Some squads getting stronger while others still learning
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to The Michigan Citizen
While Renaissance and Cass Tech are the softball pacesetters of the Detroit PSL, other teams are trying to establish themselves with winning programs to catch the high flying Phoenix and Technicians.
Two of the teams in the PSL West, Western International and Mumford are now playoff contenders, but both coaches are looking toward the future to go beyond playoff contenders.
Don Nolan, the head coach of the Western Cowgirls, is pleased at how his girls have made a vast improvement over last year. Last season the Cowgirls made it to the semi-finals only to fall short against Cass Tech. They made the consolation round at the PSL Championship and finished fourth.
“They’re making improvements and will be competitive with other non-PSL teams,” Nolan said. “When most PSL teams play outside the city league they have problems.
“We’re going to schedule some teams this year we can probably contend with.”
Coach Nolan is planning to schedule games with Melvindale, Allen Park Cabrini, Allen Park Inter-city Baptist, Cesar Chavez Academy and Dearborn Heights Crestwood.
“We want to develop a program to compete with the suburbs just like our boys baseball squad,” Nolan said. “In two years, we will have some decent pitching. We have some ninth graders with a little ability now.”
Over at Mumford, Kareem Hogan the schools girls’ basketball coach has already taken over a program that was down a year ago and has noticed a change for the better.
“We once had a strong program, but going from a DPS school to an EAA school kind put us behind,” Hogan said. “We had no funds for equipment and we tried to put things in perspective.
“As for PSL West contenders we’re getting better because half the team knows how to play the game. Once I taught them the fundamentals the girls caught on. I didn’t know how much they knew, but I know now.”
Like Western’s Nolan, Hogan is planning to schedule games outside the PSL with games against Oak Park, Ferndale, Southfield, Southfield Lathrup and Southfield Christian.
“The more they play the better they’re getting. These girls were a bunch of youngsters that didn’t want to play at first, but now they’re finding out how fun it is and are excited to play the game.”
Other teams showing progress in the PSL West are Cody and Communication and Media Arts.
Over in the PSL East, Head Coach Debra Oleski is starting from the ground up with nucleus of young underclassmen at King.
“I have a beginning team,” Oleski said. “We have a nice group of young ladies that are learning how to play the game.
“We don’t play outside the league because we don’t have the pitchers or pitching to compete. It would be nice that we would have a feeder program in the DPS middle schools (6-8 grades) before the ninth grade.”
All three coaches enjoy the game themselves and take it as a pleasure to coach the children.