In Play with Tom Markowski

Monroe takes down Plymouth, then goes 11 innings to defeat Allen Park in D1 region final

Softball   | Tom Markowski

Monroe takes down Plymouth, then goes 11 innings to defeat Allen Park in D1 region final

Dearborn – Some days are longer than others and some days are better than others.

Check both boxes for the Monroe softball program.

Monroe, behind senior right-hander Shayna Frank, upset Plymouth and its star pitcher, Jenny Bressler, 2-1, in a Division 1 regional semifinal then outlasted Allen Park, 4-3, in 11 innings at Dearborn Edsel Ford to win its first region title since 2012.

Monroe (29-8) led 3-0 after four innings and then watched the Jaguars tie the game with three runs in the top of the fifth. The key hit for Allen Park was Isabel Slate’s two-run single with two strikes and two outs.

The score remained tied but the drama hit a peak in the Monroe half of the ninth when Erica Everson singled to center with the potential winner run on second base. Frank attempted to score from second with two outs but Slate’s throw home beat Frank catcher Alyssa Lake applied the tag.

Allen Park (28-4) had back-to-back singles with two outs in the 10th but Frank bore down and got Hailey Genaw on a fly to left.

Entering the 11th each team began the inning with a runner on second, according to National Federation of State High Schools rules.

Genaw reached third on a fly out then, on a bunt in front of the plate, was cut down at home, Frank to catcher Samantha Spicer to end the threat.

Andi Martin was Monroe coach James Davis’ choice to start the inning at second and Martin moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Frank’s younger sister, Haley. Nicole Sieler hit a ground ball and the play was not executed properly and Martin scored.

“It was a mistake on my part,” Davies said of his decision to send Sieler home on the play. “We usually are aggressive on the bases. We wanted to have the ball go past the pitcher but we caught a break.

“We had a lot of opportunities. We made some mistakes (in the fifth) and they scored three runs. We did this on guts. Frank is a three-year starter for us and in her maturing process she’s been able to handle adversity.”

The victory over Plymouth was an emotional one and, again, Monroe caught a break. The Trojans played the first semifinal and had time to put those emotions to rest as they watched Allen Park defeat Ypsilanti Lincoln, 5-1.

“It was a huge confidence booster,” Sieler said of the win over Plymouth. “I’m a junior and they eliminated us the last two years in the regionals. It was fun. It was frustrating all the chances we had (against Allen Park). It was a full team effort.”

Monroe left 12 base runners on. The Trojans left the bases loaded in the third when Sydni Uhlenberg, the winning pitcher in the semifinal, came in relief of Brenna McAllister and got the final out.

“When we were down 3-0,” Allen Park coach Patsy Curnell said. “We’ve been doing that all year. No one fights like this (team) does.”

The star of the day was Frank. She allowed nine hits, four in the fifth, struck out 12 and did not allow a walk.

“I just had to keep the pitches low,” she said. “I was getting them up and out in the fifth.

“I’m stoked. I’m excited. We were up after Plymouth. I was ready to go. I was ready.”

Frank will almost assuredly ready to go on Tuesday against Mattawan in a quarterfinal at Chelsea at 4 p.m.