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SOFTBALL: Upstart St. Catherine in midst of miracle campaign, burning up the diamond in state tourney

By: Scott Burnstein, June 6, 2013, 9:00 am

WIXOM – Cinderella is draped in purple this spring

In its first year of existence, the purple-clad Wixom St. Catherine softball team shocked the state and won a Division 4 district title.

Last weekend, the Siena Stars clobbered host Southfield Christian 13-3 in the district semifinals and then stunned district-favorite and Catholic League champion Royal Oak Shrine 4-1 in the district finals to secure the unexpected diamond crowning.

“These young ladies put in a lot of hard work to get to this point,” said St. Catherine skipper Bob Green after the Shrine game. “I’m surprised, but then on the other hand I’m not, when I consider this group of players.”

Green has led the club to an impressive 17-5 record.

Junior hurler Mary Green, the Siena Stars’ ace in the circle and the skip’s daughter, spun a beauty in the district-championship finale versus Shrine, scattering only four hits and striking out 10 batters. Sophomore Sarah Choate highlighted St. Catherine’s offensive assault, going 2-for-3 with a double, triple and two RBI and two runs-scored.

The Siena Stars, a club with no seniors, snapped a streak of three consecutive districts won by Shrine with Southfield Christian acting as the host site.

Green is a talented and tenacious pitcher, the type of spinner getting serious looks by college recruiters. She could have chosen to go to a traditional Catholic League softball school like Farmington Hills Mercy or Livonia Ladywood, but instead decided to help build a program with her pops in Wixom.

“Mary took a chance coming to school here at St. Catherine and to see it payoff like this with a district championship is just such a tremendous feeling for the both of us,” said the elder Green, whose proven an insightful and inspiring dugout tactician guiding the proverbial purple ship’s inaugural season at sea.

The construction process wasn’t an easy one. Starting a junior varsity team in 2011, Green was forced to troll the school’s classrooms looking to recruit girls to join the squad the past two years. He slowly cobbled together what has become a rock-solid varsity squad this spring, one that has great promise for the future when you consider the youth factor.

“The young girls have all stepped up to the task,” he said. “We asked quite a bit from them and they delivered. They went up to the plate with no fear and strung together timely hits like veterans. That made me very proud.”  

St. Catherine is set to square off with Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett Saturday morning in the opening round of regionals on Liggett’s home field.