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Macomb Township

Lutheran North baseball coach hoping for deep postseason run

May 13, 2014

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The Macomb Lutheran North baseball team will compete in a Division 3 district with Madison Heights Bishop Foley, Pontiac Academy for Excellence, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest. Pictured is Mustangs pitcher Garrett Monroe during an April 26 game against Bishop Foley.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — When the 2014 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 baseball playoffs begin May 27, Macomb Lutheran North will not be familiar with most of the teams in its district.

The Mustangs (9-11, 6-10 Catholic High School League AA Division) are in a district with the Pontiac Academy for Excellence, Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes. The other team in the D-3 district is Madison Heights Bishop Foley — winner of three straight state titles and, like Lutheran North, members of the CHSL AA Division.

“I don’t know much about the teams in our district,” Mustangs coach Mike Hardies said. “Not to take anything away from the other teams, but (Bishop Foley) has been the class of our district for several years now. They’re the team to beat.”

Hardies knows Bishop Foley presents a tough task. Bishop Foley bested the Mustangs four times during the regular season on its way to a league championship.

Playing teams such as Bishop Foley helps prepare the Mustangs for the postseason, Hardies said. The CHSL is known as one of the stronger leagues in the state.

“The competition that we face within our conference is some of the best in the state,” Hardies said. “And as we play teams from outside of our conference, my guys have a sense of confidence that we will not see anything better than what we experienced over the course of the regular season.”

One of those guys is senior pitcher/outfielder Aaron Haywood. Hardies said Haywood has been rock solid as a pitcher, giving the Mustangs quality starts each time he’s taken the mound.

Other players who have stepped up to lead the team include senior pitcher/infielder Will Kruse, senior pitcher/infielder Justin Robertson, senior outfielder Vince Petitta and senior pitcher/infielder Destin Keene.

“These seniors have set the tone for our team, in practice and in game situations,” Hardies said. “They are hard workers and men of character who the rest follow.”

Led by Robertson, Haywood, Kruse and Keene, pitching has kept Lutheran North in several games, according to Hardies. He said the lineup has given the team solid hitting, adding that every player on the 14-man roster has contributed in some way.

The Lutheran North coach also said he’s looking to end the regular season on a high note, as the Mustangs have three games left before the start of the playoffs.

“We’re looking forward to finishing the season strong with much success,” Hardies said. “We want to continue to build momentum as we head toward making a deeper run in the postseason.”

Lutheran North’s next game is against Richmond and is slated for 4 p.m. May 20 at Lutheran North.

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