East Lansing  — For the first time in program history, the Allen Park softball team is the Division 1 state champion.

Allen Park defeated Macomb Dakota, 5-0, on Saturday at Secchia  Stadium to earn the title, benefiting from a sound  outing from pitcher Morgan Sizemore. The junior  allowed five  hits on the way to  a complete-game shutout.

“(Sizemore) is not a pitcher by trade, she’s the hitter, ” Allen park coach Michael Kish said. “But both of our pitchers, they step up for us because we need them. But Morgan, she doesn’t throw the hardest. She might hit 60 (miles per hour) on a good day, but she changes speed and she hits her spots and she spins the ball. She’s perfect for us. ”

Megan Nuechterlein did her best to counter Sizemore, giving up four hits, four runs and two walks along with six strikeouts over six innings for Dakota (33-5).

Although these heights have never been reached by Allen Park (39-4-1), Kish stated he expected his team to win it all this season.

“(Winning is) not as exciting as I hoped, it’s more of this is how it’s supposed to be. Like, we planned for it, ” he said. “These girls put so much time and so much energy into it, they’ve earned it. …  I tell everybody, I ask so much of these girls to do over and more. The more you invest, the bigger the return.

“This is it, this is exactly what was supposed to happen. ”

The most productive inning for Allen Park was a three-run flurry  in the third. Freshman Kiley Carr opened scoring with an RBI triple and scored one batter later when  fellow first-year player Makayla Sitarski reached base and advanced to second on a throwing error.

Sophomore Avery Garden eventually bunted  Sitarski home to give Allen Park a 3-0 lead.

“I can’t speak enough about our freshmen, ” Kish mentioned. “I say it all the time, they’re dynamic. … They have so much experience traveling. We played a top-notch competition all year long, so coming in here, they’re used to this now. ”

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Senior Madilyn Ramey, a Michigan commit,   had a signature performance in the last high school game of her career. The shortstop launched a solo home run in the sixth inning and flashed the leather with a couple highlight-reel plays in the infield.

“She’s just a gamer, ” Kish said of Ramey. “(The) first time I watched the girl play, she had just come off from playing baseball. I think she was 10 or 12 or something. In the back of my mind (I was thinking), it’s like if you ever take a ball plus throw it to a golden retriever, it’s never touching the ground, right? And that’s what this kid did and we put her in the outfield as a freshman.

“And she’s just an athlete, and that’s it. She’s a competitor, but the girl plays the game like the 10-year-old girl that just fell in love with the game. Every single time. There is no pressure ever. ”

Allen Park’s first title comes 364 days after it lost 5-0 to South Lyon in last season’s championship game, and Kish said his team put in the necessary work to get another title shot.

“(We had) 6: 00 a. m. workouts. All of us pushed them after practice. We had 12-hour days. We all did everything we could (to get back here), ” he said. “We did the particular mental training, we did the teamwork building, the culture stuff. All these things on top of the play.

“The more you invest, it’s going to be worth it. …  We knew we had the talent (to win), that’s not an issue. It’s more of the confidence, more of the family, take care of each other. There’s a lot of stories we share about family members, and you know when you have the particular support of your family you can do anything, and that’s where we’re at. ”

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Twitter: @Rich_Silva18

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