Forgettable Start, Unforgettable Finish

June 13, 2015

By Bill Khan
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING — The goal for Warren Regina after eight games wasn't to win an MHSAA softball championship.

It was much simpler than that: Just win one game. 

Although records don't exist for such things, it's safe to assume that Regina is the first team to win an MHSAA championship after starting a season 0-8 (without forfeits).

The journey from frustration to elation concluded Saturday with a 5-0 victory over Caledonia in the Division 1 title game at Michigan State University. 

Regina finished with a 27-16 record but more importantly, was 7-0 during the MHSAA tournament. The Saddlelites allowed only eight runs and had three shutouts in those seven games.

Once Regina's record hit 3-11, a team meeting was convened. 

"We talked about, 'Hey, we have a lot of team talent. Why waste it this year?'" said senior pitcher Marissa Tiano, who pitched a two-hitter and struck out nine against Caledonia.

It was the kind of start that Regina's players can make light of in retrospect. 

"We actually made jokes about it," said Regina junior Nicole Roeske, who was 3 for 3 in the Final. "It's a whole different team, like a family now. At the beginning, we were frustrated with losing."

Legendary Regina coach Diane Laffey said that, in her role as athletic director, she was partially to blame for the slow start.

"I was probably stupid," said Laffey, who has won 1,066 games in 45 years as Regina's coach. "I front-loaded the schedule and probably shouldn't have. Of those eight losses, two were to Mercy, two were to Ladywood, two were to Romeo, two were to Dakota. Those are all good teams. We weren't losing to flukes, but it gets really frustrating." 

The only frustration Saturday was experienced by the Caledonia hitters, who couldn't get to third base and reached second only twice. The Fighting Scots' most reliable way to reach base was getting hit by pitches. They were hit three times, walked twice and had only two singles.

"We didn't show the kind of team we are today," Caledonia coach Tom Kaechele said. "She had us guessing up there. We just didn't adjust, but that's the game of softball. That's why you compete at this level. We just played at the highest level we could in Division 1, and there are 199 other schools who would like to be here just like us." 

The game was scoreless through three innings before Regina broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth. Roeske led off with a single and scored on a two-out triple to right-center field by Hailey Reese.

"Knowing my team, I knew all we needed was one big hit and we'd win the game," Reese said. "I had faith in them." 

The Saddlelites busted it open with a four-run fifth inning.

On a 3-2 pitch, Riley Hison lined a double deep to left field to score two runs. Hison moved to third on a throwing error and scored on a pitch in the dirt. Sydney Spatafore scored the final run of the fifth just before a tag on a runner going from second to third ended the inning. 

Caledonia (34-5) had batters hit by pitches in each of the last three innings, but neither got past first base.

Regina has a 6-0 record in MHSAA Finals, winning its first title since going on a four-year run from 2004-07. 

"Our picture goes up in the gym along with the other ones," Tiano said. "It feels great."

Caledonia was playing beyond the regional round for the first time. 

"We're disappointed, obviously," Kaechele said. "This team has overcome a lot of adversity this year. To be 34-5 is an awfully good season. I told them to make sure you celebrate this moment and look at the accomplishments you've had this year. We've never been here before. We've never won a Regional before. You need to celebrate that for the program, the community and yourselves."

Click for the box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Longtime Regina coach Diane Laffey hoists her team’s championship trophy Saturday. (Middle) Regina’s Lauren Buckowski tries to beat a throw to first base with Hannah Horvath covering. 

Be the Referee: Appeal Play

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 29, 2024

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Appeal Play - Listen

We’re on the diamond, and we’ve got the bases loaded with one out. The batter hits a fly ball, and all three runners take off. The fly ball is caught for out number two. The fielder throws to first base for out number three – which is technically an appeal play, not a force out, with the runner leaving early. But before that out is recorded, the runner who left third base early crosses the plate.

Does that run count?

It depends!

If the defense appeals to third base before leaving the field of play, they would be awarded a fourth out, and the run would not count.

But if they fail to appeal, or if they all run to the dugout before realizing an appeal is needed, then yes, the run would count – even though the runner failed to tag up.

Previous Editions

May 21: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen
May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen

(Photo by Gary Shook.)