MADISON HEIGHTS — Following a 39-win season in 2011, the Madison Heights Bishop Foley baseball team reeled off a meager 38 victories last spring as an encore performance.
Throw in a pair of Division 3 state championships, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a story for the past two years.
A story, according to coach Buster Sunde, that is far from over.
“This team just might be as strong, or stronger, than any we’ve had here the past three seasons,” Sunde said April 3 after improving to 4-0 on the season with a 16-0 victory against Southfield-Lathrup. “I like this team a lot. We’ve got solid pitching, a good defense, and we’re going to hit with more power than we have the past few years.”
“We look good, deeper than we have been,” senior Billy Malak said. “There’s so much depth at every position, and we’ve got five or six pitchers to depend on.”
Malak smiled as he spoke, almost as if not to jinx what the Ventures have going right now.
In 2011, they did what so many expected.
A senior-loaded team rolled past everyone en route to the D-3 title.
Last year’s team was supposed to take a step back, albeit a small one.
The guys charged forward to a 38-3 record and second straight successful trip to Battle Creek.
With nine varsity veterans back in the mix, the goals haven’t changed.
“States,” Malak said. “We want to win the Catholic League again, but winning states is the main objective of this team.”
Sunde said his squad is “very capable” of having a “very successful season.”
He stopped short of saying they were the team to beat, but instead put the onus on his guys.
“It’s a matter of them working for what they want,” he said. “The way we go about doing things hasn’t changed at all. For the past two years, we came out every day looking to get a little better. That’s what this team has to do, too. … They know nothing is going to be handed to them. They’re very dedicated and very driven. I look forward to seeing what they can do.”