Lamphere baseball looks to finish near top of standings

By: Mark Vest, | Madison - Park News | Published March 24, 2017

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Lamphere baseball coach Adam Wooley said the 2017 version of the Rams has been looking good.

While there are a lot of things that could improve a team from one season to the next, what Wooley likes about his squad didn’t come as a result of time spent on a baseball diamond.

“We’re shaping up nicely,” Wooley said. “The biggest buzzword I’m looking at right now is ‘camaraderie.’ What we did this year was we really emphasized the positive gains up in the weight room, and as a result of that, not only do I feel like our team is bigger, stronger and in some places faster, but we’re a lot closer.”

 Lamphere junior Preston Young works on his hitting at a team practice March 21. The Rams are aiming for a division championship, which they last won in 2011.

Lamphere junior Preston Young works on his hitting at a team practice March 21. The Rams are aiming for a division championship, which they last won in 2011.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

From Wooley’s perspective, getting serious in the weight room hasn’t always been a staple of the program. And aside from the physical gains that have come as a result of players making it more of a priority, Wooley has also observed an increase in confidence.

That boost in confidence could serve the Rams well in their attempt to win a Macomb Area Conference Gold Division championship.

“Year in and year out, it’s one of the most competitive divisions in the MAC,” Wooley said. “The majority of these teams are (going to) be solid overall. I expect them to be very similar to the makeup of our team as well. I think it makes us a better and more competitive team come playoff time, because we pretty much played playoff-type baseball throughout the league season.”

Lamphere last won a division title in 2011.

Some of the players who can help Lamphere — which finished 15-17 overall and 8-7 in the MAC Gold last season — accomplish those feats are Drew Durant, Brandon Kalinowski and Noah Fisher, whom Wooley cited as a few of the team leaders.

Fisher, who is in his junior year, said last year’s finish proved to be motivation for this team.

“It’s showed in the offseason work,” the shortstop said. “Guys have the heart (and) motivation to get better. It’s (going to) be a really good year.”

Durant cited a goal of his own.

“Win a district championship,” the senior pitcher said. “It’d be (a) first for many kids on the team.”

Wooley is enthusiastic about the season ahead. 

“I really like the vibe I’m getting from these guys — coming in early to get extra workouts in; the way these guys talk to one another, then hang around with one another,” he said. “They understand that family aspect — making sure we have accountability for one another and treat each other like brothers on this team. … I’m extremely excited.”