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Orchard Lake

April 12, 2013

After a couple years of restructuring, OLSM baseball ready to take off

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
After a 17-18 finish to last season, Will Salter and the St. Mary’s baseball team was 5-3 overall and 2-0 in Catholic League play at press time.

DEARBORN — This was a routine he could get used to, and on a cool, windy Saturday morning, well, he did.

For two games, Matt Petry stood in the third base coach’s box, waving runners home.

For two games, the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball coach saw what he hopes to see all season.

“This was a good way to get league play going,” said Petry, whose guys beat Dearborn Divine Child 11-4 in a morning tilt April 6 and then capped the sweep with a 7-4 afternoon victory. “We wanted to start the league off right, and to score 11 runs in the first game of the season is pretty key. You really like that.”

At press time, St. Mary’s was 7-3, including the 2-0 mark in the Catholic League.

Petry said this is a sort of a key season for the Eaglets, who have been restructuring the program in each of the past two years.

“It’s time now that we take that next step,” senior Mike Hodgins said. “This is the kind of team that can do some things.”

St. Mary’s was 17-18 a year ago, but the guys started league play with eight losses in the first 10 games.

It did battle back to qualify for the league playoffs, but was then ousted by Birmingham Brother Rice.

The goal, keeping in mind an 8-2 finish in the league last year, is eclipsing what was done in 2012.

“The first thing we have talked about is making the playoffs; then we want to put ourselves in a spot to win the league,” Hodgins said. “If we do that, we’re likely playing our best baseball at the best time of the year.”

“This is a very talented team, which is why I think there’s so much confidence here right now,” said Petry, who’s in his third year with the team. “We’ve got a solid core of juniors, some talented freshmen and a good crop of senior leaders.”

With games against Divine Child, Rice, Novi Detroit Catholic Central and others within the league, as well as a solid non-conference schedule, the Eaglets are sure to be tested, early and often.

None of which is new, though.

“The experience this team has is key, and it’s something we’ve noticed right away,” said Hodgins, one of many players entering his third or fourth year on varsity. “The mistakes we were making aren’t there. We’re more defensively sound, and the pitching already looks strong.”

“The league, the district and beyond,” Petry said when asked what his team was capable of winning. “It’s time. It’s time for us to take that next step as a program.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.