According to Macomb Community College softball coach Joe Cavataio, each year, the three primary goals of the program are to aim for conference, state and regional championships.
While it is too early to determine how things will play out going forward, Macomb is off to a strong start, as at press time, the Monarchs had a 7-1 record in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCAA) Eastern Conference.
Although capturing a conference and state title would be a bonus, the big prize is a regional championship. If the Monarchs can accomplish that task, it will earn them a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series, where along with 15 other regional champions from various parts of the country, they would have an opportunity to compete for a championship.
Macomb last made it as far as nationals in 2009, where Cavataio said the Monarchs finished ninth in the country. Getting back there would be no small matter to Cavataio, who is in his sixth season as Macomb’s head coach.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Cavataio said. “We work so hard with the kids; they put in so much time. Sometimes, you feel like they deserve to be there. That’s why it means so much — when you ask the team to do that, and they put in the time and effort, you want them to be rewarded for all that, and it’s a great reward.”
Cavataio has been pleased with how things have been going for Macomb on the recruiting front. Aside from success on the field, he cited academics, the Monarchs’ coaching staff and the opportunity to move on to a four-year university academically and/or athletically as reasons the program has been able to land quality recruits.
Cavataio offered a positive outlook regarding the state of Macomb’s softball program.
“I think we are in the best position we’ve been in,” said Cavataio, who said last year’s squad was Macomb’s Academic Team of the Year for having the highest grade point average among the school’s athletic teams. “I think we’re starting to establish ourselves as one of the better programs in the state. High-level softball players are coming to Macomb. We’re starting to attract some high-level ballplayers throughout the state, and I think that’s where all this work is starting to pay off. I think the program is in a real good spot right now.”
The NJCAA Division 2 regional tournament is scheduled for May 14-17 at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
Local players on the Monarchs’ roster are Erin Schuch (Macomb L’Anse Creuse North High School), Brittany Misiak (Utica), Nicole Vitale (Sterling Heights Stevenson), Bryana Opalewski (Fraser), Jessica Steele (Warren Regina) and Maya Flores (Farmington Hills Mercy).