Regionals this Saturday against Fenton High
By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
On the heels of a 23-14 regular season, the Oxford Wildcat softball program began Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) District No. 4 play at Grand Blanc High School on June 5.
The Wildcats’ first action came in the semifinal round, but the five-team district received a large shock in the June 1 quarterfinal when the Davison Cardinals upset the host Bobcats, 2-1. Grand Blanc, headed by arguably the state’s top pitcher in senior southpaw Kendall Klochack, a Purdue Boilermakers signee, ended the regular season ranked as the second-best Division 1 team in the state by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association (MHSSCA).
In the semifinal round, Oxford walked off the Holly Bronchos, 3-2.
Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, senior first baseman Caroline Marsh laid down the game-deciding bunt, scoring classmate Alexis Cardona, the Wildcats’ second baseman.
Cardona tallied three of Oxford’s seven hits in the contest, with right fielder Alexis Stoll, another senior, recording the team’s only extra-base knock, an RBI double for the game’s first run in the third inning.
Junior Abby Witt worked all seven innings in the circle for the Wildcats, allowing seven hits, walking two, striking out four, and throwing 65 of her 87 pitches for strikes.
Securing their place in the district championship game, Oxford tangled with Davison, who knocked off the Lapeer Lightning, 6-2, in their semifinal.
With the Wildcats and Cardinals combining for just seven hits, this game was a pitchers’ duel in every sense of the term, but Oxford did enough to prevail, 1-0, and clinch the district championship.
Annah Burdua, a junior right-hander, worked a complete game for the Wildcats, surrendering just five hits, issuing three bases on balls, and fanning a pair.
Senior designated hitter Maddy Lovins recorded the game’s only RBI, a sacrifice bunt scoring junior third baseman Mya Spisz in the top of the fifth.
Oxford will next face the Fenton Tigers, the district No. 3 champions and member of the Flint Metro League (FML), in an MHSAA Regional No. 1 semifinal at Bay City Central High School on Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Midland Chemics and Traverse City West Titans will battle in the other Regional No. 1 semifinal at 12 p.m., with the two winners competing for a trip to the state quarterfinals at 2 p.m.
Oxford has the benefit of having played Fenton previously in 2021, splitting a home doubleheader with the Tigers on May 19, winning the first, 8-4, and dropping the second, 4-3.
With these two district victories, the Wildcats’ overall record now stands at 25-14 (6-4 Oakland Activities Association Red Division).
Stoll has been the team’s standout hitter, boasting a .533 batting average (63-for-118) with eight doubles, five triples, four home runs, and 42 RBI.
Spisz has driven in a team-high 50 runs and is hitting .406 (48-for-118), while Cardona, the team’s leadoff hitter for the duration of the season, checks in at .423 (61-for-144).
Center fielder Emma Morris, a senior and Lake Erie Storm signee, missed the program’s first 13 games of the campaign as she worked her way back from a broken left wrist suffered during the basketball season, but has found her groove since her return, hitting .337 (28-for-83) with 15 extra-base hits, including a team-leading five home runs.
On the pitching side, Abby Witt has appeared in 25 games, starting 20 of them, posting a 13-7 record and 4.40 earned run average (ERA) over 103.1 innings. Burdua has pitched in 13 games (five starts), registering a 4-1 record and 4.00 ERA in 36.2 frames.