The 1994 Lake Fenton softball team was supposed to be the squad to possibly capture a Class C state title.
It didn’t happen.
The team lost its first game, went on to win 39 straight games and then lost to Ida 6-4 in the state semifinals.
When the 1995 season began, only four seniors remained — and just three were starters. So the same goals weren’t placed upon that squad as the one a year earlier. However, that changed with one tournament.
“I remember we went to a tournament at Southfield Christian or someplace like that and we lost two games both in the eighth inning by the international tiebreaker,” Lake Fenton All-State pitcher Amy (Lukowski) Blair said. “We weren’t able to come back in either of those games but it helped light a fire. From there on out it helped light a fire under us and I don’t think we lost another game.”
The Blue Devils went on to win the school’s only softball state championship, defeating area rivals Goodrich 10-6 in the title game. Twenty-four years later, the squad is earning another honor. The Lake Fenton 1995 softball team will be one of the 2019 inductees into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame. The event will be held Dec. 7 at the Genesys Banquet and Conference Center. Fenton’s legendary athlete Julie Decker also will be inducted. There will be a future story detailing Decker’s induction.
“Seeing everybody again is pretty exciting,” Blair said. “I am looking forward to seeing a few girls I haven’t seen awhile. … It’s quite an honor. When you see the athletes that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years, it’s great to be a part of that.”
“I am happy for the girls and for Lake Fenton schools,” 1995 softball coach Jerry Cowan said. “It’s nice to see that team get recognized and I’m looking forward to the banquet.”
The Blue Devils lost many senior starters, but still had Lukowski on the mound, giving them one of the state’s strongest pitchers. However, while the team went 31-5, nothing came easy.
“We almost didn’t get out of districts,” Cowan said. “Probably our toughest game in the tournament was in the semifinal against Clinton. It was a 1-0 game and Clinton was a really good team. We almost gave it away in the finals, but we came back and won it.”
The championship contest was against Goodrich, which seems strange considering most seasons those squads end up in the same district. But for some reason, that year their brackets didn’t run into each other until the state championship match.
“We faced Goodrich of all teams in the state championship,” Lukowski said.
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“It was great to be able to go that far into the state tournament and then face Goodrich in the state finals. They were our rivals but they also were girls who we played against and with for many years. That was a special memory. It was a cool thing.”
The Blue Devils trailed 2-0 after the first inning and 6-2 entering the fifth. However, Lake Fenton’s potent offense came to life with six runs in the top of the fifth. Nicole Hind hit the game-tying two-run single while Jackie Reddy followed with a two-run double. Lake Fenton followed the six-run fifth with two more runs in the sixth. The Blue Devils had seven errors but were able to overcome those miscues.
Lukowski struck out eight batters, walked two and allowed five hits. The Blue Devils had 13 hits with Kathryn Nordin collecting four of them. The victory was Lake Fenton’s third against the Martians during the season. Blair ended up pitching at the University of Toledo while Nordin played at Alma University.
“There just wasn’t any drama,” Cowan said. “They were a close-knit team that had each other’s backs. When the going got tough, they came through when they had to.”
“What makes this team special is we had to band together to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish,” Blair said. “It’s an honor to be acknowledged for this and I am looking forward to the banquet and being with the girls.”