Roseville High baseball out for another strong campaign

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 5, 2017

 Longtime Roseville High baseball coach Keith Marzec instructs his players during a March 27 practice. The Panthers’ next game is against St. Clair Shores Lakeview at 4:30 p.m. April 11 at home.

Longtime Roseville High baseball coach Keith Marzec instructs his players during a March 27 practice. The Panthers’ next game is against St. Clair Shores Lakeview at 4:30 p.m. April 11 at home.

Photo by Sean Work

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville High baseball team has won three straight Macomb Area Conference Silver Division titles.

Senior pitcher/infielder Dylan Rochon has been a part of all of those teams and would trade all three division championships — and a potential fourth — for one thing.

“We have our eyes set on a district title,” said Rochon, who is a four-year varsity player. “We like winning the division titles, sure, but every year, the goal is a district championship. That’s what we put the work in for every year.”

Keith Marzec is in his 16th year leading the team. He seconded Rochon’s sentiments.

“I’d give at least two of the division titles back for a district championship,” said Marzec, who guided the team to an 18-4 finish last season, including a 12-0 mark in divisional play. “It’d just be really special for the kids.”

Roseville — which opened the season against Clinton Township Clintondale March 30, after press time — fell 8-1 to Grosse Pointe North last season in a Division 1 district final. The team lost in the district semifinals in 2015 and 2014. The 2014 loss came in extra innings against Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse.

“We’ve been so close,” said Marzec, a graduate of Roseville. “I don’t have to say a whole lot about it to the guys, because it’s the same thing each year — we want to win a district title.”

Roseville hosts its district this season, welcoming in Eastpointe East Detroit, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, St. Clair Shores Lakeview and L’Anse Creuse. The district playoffs begin May 30.

“It’d be sweet to get a district title at home. Doing it on our own field would be a plus,” Rochon said. “I don’t know how I’d react. That’d be awesome.”

The team lost seven players to graduation, including All-MAC selections Matt Fowler and Evan Gates, but Marzec said that has produced good competition for starting positions.

Rochon is expected to lead the team along with seniors Kyle Evans and Jacoby Dale. Evans and Dale are in their third year as varsity players.

“In the past, we’d have a lot of three- and four-year players who already had a job locked up,” Marzec said. “With some of those guys gone, it’s opened up the competition. There are a lot of position battles going on, which is nice because it makes for a lot of competitive practices.”

Marzec likes for his teams to run and bunt when the need arises. Rochon and Evans will provide pop in the middle of the lineup.

The team has pitching depth, but not a lot of experience. Marzec said pitchers on the roster have a total of four innings of experience. A rules change means all baseball teams must keep a close eye on their hurlers.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association instituted a pitch-count rule — different from a previous rule that limited innings based on innings thrown.

Now, pitchers are allowed to throw a maximum of 105 pitches and are required to rest three days if they throw more than 75; rest two days after throwing 51-75; and one day after throwing 26-50.

They will not be required to rest if they throw 25 or fewer pitches in one day.

“Of the 14 guys on the roster, we’ve got nine who can pitch,” Marzec said. “There’s no clear-cut No. 1 starter, and with the new pitch-count rules, we’ll have to see who can throw for us.”

Rochon said it’s important to keep arms fresh to ensure maximum velocity on all throws.

The team has gone 34-5 in MAC Silver play since the start of the 2014 season and has a shot at a fourth straight division title. Roseville isn’t looking past that, Marzec said, but the team’s goal is something that has eluded the program since it was established.

“I really think one district title would mean more than all the division titles,” the coach added. “It’d be awesome to finally get it done on our home field.”

Roseville’s next game is against St. Clair Shores Lakeview at 4:30 p.m. April 11 at home.