Dave Kuppe experienced his first losing season as the Fraser High baseball coach last season after going 13-17 overall (6-4 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division), and it is a feeling that has not sat well with him.
Fraser will attempt to rectify that situation this season, and Kuppe thinks he might have the squad in place to do it.
Fraser took to the field with a young team last year, and Kuppe said he thinks the experience the players gained could pay dividends by putting them in a position to compete for a MAC Gold championship.
“We think we’re ready to win a league title this year,” he said. “After that, our goal is very short term — one game at a time, play our best and we’ll move on to the next game”
Going after a league championship has also not exactly escaped the thoughts of four-year starter Matt Mainhardt.
“We’re definitely looking to improve on our league record,” he said. “We’re not keeping a league title out of our sight. I definitely think we have expectations, individually and as a team, to go further into the season. I think this year, people are coming back stronger and more confident than we were.”
If the Ramblers are able to come away with a league title, it would a great accomplishment, as Kuppe thinks it has been 20 or more years since a Fraser baseball team has accomplished that feat, and he would like to be a part of making some fresh history for the program.
“Our girls softball team won their league last year for the first time,” he said. “It was really big around here (because) it’s been so long since one of our teams have done that in the spring. I think that would make a huge difference for us — give us a lot of confidence going into the district.”
Fraser will have eight seniors on its roster to help try to add a fresh banner to the wall. Kuppe is looking to them to help make this campaign successful.
“We expect (them) to work hard and lead by example,” he said of his seniors. “I think our younger kids need to see the older kids working hard every day. That’s going to be a priority for us.”
Senior Erik Soley has also given some thought as to the role the team’s seniors can play.
“We’re really trying to lead by example,” he said. “Going about it from practice — from (arriving) early, leaving when everything’s all picked up and bringing (the) right attitude every day.”
While Kuppe would like to see his team at the top of the MAC Gold standings at season’s end, he also understands the type of competition that the Ramblers are likely to see within the division.
“It’s been very competitive in past years; I think it will be again,” he said. “Marine City has won it the last two years. (Warren) Cousino was one game behind them, and we were one game behind Cousino. The top three schools should be very competitive. (St. Clair Shores) Lakeview is now in our league, instead of Roseville, and Lakeview will be competitive. (Warren Woods) Tower’s in there. I think it’s going to be real tough again.”
Fraser is scheduled to open its season at 2 p.m. March 27 in a road game against Marysville. The Ramblers are scheduled to open at home at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader against Port Huron.
The cold and rainy weather will likely cause some postponements, so it’s best to check with the host school for last-minute changes to game dates, times and field locations.