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June 11, 2013

Most successful Clawson baseball team in years ends 2013 in regional

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Most successful Clawson baseball team in years ends 2013 in regional
Clawson’s Jake Smith fires a pitch home during a regional semifinal. The Trojans lost to St. Mary’s 6-0 in the June 8 game.

When it came to the 2013 season, the main goals for Clawson High baseball team centered on a division title and taking a shot at a district crown.

Anything beyond that was icing on the cake.

Well, the Trojans had it, and ate it, too.

“We had a great time and a great run,” coach Ralph Haney said a day after his team lost to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 6-0 in a Division 2 regional semifinal. “I’ve coached for a long time, and every time things go well, you think it could be one of the best years. But this is for sure one of my top teams ever. It was a great experience.”

During the regular season, Clawson picked up a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title with an 8-2 mark.

When the district round began, the guys took aim at a title they knew they would have to go through Madison Heights Lamphere to get.

It did.

With a 5-3 victory over the Rams June 3, Clawson earned the program its first district crown since the early 2000s.

In the loss to St. Mary’s, Haney said it just wasn’t his guys’ day.

“They played real well; we just had a few mistakes that gave them some runs,” he explained. “But that’s a very good baseball team we lost to. They are well-coached and talented. Our guys gave them a fight.”

Clawson ended the season 20-9.

“It was a great season,” Haney said. “We accomplished every goal and mission we had. We wanted to win the league and win districts, and everything beyond that was just a bonus.”

So what was the key?

“As a group, the solidarity of the guys, being together for so long and adjusting as they went, that was the what carried us,” he said. A good portion of the team had been on the varsity roster for the past three or four years. “Now you just hope (the success) carries into the future, and results like this are the expectation.”

Oh, so close

In the D-4 regional round, Royal Oak Shrine took on a Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett team that had reached the past two state finals and was expected to return to Battle Creek in 2013.

The Knights just about ended all that, before falling 2-1 in a semifinal at Liggett.

“We just didn’t hit well enough,” coach Dan Noble said. “It was a matter of generating activity on the base paths, and we didn’t do it.”

Shrine ends the season 27-8.

“One of our first goals was to win the league championship, which we did,” Noble said. “We ended up a little short in the Catholic League playoffs, but then went out and won a district. I’m pretty sure we tied the school record for wins in a season, as well. So overall, I’d say this was a very successful year for our team.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.