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March 18, 2013

All hands on deck as Clawson baseball takes aim at division, district titles

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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All hands on deck as Clawson baseball takes aim at division, district titles
Jake Smith warms up during a practice last week. The Trojans have taken aim at a MAC Silver title in 2013.

CLAWSON — The time is now.

That’s the message Ralph Haney has for his Clawson High baseball team in 2013.

If there ever was a season to make something happen, it’s this spring.

“This is as good of a team as we’ve had in a while,” he said before a March 15 practice at the school. “You want to be politically correct when you say things like that, but this is as good as we’re going to be. If we want to do anything, it’s going to be this team.”

Coming off a 20-8 season, including a 7-3 record in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, the Trojans brought back nine varsity veterans and field a lineup that will regularly feature six seniors.

“It’s, by far, the best team I’ve been on,” said third-year varsity player Matt Pike, a junior second baseman. “This has to be the year we do what we feel like we can.”

“It’s not even the fact we have a lot of seniors, but we have a lot of guys that have been on varsity for a long time now,” senior shortstop Craig Bynum added.

The guys who were there last year had to endure finishing one game out of first place in the Silver.

Clawson last won a MAC division title in 2009.

“Our mission begins with winning that Silver title,” Haney said. “Then we’ll get ready for the district and try to make a little run. It’s about time a team does that.”

“To come so close last year and not do it has stuck with us,” Pike said.

Consistency was the most common answer the players gave when asked what the keys were for the season.

The talent and experience are certainly present. Now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

“We have to take what we do at practice and translate it to the field,” Bynum said.

Haney wasn’t sure when the last time Clawson advanced in the district round, but said that was the second part of this year’s objective.

The Trojans are in a district with Ferndale High, Hazel Park High, Madison Heights Lamphere and Warren Fitzgerald.

“The guys came to me during the offseason and asked that we make the schedule tougher so we’re more ready for the playoffs,” Haney explained. His team lost to Lamphere 10-0 in a 2012 postseason opener. “They understand the record may not be as flashy, but we’ll be more prepared for what we need to be.”

“There’s no more excuses, now,” he added. “I can’t wait to get this going. I love this team and these guys. I’m excited at what this season could bring.”

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