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No. 2 Allen Park, No. 1 South Lyon highlight softball quarterfinals

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Madi Ramey, left, and Riley Kish look to lead Allen Park back to the state semifinals.

In last season's softball playoffs, Allen Park defeated Farmington Hills Mercy, 9-5, in a Division 1 semifinal at Michigan State. The Jaguars then fell to South Lyon in the championship game.

Allen Park and Mercy won’t be playing in the Final Four this time around. Why? The teams will be playing in a state quarterfinal Tuesday at 4:30 at Wayne State for the right to make a return trip to East Lansing this weekend.

Allen Park made its first state semifinal appearance since 1990 last season, then took advantage of the opportunity.

With 11 of 12 players returning, Allen Park earned a No. 20 national ranking in the USA Today poll earlier this season, and it's now ranked No. 2 in the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association ranking, carrying a 35-4-1 record into its quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 Mercy (31-3). Mercy won the Division 1 state championship in 2016.

“We had a good talk on Wednesday, and you could see the energy, positivity and confidence in the kids, so it was good to see,” said Allen Park coach Mike Kish, who noted a month ago he sensed the pressure his players were feeling from the national attention.

“We had a tough game with Garden City (8-6 regional semifinal win) with Barry Patterson finishing his final year as head coach there. He was a co-founder with Finesse, a program I’ve been a part of, so it was bittersweet and hopefully, it was like passing the torch and I can do some of the same special things he did at Garden City.”

Allen Park shortstop Madi Ramey (4) will play at Michigan.

Patterson guided Garden City to the Division 1 state championship in 2008, then to state semifinal appearances in 2010, ’12 and ’13, earning more than 800 career wins in a coaching career that started in 1987 at the school.

Allen Park defeated Woodhaven, 12-2, in the regional final game, while Mercy defeated Grosse Pointe North, 4-1, in the semifinal, then St. Clair Shores Lakeview, 10-0, in the title game.

“Mercy had a team with a couple of big-time hitters last season, one (shortstop Grace Nieto) who made the All-Big Ten Freshmen team at Northwestern and another (second baseman) Maggie Murphy who was MAC Freshman of the Year at Miami,” noted Kish. “Now, Mercy doesn’t have that type of a hitting team, but it does have a power pitcher in Kaitlyn Pallozzi. We’ve gone 16-2 against top-10 teams this season, so we’ve faced great pitching and have done well.”

Pallozzi, a 6-foot freshman right-hander, is 12-0 with a 0.57 earned-run average for Mercy, striking out 218 in 86.2 innings while giving up just 16 hits in 16 games.

Allen Park senior shortstop Madi Ramey, who will be playing for Michigan next year, is hitting .490 with six home runs and 39 RBI. She hit a grand slam in a seven-run fourth inning in the state semifinal win over Mercy last year.

Sophomore Avery Garden leads Allen Park in home runs (nine) and RBI (49).

South Lyon pitcher Ava Bradshaw struck out all nine batters she faced for a perfect game in the regional final.

Defending state champion and top-ranked South Lyon will be facing Mattawan in a state quarterfinal at Adrian College Tuesday, following the Division 3 state quarterfinal between Algonac and Grass Lake, which gets underway at 4.

South Lyon sophomore pitcher Ava Bradshaw was recently named Michigan Gatorade Softball Player of the Year. Bradshaw threw a three-hitter in a 5-0 in win over Allen Park in the state final last season.

Algonac won its first regional championship in program history Saturday, getting the job done in dominating style with an 18-0 semifinal win over Canton Prep. That was followed by a 16-0, three-inning title-game win over Grosse Pointe Liggett, as sophomore Kenna Bommarito struck out all nine batters she faced for a perfect game.

Quarterfinals schedule

All games Tuesday

Division 1

Mattawan vs. South Lyon, 6 at Adrian College

Allen Park vs. Farmington Hills Mercy, 4:30 at Wayne State

Fenton vs. Hudsonville, 1 at Northwood

Walled Lake Northern vs. Macomb Dakota, 7:30 at Marysville City Park

Division 2

Detroit Country Day vs. Essexville Garber, 1 at Saginaw Valley State

Trenton vs. Center Line, 4 at Trenton

Escanaba vs. Hudsonville Unity Christian, 4 at Northwood

Stevensville Lakeshore vs. Jackson Northwest, 3 at Kalamazoo College

Division 3

Richmond vs. Millington, 4 at Saginaw Valley State

Grass Lake vs. Algonac, 4 at Adrian College

Grandville Calvin Christian vs. Parchment, 10:30 a.m. at Cornerstone College

Kalkaska vs. Evart, 1:30 at Cadillac

Division 4

Onekama vs. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 5 at Cadillac

Kalamazoo Christian vs. Ottawa Lake Whiteford, 5:30 at Kalamazoo College

Riverview Gabriel Richard vs. Unionville-Sebewaing, 5:30 at Marysville City Park

Pickford vs. Hillman, 5 at Sault Ste. Marie