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April 18, 2013

Mount Clemens High grad takes over as coach of baseball team

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Mount Clemens High’s Dakota Kerving delivers a pitch against Madison Heights Madison April 15. The Bathers won the season opener 13-3.

MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens High baseball team beat Madison Heights Madison 13-3 April 15 for its first win of the season — in its first game.

That win was the first for the Bathers (1-0 at press time) since 2010. The victory was also the first in the coaching career of Mount Clemens coach Brian Grime, who graduated from Mount Clemens in 2001 after playing four years of baseball for the Bathers.

“I know there’s some kids out here who really haven’t played the game before, but even though I don’t have a lot of coaching experience, I knew I could instill fundamentals,” Grime said. “I know this is the last year for the seniors, but as far as the underclassmen go, they’ll have a chance to learn and retain things.”

The Bathers — members of the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division — field a roster of 17 players, which comes close to the rosters of a number of area schools. Grime said, despite the recent struggles of the program, he had no issues fielding a team.

“The guys out here — they wanna play the game. The guys show up every day, and they’re really interested in learning the game, even the kids who’ve never played before, and that’s good.”

Grime said he’s looking at senior pitcher/shortstop Matt Clairmont to lead the team. The Bathers coach said Clairmont has a wealth of experience, adding that he looks like a really good player.

“I think (Grime) has brought in a new atmosphere,” said Clairmont, in his third year with the team. “He’s made us work really hard, so I think that helps us out a lot.

“I feel comfortable. I feel I’m a natural leader. Just giving them little tips to make them better will help out a lot.”

Grime said he’s surprised at how good the team’s defense looks early on. He added that he thinks speed is the strength of the team.

“As long as guys make good decisions on the basepaths, we’ll be good,” Grime said. “But athleticism can only take you so far. You can be fast, but if you don’t take the proper route to the ball, you’re in trouble. Taking the right routes to the ball out in the field is something that has to be taught.”

Grime said the offense is working to catch up this season. He said he’s hoping the Bathers play small ball and manufacture runs.

“We might not be able to hit the ball in the gaps, but if we can get runners on, get guys to be patient at the plate, we can move guys around,” Grime said. “Hopefully, we can get some runs that way.”

Grime said he sees St. Clair Shores South Lake as the class of the Bronze. The Cavaliers went 8-2 in winning the league in 2012. Grime added Clinton Township Clintondale also poses a threat.

“For the guys who were here last year, I think the struggles of the team and getting those out of their minds can be something to rally around,” Grime said. “We’ll give it our best shot this year, and at the end of the year, we’ll reassess.

“My goal is to try to make each individual player better. I’m not gonna concern myself with wins and losses. They’ve struggled so much in the past that I don’t think (wins and losses) are really a good thing to look at this year.”

“A lot of guys, this is their first year playing baseball,” Clairmont said. “Knowing they’re going to grow every time out in the field, that’s a healthy attitude to have, especially with such a young team.”

The Bathers next hit the field for a Bronze showdown with Clintondale at 4:30 p.m. April 24 at Washington Elementary School in Mount Clemens.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.