Senior softball players look forward to final games

ISHPEMING / NEGAUNEE — It’s a popular opinion that seniors tend to slack off at the end of their high school careers. But that’s not the case in the U.P. for the seniors on three local high school softball teams. For more, here’s ABC 10’s Sam Ali.

The high school softball season is wrapping up this week and next week will be the start of the district playoffs. Ishpeming has been one of several teams that featured a very young roster.

But thanks to seniors Sinead Korvela and Haily Thompson, they at least look like a very experienced team.

“Both of them have different qualities. They’re both very good leaders, very quiet leaders. Great hard–workers and set a great example for the younger kids. Sinead just puts us on her back and carries us at times so she’s a superstar for sure,” McGuire said.

And as for a deep run in the playoffs, the team says that’s been the goal since last season.

“It would mean a lot to me and Hailly to do that. The first two to go all four years with the program and finally get a win,” said Korvela.

“It would mean everything. We made it so close last year and it was heartbreaking to lose so it would be really nice to just win this year,” Thompson said. Negaunee is in a similar situation with two seniors on their team: Lauren Anderson and Nicole Violetta, who tend to show leadership with their play on the field.

“They’ve both been solid and steady. They go about their business. They don’t say a whole lot. They’re not that typical senior that if someone else is slacking off, you kind of want them to jump on them sometimes and that’s not their personality,” Carlson said.

The Miners are well–prepared for the districts next week and they think people are overlooking them as a team that could make a deep run.

“I feel like we’re going to do a lot better than we have been because it’s the last few games we have. And we’ve been a lot better at hitting because when we started off the season, we haven’t been doing so well,” said Anderson.

“It would be really nice to get far in districts because we obviously try to get far. It would be really cool since I’m a senior just to keep going. Once you’re done, you’re done. Every year, we lose and you can look forward to next year but you can’t anymore,” Violetta said.

Westwood is also looking to surprise some teams in the districts, hoping for a similar result to one of the teams during the winter sports season.

Hannah Salmi is the lone senior for the Patriots and she wants to experience something like that one last time.

“It would mean a lot to me because we definitely tried to carry momentum from the boys basketball team into our season, especially playing Ishpeming. Coach says “take it from the boys basketball team. You can do this”, giving us a motivational speech. So it would definitely mean a lot to go far into the season considering it’s my last year,” Salmi said.

Like many softball programs, the Patriots are in their fourth year and head coach Libbie Nelson says they couldn’t have done it without the support of the community.

“There have been a lot of community members and organizations that have helped us do what we need to do, as far as financing, and one of those big ones lately has been the Community Foundation of Marquette County and also Tilden Township at our home field, so I just want to thank all the folks that are affiliated with those programs,” Nelson said.

The high school softball district tourney begins next Tuesday and may the best team win.