Three of Oakland County's top teams compete in same division and same district
The short season that student-athletes face participating in spring sports is not without its ups and downs.
The Red Division within the Oakland Activities Association is an example of this as teams like Clarkston, Lake Orion, Oxford and even Rochester Hills Stony Creek search for consistency amid a bit of chaos.
Lake Orion (8-4) started 2-0 in the division then lost a doubleheader to Clarkston, the preseason pick to win the division by many.
Oxford (8-3) split doubleheaders to Clarkston and Stony Creek to open its league season.
Clarkston (6-4) is in first place at 3-1 but it’s too early to tag the Wolves as the prohibitive favorite.
“It looks to be a three-team race at this point,” Lake Orion coach Joe Woityra said. “We’re still finding our way. We hit the ball well most days.
“Oxford has the pitching and three or four good hitters. Clarkston hits one through nine and they use three pitchers. Clarkston is up and down, too.”
Lake Orion defeated Oxford, 1-0, in tournament play and won’t play within the division until May 9.
Weather permitting, these teams will squeeze in 10 division games before the tournament begins May 30 with pre-district play.
Pitching will likely determine the division winner and if that holds true Oxford, with junior Kaitlyn Bean on the mound, could have the edge. Bean is a junior who committed to Central Michigan. On April 25 she tossed a no-hitter and struck out 15 in a 2-0 victory over Rochester.
“She’s throwing hard and hitting her spots,” coach Ken Allen said. “There’s no relief in the OAA Red. It’s a great softball league. There are quality teams all the way through.”
Lake Orion’s top pitcher is senior Lexi Aguilar. She was No. 2 last season and has proven to be a strong No. 1.
Other top players include Shelby Misiak who signed with Saginaw Valley state and sophomore centerfielder Tesa Nuss. Misiak has four home runs this season and Nuss is batting .590.
Clarkston is led by State Champs’ Player of the Year candidate Paige Blevins, a junior shortstop, and third baseman Hannah Chadwell who committed to Oakland. Blevins is hitting .457 with seven home runs.
Clarkston’s three starting pitchers are all underclassmen. Coach Don Peters has but one senior on the team.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association didn’t do Clarkston, Lake Orion and Oxford any favors as all three were placed in the same district, to be held at Lake Orion. The teams did catch a break as there are just four teams (Waterford Mott is the fourth) in the district, which means there is not a pre-district game. The semifinals and final will be played on June 3 and the winner will advance to the regional hosted by Clarkston. Lake Orion won the district title last season.