CLARKSTON — The Utica Eisenhower softball team saw its deepest postseason run in history come to an end, falling 4-3 to Clarkston High in a Division 1 regional title game June 10.
"I'm super proud of our girls," Eisenhower coach Bob Hall said. "We peaked at the right time, playing really good ball in the last month of the season. I'm elated at their accomplishments, very proud to see what was done this season."
Coming off the program's first district title, the Eagles fell behind 4-0 to the regional host before starting a rally in the fourth inning.
Junior third baseman Aspen Starr delivered a solo homer in the fourth, followed by RBI singles in the fifth from Madylen Zweng and Marissa Cillufo. Ike threatened with base runners in the sixth, but could not earn a lead in the contest, watching Clarkston win its second regional in three years.
"(Eisenhower) played really well, I was impressed with the fight they gave us," Clarkston coach Don Peters said. "We both fought to the very end, I thought it was a great game. I was watching Ike hit the ball the game before, and I was hoping we could do our part to keep those hits down in our game."
The Eagles pounded out eight runs in the first inning of the regional semifinals, downing Troy Athens 18-0.
"It all came down to momentum, that is huge in this sport," Hall said. "You know in the first game we had a lot of momentum and energy. A game like that is tough, because I don't want to tell my girls to stop playing, you don't want it to be a bad look. Troy Athens is a very, very good team."
Athens and Eisenhower met late in the season, with both of the same starting pitchers facing off that were featured in the regional. In that contest, Ike squeaked out an 8-7 victory in extra innings.
"That game took 11 innings, it was very close," Hall said. "Trust me, we know what they're capable of, we just had some luck today."
Hall admitted that same momentum and energy was missing from his club in the day's second game.
"We could've used the energy, it really wasn't a matter of pitching," Hall said. "We just started out a little slow and picked up some momentum later to make a game of it. Our pitchers pitched great, we knew they're a tough hitting team. They were able to get some of the best players in the state out."
Ike finished the season 24-14, with a 3-7 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Red.