Since 2005, the Lamphere baseball team has won five league titles, three district championships and a regional title, according to coach Adam Wooley.
That kind of success has a tendency to increase the expectations for a program, and that’s just the way Wooley prefers it.
Last season was one in which those expectations could have been reduced, and for good reason.
After losing seven seniors from a team that had won back-to-back Macomb Area Conference Gold Division titles in 2010-11, the Rams struggled and finished in fifth place (2-8 MAC Gold, 15-19 overall) in the division.
Instead of writing the season off as one of transition, Lamphere proceeded to go out and capture a district championship, and in doing so, the players showed their coach something about their character.
“That’s where I was most proud of those kids,” Wooley said. “They struggled, and everybody in our league likes to beat Lamphere. They knew it going in. They were a young team, but they persevered and showed that they had a champion’s heart by winning that district championship last year.”
Wooley believes that the success Lamphere has enjoyed has helped to establish a strong baseball tradition. And aside from meaning that Lamphere usually gets opposing teams’ best effort, Wooley believes his players are aware of the tradition that has been established, and they want to be a part of carrying it on.
“They want to carry on the tradition of banners — league championships and district championships,” he said. “The kids know that the tradition in front of them is put into place. It’s really important for those kids to uphold that standard.”
Two of the players charged with helping to carry on the tradition are Ryan Roman and Brandon Ruble, the senior captains. Wooley thinks that former captain Jake Augustine helped groom them for their roles, and Wooley has been impressed with the leadership qualities they have displayed.
“Jake showed them how to lead a team — lead a team of young men,” he said. “I think they’re going to follow that lead. They’re real big into team camaraderie. They do a lot of small things, like team dinners. After weekend practices, they go back to each others houses and kind of just keep (the) close-knit vibe of the team atmosphere in place.
“My motto has been, since I started (with) the program in 2002, ‘Family.’ My baseball family’s an extension of my family. I think Ruble and Roman have carried on that motto, that family tradition.”
Roman has an idea as to what a portion of his role is as one of the team captains.
“Lead them,” he said. “He’s (Ruble) more of a vocal leader. I just kind of lead by example.”
Ruble also gave some thought as to what he expects of himself as a team captain.
“Be a good role model for everyone on the team,” he said. Wooley’s first task is climbing back to the top of the MAC Gold.
“We set the standard of going after league championships, and we’ve been very successful,” he said. “I’m looking to (get) the league season off to a great start.”
Lamphere is scheduled to open its season at 4:30 p.m. April 9 against Warren Mott at home.