overaitis and Stewart combined to pitch the Rocks’ opening win over Grosse Isle, which ended after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Stewart also helped the offense with two hits and two RBI while Squires tripled in three runs.
Salem’s 5-3 win over Hanover in the Rocks’ second game of the day featured a three-run rally in the sixth to tie the game and a winning rally in the seventh.
After the Rocks went ahead, Southerland said outfielder Abbie Riedel “made a breathtaking grab on a deep fly ball. Without that catch, the game could have changed.”
Contributors to the Salem attack were Mihalic (3-for-4), Overaitis and Squires (two hits each), Stewart (single) and Hutchison (double).
Happy about 400
One of Salem’s first wins of the season, against Wayne Memorial, gave Southerland her 400th victory at the helm of the varsity Rocks.
Southerland coached 10 years with the JV before taking over the varsity in 1995.
“It’s a nice number,” Southerland said. “Every year you’re like ‘Oh, is this going to be my last year?” But then you get another group of amazing kids come in like this year, it’s hard to walk away. Now we shoot for 500.”
She said 400 victories was a milestone that the Rocks should have achieved in 2014, “but I’m happy to get it with this team because I know this team’s going to do great things.”