Detroit — Just two days after becoming the first softball coach in state history to win 1,200 games, Diane Laffey guided Warren Regina to its third consecutive Catholic League championship with a 3-2 victory over Allen Park Cabrini on a chilly Monday evening at Detroit Mercy.
Senior Marisa Muglia earned the win for the third straight year in the title game for Regina, striking out nine. She was handed a 3-0 lead in the opening inning with an RBI single by Leah Munson and a two-run double by Abby Hornberger off Cabrini sophomore Mackenzie Noah.
“I just saw the ball right down the middle and I wanted to crush it to get those two runs in and it felt amazing, especially since those were the runs that helped us win,” said Hornberger, who had high praise for her coach, Laffey. “She’s an amazing inspiration for us. Coming into this we wanted to beat Cabrini so bad since they were up in the series 2-to-1 and just to beat them felt amazing.”
Said Laffey, talking about Regina’s Catholic League championship win after winning No. 1,200 Saturday against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley: “I said 1,201 is even nicer than 1,200 right now. It’s a nice sweet victory. We wanted to jump on them early and we didn’t want the two sisters to beat us because they are outstanding players.”
Cabrini (21-4), which defeated Regina (19-9) two of the previous three games, is led by freshman catcher Lillian Vallimont and her older sister, junior Michaleigh Vallimont. They each hit nine home runs entering the day.
But Muglia didn’t allow the sisters to get a hit, walking Lillian Vallimont twice in her three at-bats.
“She’s a hard worker and she never gives up,” Laffey said of Muglia. “She doesn’t like to lose. She had the two losses to them and didn’t want a third.”
Said Muglia: “I just wanted to keep the ball down because I got in a little trouble and I just wanted to keep the ball down from having it go out of the yard. I’ve had some struggles against them (Vallimont sisters) in recent games so it was great to come back and get them out. My changeup was working really well and my screwball was working really well too.”
Regina carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth when Noah hit a home run to get Cabrini on the board. Madison Buerkle added an RBI double in the inning to cut the deficit to 3-2, but was stranded in scoring position when Muglia ended the inning with a strikeout.
Muglia retired five of six batters in the fifth and sixth by strikeouts and then closed out the game with three straight groundball outs in the seventh.