FARMINGTON HILLS — The Farmington Hills Mercy softball team has some big goals this season.
The Marlins are confident that they can be one of the top teams in the Catholic High School League, compete for a Catholic League tournament title and make a run in the state tournament.
Mercy is just a few years removed from a Division 1 state title and is motivated to get back there. At press time, the Marlins were 3-2 overall.
“This program has a lot of greatness in its history. They won a state championship in 2016, so we want to get back there. That’s the goal. We know that there’s a lot of work that goes into that,” assistant coach Kayce Nieto said.
Nieto graduated from Mercy in 2012 and played softball at the University of Utah.
The Marlins’ lone senior, Sarah Cassidy, is injured, so the team has been relying on juniors and sophomores to carry the load.
A few standouts for Mercy thus far have been sophomore outfielder Maggie Murphy, sophomore infielder Grace Nieto, junior catcher Dunya Kizy, junior pitchers Julia Crowley and Sam Shea, freshman infielder Kendall Spivey, and junior infielder Caroline Carlson.
Murphy leads the team in batting average (.471), home runs (three) and RBIs (13); Carlson is just behind Murphy with a .467 average to go along with seven runs scored; and Spivey is hitting .438 with four runs scored and five RBIs.
Nieto and Kizy are both hitting above .385 with a combined 10 runs scored and four doubles. On the mound, Shea is 1-0 with a 2.86 ERA and 10 strikeouts. Crowley is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 16 strikeouts.
“It makes me proud that they do want to work hard, and they come to every practice and they’re here. It’s very infrequent that they have to go do something else. They are committed to the team as well as the parents,” head coach Jerry Ashe said.
A big help for the Marlins this season is their schedule. Playing in the Catholic League allows them to see some of the toughest competition in the state.
Early on in the season, Mercy has split a doubleheader with Warren Regina, which was ranked No. 6 in D-1 in the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association March 19 poll.
Mercy will also play games against Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, which won three consecutive D-3 state titles from 2015 to 2017, while also competing in multiple tournaments that feature top teams from around the state.
“I think we should be pretty good. Hopefully finish pretty high up in our league. Hoping to win districts this year since we fell short last year. I’m really excited to see what the season holds,” Murphy said.
Mercy’s next game will be at 4:30 p.m. April 12 at Allen Park Cabrini. Cabrini came in at No. 6 in D-3 in the state rankings.