Hartland, Howell play for KLAA softball title — with broadcast link

The Hartland and Howell softball teams have met once already this season.

They expect, if all goes well, to meet again in the state tournament in June.

Today, though, the KLAA championship is on the line at Novi High School. The game will be broadcast by The Livingston Post. Click here for the link.

They finished 1-2 in the KLAA East and both won their semifinal games by mercy rule.

“These girls really like playing each other,” Hartland coach Taylor Wagner said. “It’s always so competitive and they enjoy each other’s company.”

That’s because the players on opposite teams today are often teammates in the summer and have played for coaches on both teams.

Hartland won their first meeting, sweeping a doubleheader at Howell 13-3 and 6-3.

“Those games were pretty close except for an inning where things went sideways,” Howell coach Ron Pezzoni says, referring to a nine-run outburst in the opener.

No one expects that to happen again. Both teams are batting well over .300 as a group, and both have solid pitching. Rachel Everett and Kylie Swierkos have pitched Hartland to a 22-2 record, while Avery Wolverton is 20-1 for the Highlanders, who are 27-4-1.

It’s likely, though, that Jane Anderson will get the start for Howell. She’s 6-2 in 17 games, nine of them starts, with a solid 1.88 ERA.

“She’s pitched really well the last week and a half,” Pezzoni said. “She beat an Allen Park team that I believe is one of the best hitting teams in the state.”

Wolverton didn’t pitch in last month’s doubleheader, and if she plays first base today, where she is when not pitching, it’s because the Highlanders have other things in mind.

“We expect to win,” Pezzoni said. “But there’s a bigger picture in the whole deal., and we’re going to do what’s best for the big picture.”

Wagner, meanwhile, is looking at today’s game.

“We’ve got to hit the ball,” she said. “Hit the ball, play good defense. That’s the name of the game. You can’t win without both.”

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