Clarkston advances to first quarterfinal since 2004 with 11-2 win over Romeo
Rochester – While waiting is always a hard thing to do, Clarkston didn’t let the wait between its regional semifinal and regional final games slow the Wolves down after a thrilling finish to start the day.
First the Wolves needed a come-from-behind win over Troy in the regional semifinal, where Clarkston plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh to advance to the regional final.
In the regional final against Romeo, Clarkston’s late game rally carried right over into the start of the game as the Wolves jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning and cruised to a 11-2 win and into the Division 1 quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.
In the quarterfinal, Clarkston (40-2) will meet Farmington Hills Mercy, which advanced with a win over Waterford Kettering on Saturday, on Tuesday afternoon at Novi high school.
Clarkston coach Don Peters said he believed that the momentum his team gained from the semifinal game against Troy carried over into the regional final.
“Absolutely, we had to come back and win that game,” he said. “With the girls, I think that energy stayed with them and they’re a focused bunch of girls. They’ve worked, just like Romeo has, really, really hard all year and you could see that they just came out determined.”
The first inning couldn’t have gone much better for the Wolves as Clarkston shortstop and State Champs! Player of the Year candidate, Rachel Vieira connected for a 3-run home run to give her team a 3-0 lead.
Vieira said that wasn’t hitting as well as she would have liked at the beginning of the postseason and that her first inning home run was her opportunity to get things going for herself and her teammates.
“I hadn’t been seeing the ball too well in the beginning of the playoffs,” she said. “My teammates have been picking me up the whole season and I just said that it was my turn to help them out this time and get the ball rolling for us and everyone followed suit after that.”
The very next batter, Abby Skvarce launched a home run of her own to push the Clarkston lead to 4-0 before Romeo (36-4) had even recorded an out.
Later in the inning, Victoria Sharkey drove in another run for the Wolves to make it 5-0.
“That sets the tone,” Peters said of the five-run first inning. “That says that if you’re going to play us, you’re coming to a dogfight. We’re going to come at you and that’s what they do every game, they’re going to play hard.”
Clarkston would tack on another run in the second inning on an RBI single from Paige Blevins, before Romeo would finally get on track offensively in the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Breanna Olley to cut the deficit to 6-2.
The Wolves would answer back in the next inning as they would plate four runs in the fifth, two on a double off the bat of Mikayla Blaska, followed by an RBI double from Vieira and Skvarce would tally another RBI on a single.
“We have a lot of seniors, which has helped with the leadership aspect of it,” said Vieira of her team’s success this season. “We have seven seniors out here fighting for their lives and it could be the last game that we ever play in this uniform, so we’re all working together and the chemistry on this team from the beginning of the season has been fantastic.
Clarkston would add one final run in the sixth inning as Blevins accounted for the third home run of the day for her team, bringing the score to 11-2.