The Olivet High School varsity softball team claimed its second straight district title last weekend and is just hours away from taking on South Haven in an MHSAA Division 2 regional semifinal game at Stevensville Lakeshore High School.
Anyone who has watched the Lady Eagles play over the last two seasons cannot be surprised that they are still alive in the state tournament. In fact, most local fans probably expected the squad to at least win conference and district championships this spring – which is exactly what they did.
Those high expectations are not the same on a state level, however, as Olivet enters Saturday’s four-team regional tournament as the only participant not ranked in the most recent Michigan High School Softball Coaches’ Association Division 2 poll. South Haven (28-8) is listed as an honorable mention, while Lakeshore and Three Rivers are ranked first and fifth, respectively.
According to Coach Jeff Taylor, the Eagles (24-11) are not concerned with polls.
“Rankings are something I’ve really never been interested in,” he said. “Being ranked or not does not validate the amount of success your team has achieved.”
Taylor doesn’t need rankings either to tell him that Saturday’s opponent will be a challenge. Olivet played South Haven earlier this season, losing 7-2 to the Rams at the Gull Lake Invitational in late April.
“I think we have a good chance of beating South Haven if we play smart,” he said. “When we played them earlier, it was 0-0 through five innings. A couple of defensive lapses and not being consistent offensively proved to be our downfall…but we are not the same team as we were then.”
Olivet and South Haven are scheduled to play at 12:00 noon. The other semifinal game starts at 10:00 AM, pitting Lakeshore against Three Rivers. The championship game is slated for approximately 2:00 PM. The winner of Saturday’s regional will advance to the MHSAA Division 2 quarterfinal at Hope College on Tuesday, June 12.