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May 28, 2014

Athens, Troy baseball and softball teams set for postseason

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Josh DuBay is pictured during a game against Berkley earlier this spring. Troy High is 0-3 against Bloomfield Hills, but will face the Blackhawks in the district semifinal.

TROY — There’s a guarantee, and then there’s a possibility.

The guarantee is that the opening round of the state baseball and softball tournaments, scheduled for May 31, will be a day of playoff action for the Troy High and Troy Athens teams.

Second, there’s a possibility the district finals may feature some city rivals going for the crown.

Either way, the postseason is here.

All four teams are taking part in the Division 1 district at Bloomfield Hills High.

In the baseball bracket, Troy and Bloomfield Hills are scheduled to kick things off with a 10 a.m. semifinal.

“We struggled to start the season, but for the past couple weeks or so, we’ve really been playing good baseball,” Troy coach Tim Mullen said last week. “The wins haven’t come as much as we’d like, but I really like the way the guys are playing.”

Troy was 9-13 at press time and had faced Bloomfield Hills three times.

The first game was 6-2 Blackhawks victory.

The second game, halted due to weather and then resumed May 22, ended up being a 14-7 Bloomfield win — Troy trailed just 8-7 in the sixth — and in the third game, also played May 22, Bloomfield won 7-2 thanks to a grand slam when the game was tied 2-2.

“The bottom line is, it will come down to who makes more plays,” Mullen said of the semifinal. “We hit their pitching, but they were able to make some defensive plays that kept us off the board. And in the second game, for example, we left 12 runners on base in the first five innings. It’s things like that, and catching a break here or there, that will determine who moves on.”

And whoever does move on will face either Athens or Rochester Adams.

Those two square off in the second semifinal of the day, set for noon.

“We don’t know a ton about Adams, but we know they play in a very good league, and we’ve had some good battles with them in the past,” Athens skipper Mike Morris explained. “We expect a very good game.”

Athens was 14-3 at press time, and riding the wave of momentum the offense has generated all season.

“This is the highest team average I’ve ever had,” Morris said of his guys, who were hitting .360 as a team. “We’ve also had 19 home runs, which is the most I can remember.”

The district final on the diamond is scheduled for 2 p.m.

“I think it’d be fun to see Athens, just because it’s a city rival,” Mullen said. “But our main focus is on the first game. That’s what we have to worry about first.”

“I’d love to play Troy,” Morris said. “That means we both won our first game. It’d be a great way to determine the district title.”

Over at softball
The softball pairings are identical to baseball, only with the start times flipped.

At 10 a.m., Athens and Adams will open the first semifinal, with Troy and Bloomfield Hills to follow at noon.

The final is set for 2 p.m.

“I expect a very tough game,” Athens coach Dave Marr said. “Adams has had a great season. We split in what was two good games earlier this season.”

Athens was 23-9 at press time.

“We have to come out and have our best game,” Marr added. “We can’t make the extra mistakes or the mental mistakes we’ve made a bit lately. I think if we play the way we have been the past few weeks, we’ll be in good shape.”

As for an all-Troy final?

“I just look forward to being in the finals,” Marr said. “That’s the focus we have. We have to win two games, and it doesn’t matter who it’s against. That’s our goal. We have to be solid and worry about us.”

Troy coach Tom Calnen was not available for comment for this story.

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