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Macomb Township

L’Anse Creuse North baseball hopes to build on recent success

March 27, 2013

» click to enlarge «
L’Anse Creuse North senior Mike Michalski attempts to glove the ball during an indoor practice. Although they will be playing in a different division, the Crusaders will attempt to win their third consecutive league title.

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s baseball team had a good deal of success last season.

The Crusaders won the Macomb Area Conference White Division title, broke the school record for wins with 26, and was, during at least one part of the season, ranked in the top 10 amongst Division 1 programs by the Michigan High School Coach’s Association, according to coach Jeff Dropps.

And while Dropps is pleased that his squad was able to achieve those feats, its LCN’s last game of the season that, nearly nine months later, still isn’t sitting quite right with him.

That last game came against Anchor Bay in a district final. Dropps said he thinks his team had trouble recovering from “one bad half of an inning,” and ended up losing to Anchor Bay 4-3 to end their season.

While some coaches may have told the players to forget about it and move on, Dropps is taking just the opposite approach.

He wants his players to remember the feeling of walking off the field after that loss.

“The main thing I want (them) to feel is how it felt to lose. How unhappy they were and unsatisfied,” he said. “Our season was definitely successful, but you almost feel a little unsatisfied. I want them to remember that feeling and know that we don’t want that again. This year, we’re the (district) host team, and we definitely (want to) be there through the final and be the ones picking up the trophy at the end.”

If LCN intends to take aim at another league title, it will have to do so in the MAC Red, where they’ve moved after winning their second consecutive MAC White championship last year.

According to Dropps, he embraces the challenge of competing in what could, arguably, be considered the most competitive division in the conference. In fact, Dropps said he is the one who requested his team be moved.

He is hoping that, along with its competitive non-league schedule, will help prepare the Crusaders for postseason play.

“I felt like we’ve had success in the White,” Dropps said. “Nothing against the White. There are some great teams in the White. It’s very equal to the Red. But the Red is still considered the highest division, and that’s where I wanted to challenge my players. Put us up there and see where we rank with them.”

The Crusaders will have eight returning players, seven of whom are seniors.

Aside from the back-to-back league titles, LCN also made it to the final four of the state playoffs in 2010. Dropps said he thinks the recent success has raised expectations for the program, and that’s just the way he prefers it.

“I think it’s raised the standards,” he said. “Last year quite a few of these guys experienced winning the league title; experienced getting to the district championship. We all expected to win that. No offense to anybody that was in our district, but we expected to win that district, and that’s the way I want our team to be. I want them to be confident (and) believe in themselves.”

LCN is scheduled to open its season at noon April 6 in a road game against Troy Athens.

About the author

Mark Vest is on the sports beat at C&G Newspapers. He covers high school sports for the Fraser-Clinton Chronicle and Grosse Pointe Times. In the past couple years or so, he has also began to cover collegiate sports for schools such as the University of Detroit Mercy, Oakland University, Wayne State University, Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College. Vest has worked at C&G Newspapers since 2011 and attended Oakland University and Oakland Community College.

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