The criticism of the rankings serves as motivation for Whiteford

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Whiteford was Division 3 state runner-up last season.

The Bobcats brought back many of the key players from that team, including record-breaking pitcher Unity Nelson, but never gained respect in the state rankings.

Despite a 26-5-1 record against the toughest schedule in school history, Whiteford couldn’t move higher than honorable mention in the Division 3 rankings.

But rankings don’t matter anymore.

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Whiteford will play in a regional tournament Saturday along with fellow Monroe County Region teams Milan, Airport, St. Mary Catholic Central and Summerfield.

Below is a preview of all regions in which regional teams are involved.

Airport's Olivia TIlley steals second base while Jessica Schrader takes the throw for Ida during Airport's 7-0 and 5-3 softball sweep of Ida on Friday, May 3, 2024.Airport's Olivia TIlley steals second base while Jessica Schrader takes the throw for Ida during Airport's 7-0 and 5-3 softball sweep of Ida on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Airport’s Olivia TIlley steals second base while Jessica Schrader takes the throw for Ida during Airport’s 7-0 and 5-3 softball sweep of Ida on Friday, May 3, 2024.

DIVISION 2 AT TRENTON

Airport (26-9), which easily handled No. 9 Trenton in the district final, has no state-ranked teams in the region.

But the state’s runner-up, Dearborn Divine Child, is on the other side of the list.

Airport begins its journey Saturday at 10 a.m. against Harper Woods. The winner will face Divine Child of Riverview in the final at 3 p.m

Airport coach Jess Irwin believes in her team.

“RaeAnn Drummond and Alayna McDaniel have both pitched well for us in the circle this year and I expect them to be at their best on Saturday,” she said. “Defensively, we have taken care of the routine plays, but we also make the really difficult plays. Our offense must remain consistent to get through the region this weekend.”

Milan left fielder Madison Mazei stretches to catch a ball.  Milan defeated Dundee 12-1 and Tecumseh 10-0 on Saturday to win the Division 2 District in Tecumseh on Saturday, June 1, 2024.Milan left fielder Madison Mazei stretches to catch a ball.  Milan defeated Dundee 12-1 and Tecumseh 10-0 on Saturday to win the Division 2 District in Tecumseh on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Milan left fielder Madison Mazei stretches to catch a ball. Milan defeated Dundee 12-1 and Tecumseh 10-0 on Saturday to win the Division 2 District in Tecumseh on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

DIVISION 2 IN FOWLERVILLE

Like Airport, Milan (24-8) plays in a region with no ranked teams.

The Big Reds open with a game against Mason at 10 a.m. A win there would put them into the 2pm final against either Chelsea or DeWitt.

“We expect strong competition this Saturday as each team performs well and scores big wins,” Milan coach Kirk Davis said. “Our focus is on staying sharp and ready to go.”

Whiteford players celebrate during Whiteford's 6-3, 9-3 sweep of Monroe on Saturday, May 25, 2024.Whiteford players celebrate during Whiteford's 6-3, 9-3 sweep of Monroe on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

Whiteford players celebrate during Whiteford’s 6-3, 9-3 sweep of Monroe on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

DIVISION 3 AT GRASS LAKE

SMCC and Whiteford will play in opposite semi-finals.

SMCC gets things started by playing #9 Leslie at 10am

“Leslie beat No. 2 Grass Lake, so that probably makes them the favorite in our region,” Whiteford coach Matt VanBrandt said. “They are solid. The first game of the day will be a good one.”

SMCC has a 19-19 record against Leslie.

“I think we fit in well with them,” Kestrel coach Dani Emery said. “We’re going to see good pitching in our region, but all those non-league games against good pitching will pay off. This is a tough regional.”

In the second semi-final, Whiteford will face Clinton. Tho

“We have to stay disciplined at the plate and hunt for our pitches early in the count,” VanBrandt said. “Defensively, we will play one pitch at a time and focus on our execution. “

The finals are scheduled for 2 p.m

DIVISION 4 IN DANSVILLE

Summerfield brings a 19-11 record into regional competition after two impressive wins Saturday in district play.

“After an exciting circuit weekend, we will refocus next week,” said Summerfield coach Christine Zappone. “We have to stay focused on our target, limit mistakes and keep the bats warm to get the job done. Knowing our team, we will carry this momentum into Saturday and compete.”

The Bulldogs open against Dansville on Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner will play Reading or East Jackson in the 2 p.m. final.

Summerfield softball players will hoist their district championship trophy on Saturday, June 1, 2024.Summerfield softball players will hoist their district championship trophy on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Summerfield softball players will hoist their district championship trophy on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

This article originally appeared in The Monroe News: Regional Softball: Rankings snub serves as motivation for Whiteford