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May 12, 2014

Panthers in the chase for MAC Silver crown

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Roseville High baseball team at press time was in line for its first division title since 2010. Pictured is Panthers pitcher Austin Schafer during a May 7 game against Center Line High.

ROSEVILLE — After being in a number of one-run games last season, the Roseville High baseball team has come out of the gate strong.

Through 11 games, the Panthers had outscored its opponents 77-25. That has put Roseville in prime position to claim a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title, as the Panthers had a record of 10-1, 9-1 MAC Silver at press time and had a four-game lead over Clawson and East Detroit.

Panthers coach Keith Marzec, in his 13th year with the program, said his team has stepped up in a number of areas at various points this season. He said strong pitching and defense led early on, and timely hitting has been key in recent games. He added that different players have stepped up this season.

“We don’t have one guy or two guys leading us,” Marzec said. “It’s been a group effort. Having
different guys step up in key situations has been big for us.”

One of those players is sophomore pitcher Evan Gates, a two-year varsity player. Marzec said Gates’ play has improved greatly. He even racked up 12 strikeouts in a 10-2 win over Warren Fitzgerald May 2.

Fitzgerald handed the Panthers their only loss to this point — a 6-0 setback April 28.

“I just try to go out and pitch my game,” Gates said. “We’ve been playing really well defensively, and our pitching has been solid. Once the bats get hot and stay hot, we’ll be even better.”

The Panthers, at press time, had recorded three shutouts, scored in double digits five times, won by at least five runs eight times and by at least 10 runs three times.

The team has been sound defensively for most of the season, Marzec said, but did give up two unearned runs in the May 2 win over Fitzgerald.

Roseville is in line for its first league title since 2007. Marzec sees Center Line and Clawson as the Panthers’ biggest competition in the race. Clawson won the MAC Silver by one game over Roseville in 2013. The last three MAC Silver champs have won the league by one game.

“We have to keep a good mental mindset and not get full of ourselves. We were 6-0, and we started doing that and we got snake-bitten,” Marzec said. “Keeping our heads in the game and staying on task will be the key the rest of the way.”

Roseville’s next game is a matchup with Clawson and is set for 4:30 p.m. May 14 at Clawson.

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