By MICKEY ALVARADO
Being only a handful of miles away from one another, Tecumseh and Clinton have a rivalry as great as any other in Lenawee County. It was intensified during the Little League's 10-11 year-old softball championship at Tate Park in Clinton last Wednesday, July 29.
Fans from both towns packed the stands at Tate Park where after a week long tournament, the two rival teams wound up playing in a special game that was decided in the final inning. Tecumseh won the contest 3-2, but both teams were winners with all of Michigan awaiting the final outcome. It was, after all, for the state title.
“They had me worried all year long,” said Tecumseh coach Dave Marko. “All I can say is we had two close plays at the plate that saved us.”
The excitement was felt from start to finish. While the Tecumseh fans did the wave when their team took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning Clinton's fans yelled even louder when knotting the contest and taking the lead when it was their turn to bat.
Tecumseh's Cassandra Brown was by far the fastest base runner for her team. Coach Marko made her his exclusive replacement runner and she scored all of the team's runs. In the first inning, Brown replaced Victoria Martinez who singled and advanced to second base on a passed ball. When trying to catch her off base, Clinton overthrew the ball and Brown was able to jet around third and reach home base safely.
Clinton tied the game only momentarily before taking a 2-1 lead. To start the bottom of the third inning, Jordan Pizzo singled while Clinton pitcher Megan Nelson was walked. Samantha Jones stepped to the plate and blasted a double that scored the two runners and changed the expression on both Tecumseh's players and fans.
The Tecumseh Area Little League’s 10-11-year-old softball team beat Clinton 3-2 for the state title. Pictured are, front row (l-r), Cassandra Brown, Whitney Hite, Tyffani Bryan, Morgan Skelton, Victoria Martinez, Abigail Marko, Morgan Tanis, Jamie Hatfield Hailey Wright and Claire Burnett. Back row, coaches Jim Hatfield and Dave Marko. PHOTO BY MICKEY ALVARADO